Art on a Whim Gallery in Breckenridge hosts artists Ellen Woodbury and Kris Lee |

Art on a Whim Gallery in Breckenridge hosts artists Ellen Woodbury and Kris Lee

Daily News staff report
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: “Two Artists, Two Mediums, One Spectacular Show,” featuring Ellen Woodbury and Kris Lee

When: Saturday, Jan. 25, and Sunday, Jan. 26; artists will be offering demonstrations on Saturday

Where: The Art on a Whim Gallery, 100 N. Main St., Breckenridge

Cost: Admission is free

More information: Visit

Artists Ellen Woodbury and Kris Lee will be displaying their work and offering demonstrations of their crafts at Art on a Whim gallery this weekend. Woodbury and Lee thoroughly enjoy explaining their techniques and inviting collectors, new and old, to browse their works.

Inspired by animation

Woodbury spent the majority of her career working as a directing animator at Walt Disney Studios. Name a Disney movie made from the late 1980s to early the 2000s, and she has worked on it. Highlights include “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King” and many more. In 2005, Woodbury left her career at Disney to pursue a stronger passion. These days, she can be found spending several hundred hours carving stylized animals out of precious and exotic stones.

Woodbury’s work speaks to the innocence in its viewers. The Disney connection is evident in each piece she creates.

“I apply my knowledge of and experience in animation to my process of designing and carving stone,” Woodbury said. “I think of my creative life as an ascending spiral, where one medium inspires and informs another.”

“Squash and Stretch,” a depiction of white-tailed ptarmigans made from Sivec and Mongolian imperial black marble, is named after one of the most important ingredients in Disney animation. It is defined by change in shape with no change in volume. Soft curves and crisp edges highlight “Squash and Stretch,” causing light to play over the surfaces to gently reveal the variety of forms and the crystals in the marble. The Sivec marble comes from Greece and sparkles like snow. It has been used for centuries to form plazas, temples and palaces throughout the world. Sivec marble has no vein and is pure white. There are varying sizes of crystals, which gives the marble a remarkable, yet subtle, sparkle, much like snow.

Also on display in the Art on a Whim gallery are Woodbury’s sculptures of a phoenix, coyote, blue bird, frog and ermine. Each piece is one of a kind and uniquely whimsical. Woodbury does not believe in editions for sculptures, and once she creates a piece, it is never to be cast or recreated again.

Unconventional media

Lee is well known throughout the High Country for her work with unconventional media. Perhaps of highest intrigue is the fact that her work is all backlit with LED lighting, giving each one-of-a-kind piece an entirely different appearance, depending on the time of day.

“Having lived in Summit County for years, it is delightful to have Lee’s work on display in Breckenridge again,” the gallery writes. “She is a brave artist. It takes an interesting perspective to want to punch pieces of hand-blown glass through the back of a nearly completed painting.”

However, this is exactly what Lee does.

“I am sure there has been speculation regarding the psychology of creating work that has glass shards jutting out toward the viewer,” she said. “Perhaps I have unresolved aggression issues, but I like to think that I just encourage others to live a little less cautiously.”

Lee’s mixed-media works consist of a wide variety of materials, from rice papers to precious-metal clay to broken bits of hand-blown glass. She is adept at using negative space in her paintings to create a contemporary composition that reflects her home in the mountains. During the daytime, her pieces are bright, colorful works filled with an obvious array of materials that present a unified and innovative concept. Once the lights go out, however, the pieces change dramatically.

“I love the challenge of essentially painting two pieces simultaneously and the remarkable transformations that are possible through the addition of backlighting the canvases,” Lee said.

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