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Bringing colour to Cambridge with watercolour workshops

In February, Artist Debbie Ellis, will offer watercolour workshops in Cambridge

Every canvas is ‘a journey all its own’. For artist Debbie Ellis, painting brings to life a colourful journey into her past.

Ellis captures memorable scenes in Cambridge through her watercolour paintings. Growing up in Hespeler, she has a nostalgic fondness for the village. 

“That’s where I grew up,” Ellis said.

“It’s very nostalgic for me. But it’s also the nostalgia that my paintings bring to people, especially when they see older buildings. People love the memories of these places.”

Next month, Ellis will offer watercolour workshops for those wanting to dabble into their own past, with colour.

Ellis says that a painting of a place you know makes it mean more to you. 

"It stirs an emotion, a good memory of places where you have been, or where you grew up,” Ellis said.

“A lot of my work is of local landmarks, as well as vacation memories. As I meet people who are looking at my paintings, I have realized that seeing a painting of a place you know makes it mean more to you.”

Watercolour workshops are being offered on all four weekends in February.

“There has been a lot of interest and classes are filling up quickly. I’ve added additional classes added on Sundays, and there’s still a few spaces left,” Ellis said.

Workshops will take place on:

  • Sat Feb. 4 and Sun Feb. 5 – Sunset through the Trees
  • Sat Feb. 11 and Sun Feb. 12 – Late Autumn Glow
  • Sat Feb. 18 – Morning Sunshine
  • Sat Feb. 25 and Sun Feb. 26 – Georgian Bay Sunshine

Ellis has taught watercolour workshops in the past, but not since the pandemic.

“I’m so glad to be able to teach again and I want to offer more workshops in the future,” Ellis said.

Ellis says people who participate tend to be a little nervous at first, as painting with watercolours can be a little finicky.

“We really do have fun and there’s even a break with a bit of chocolate. At the end of the day, they leave with an 8 x 10 of something that they have created,” Ellis said.

“They are so amazed to see their own creations and what they’ve come up with.”

Ellis enjoys painting landmark buildings, flowers, home portraits, vacation locales, and scenery.

She says she often hears that her paintings ‘offer a sense of calm and peacefulness’.

Ellis has painted several landmarks in Cambridge including local schools, Black Bridge in Hespeler, the Old Train Station, and one of her personal favourites, the old Hespeler Arena.

“I’m going to paint the old textile factory in Hespeler next. That’s what I’m going to work on now. It’s such a historic building,” Ellis said.

But Ellis also enjoys capturing images from neighbouring communities.

“I want to branch out to Preston and Galt and I’ve asked people to share those special places they remember,” Ellis said.

During the Christmas season, Ellis created three separate winter scenes of children sledding in all three communities.

Whether it’s Galt, Preston, or Hespeler, for Ellis, it is special to capture something memorable from each community.

Ellis has become a local staple in Cambridge, often appearing at various markets, including the Hespeler Village Market, the Preston Market, and more recently, a pop-up market in Hespeler.

“I love seeing all of the people, kids and families who see my art and say, look, I remember that place,” Ellis said.

After retiring from her full-time job as a bookkeeper, Ellis began looking for a new hobby.

She began watercolour painting in 2000. She has been painting ever since, and today, is devoted to her art, full-time.

Ellis looks forward to offering watercolour workshops again.

“I love teaching. It isn’t a job for me,” Ellis said.

“Being able to help people learn, and to see them master it, it really is special.”

No experience is necessary for the watercolour workshops. Cost per class is $30 plus HST.

Masks must be worn. Class sizes are limited to eight participants. All materials are provided.  

Ellis’s artwork is available in originals, Giclee prints, and cards.  

For more information about Debbie Ellis Watercolours, visit here.