Plein air artists -
Ellie Weakley painting in Jackson Hole. Ellie is very grateful to have been an early influence in several artists’ careers, such as those of Karen Ramsay, Bob Koontz, Jean Perry, Cathy Goodale, Cindy Briggs, Michelle Lee, and Stephanie Hoffman.

By Carol Frazier

My mother, Ellie Weakley, turned eighty years young this year, and in her “over fifty years” as a professional artist, she is still portraying her love of painting from life. Weakley has traveled the world as a plein air artist, has been featured in The Smithsonian (Washington, DC), SmithKlein Gallery (Boulder, CO), and more.

In past years, you would find Ellie perching on a deck overlooking Positano, Italy; leading other artists through the jungles of Costa Rica; and capturing the poppy season in France. Nowadays, Ellie keeps her travels closer to home as she finds incredible florals to encapsulate from her garden and climbing ivy from a cottage on visits to her daughter in Carmel by the Sea.

Watercolor paintings -
Ellie Weakley, “Boat in Monterey,” watercolor
Watercolor paintings -
Ellie Weakley, “Bikes on the Bay,” watercolor

My mother is my muse. She gave me the permission to be creative and held the door open wide and encouraged the whole family to not only go after our dreams, but to run after them with all our hearts. And although painting and art was not my form of creativity, she supported me in going after my dreams in music and has been my biggest supporter as a recording artist. We often joke about how she knows the lyrics to my songs better than I do, so I always put her in the front row to mouth the words to me if I forget! I am incredibly grateful to follow in her footsteps as a muse, and creative coach to others.

Plein air artists -
Ellie Weakley in Carmel Valley, CA. Ellie planned and orchestrated, with her friend Nancy Bartran, the first annual Rotary Art Show in Loveland, CO, which eventually branched into the Annual Governors Show for Colorado Artists, originally highlighting Skip Whitcomb, Ned Jacob, and Glenna Goodacre.

Ellie’s art has held true to the feminine, flowing, and fluid nature she finds in her travels, such as the Native American women at the Crow Reservation in Montana, flowers climbing the wall into a laced window in France, or the soft brush of water in the Monterey Bay. Proving that she did not have to bend to a man’s viewpoint in art, she held her vision of holding the feminine, the mother, the daughter, the grandmother, the teacher, the wife, the friend, and the muse.

Oil paintings -
Ellie Weakley, “Connor Creek Ranch,” oil, private collection

Ellie believes that if you follow your life’s passion, you can sincerely live out your dreams, and she has passed this on to the many artists she has mentored.

“I scheduled art into my calendar and gave up PTO and other ‘mom’ roles,” she says. “Instead, I took my kids with me everywhere: to art shows, galleries, workshops, and painting retreats. Both of my girls were raised around incredible artists, understanding art from a very young age. Alongside me, they learned from Charles Reid, Ned Jacobs, Lowell Ellsworth Smith, and others. My oldest is now an international recording artist, composer, and artist development coach, and my youngest is a fine artist and an art educator and is a recognized and sought-after graphic designer.”

Plein air artists -
Ellie Weakley teaching in Carmel by the Sea

A true-life muse, Ellie is known in the art world as one of the “true mothers,” who has guided many female artists into realizing their dreams while balancing a paintbrush and baby. Ellie believes you can have it all: the art, the passion, the love, and motherhood. Maybe it is the balance Ellie has found in life that spills into the astounding balance of color, design, and expression of life found in her paintings.

Plein air artists -
Ellie Weakley, “Wisdom of Ages,” watercolor

Life itself is what you will see in the paintings of Ellie Weakley. Beautiful Life.

Learn more about Ellie Weakley at

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