Bill Ellzey will host his 20th annual December Art Show of photographs at Bill and Jillian’s house on the 7th and 8th from 2 to 6pm. Location is in the Baca Grants, 891 Camino Real (locally known as Two Trees Road). From the entrance of the Baca it’s 2.2 miles to Camino Real. Turn right and go another 2.2 miles, house on the right. Everyone’s welcome. Please park on the road.
The two-day show has become a much anticipated pre-Christmas season open house. It features Bill’s photographs from the Crestone area and San Luis Valley as well as his distant travels leading photography workshop trips stateside and internationally.
As always there’s food—excellent snacky things—and mulled wine and non-alcoholic punch prepared by talented foodies Judy Gilbert and Bill Sutherland, beloved neighbors and veteran caterers for all previous 19 years.
Bill picked up his first camera in 1965, at age 20, little knowing that photography would become his life-long love and profession. Since then camera work has taken him around the world completing assignments and teaching photographers, professional and amateur, the art and techniques of the medium. His work from India, China, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Egypt, Ireland, Bhutan, Zambia, Chilean Patagonia and the American West has been published here and abroad. His images can be found in magazines, books, calendars, newspapers, catalogs, annual reports, galleries and private collections. He directed Western Photo Workshops in Telluride, Colorado for eleven years and continues to teach privately and for distinguished photo programs in North America and overseas.
Bill invites you to visit www.billellzey.com to see the wide range of photographs, courses and trips currently scheduled. The website was recently moved to a new platform and isn’t totally fleshed out yet, but you’ll get more than the gist. His stock photography is represented by National Geographic Image Collection. Bill lives and works from his self-built strawbale home in Crestone.
It’s an open house with great refreshments and sample photographs from across Bill’s photographic lifetime displayed by the dozens on big table tops in the living room. Prints of any size and the ever-popular greeting cards, printed in-house, can be ordered from the sample images. Larger photographs are on display in the studio.
The snacking, sipping, browsing and schmoozing takes place around the munchies counter. Gilbert and Sutherland, erudite conversationalists as well as caterers, attend the kitchen counter laden with food and drinks. Judy cooks and bakes ahead for days and keeps the serving plates supplied during the show. Bill dispenses his dangerous hot mulled wine from a big pot on the stove. The yummy, cold fruit punch is for folks interested in maintaining a sense of decorum. Sutherland is also the popcorn-ista. He flavors the popcorn with a dusting of secret, subtly spiced ingredients.
How did all this get started?
One evening twenty years ago a small group of friends sat around Harriet Johns’s pine table in her railroad car-cum-house in the Baca Chalets. Harriet was an enamel artist of great repute in her heyday who had left behind in California the huge, walk-in-size kilns that fused her rich colored, powdered glass, bold “sand paintings” onto 4 foot square sheets of steel that would come to adorn corporate offices the likes of IBM and private estates. Scaled down now in Crestone she was making very dear 4×6 & 5×7 inch enamel works in a countertop kiln.
At that table was Bill Ellzey, accomplished landscape photographer, who had moved to Crestone four years prior and built a strawbale home. In his rustic, southwest style house, pretty much completed by then, he had started printing photographs which entailed making test prints on 4×6 inch paper. To arrive at just the right colors and contrasts before making larger prints several tests were made until the image was just right.
“It was the small size that we were both doing that gave me the idea of having a joint art show and call it Miniatures.” Wine had become an increasing part of the scene at the table so the idea of a show easily grew legs. Enthusiasm ran rampant among the guests. Ideas of what it could be and how it could go went zinging around the table. The show was decided to be in early December and kick off the Christmas season. It was then close to Thanksgiving.
Jillian Klarl (now Jillian Ellzey) who was at the table, got up, walked to the telephone and dialed Kizzen, editor of The Crestone Eagle. “Would we still have time to get an ad into the paper?” she enquired. Kiz said deadline was past, but she liked the idea and would hold open some space.
“That made the show just 2 weeks away and neither Harriet nor I really had very much work ready for such immediate, public exposure,” Ellzey said. “We gulped, rolled up our sleeves and buckled down to it.”
Thus, the Ellzey-Johns Annual December Art Show was spawned.
Harriet has since passed on to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Her presence is felt continually through many or her enamels around the house.
“It’s my love of the natural world and its breathtaking beauty that keeps me going back out with my camera. Turning 75 in a few months, I begin to really comprehend what a flicker in time the human life span is. Many millions have died since I was born, but in 1945 the global population was 2.45 billion. Now it’s 7.7 billion. How long can this lovely planet continue to support such an exponential increase of homo sapiens?
“Forests, fish, wildlife, clean air and fresh water are more and more precious. What are we doing? What can we do? Nothing, mostly, and not much are the answers, it appears. There’s more activism for awareness now but it seems unlikely that enough people will realize that we’re using up the planet before it’s too late.
“Sooner than later, I fear, landscape/nature photographs will be used to show how it used to be. They already do show the rapid disappearance of glaciers, polar ice and forests. Commercial catch statistics show progressive depletion of the ocean as a food source. It’s too late to preserve what I knew and saw when I was young. The photos become historical in a single person’s life time.
“Earth conservation needs more people unafraid to speak truth to power. More Greta Thunbergs. I encourage everyone to help propagate awareness of our situation in their own way.
“Although discouraged, beginning with the 2017 art show I started donating 10% of my photography earnings to natural resources conservation and population growth awareness organizations. I intend to do that for the rest of my life.”
• Morning Aarati, Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 7-8am, 256-4108, www.babajiashram.org.
• Jyorei, Shumei Sanctuary, please be seated by 7:50am and 5:50pm, 256-5248
• Tours, gallery & Jyorei, Shumei, 9am-5pm, 256-5284
• Open meditation & prayers 8:45-10:30am in Vajra Vidya Retreat Center Shrine Room. All are welcome. 256-5539. www.vajravidya.com
• Tours, Temple & Gift Shop – Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 256-4108, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.babajiashram.org.
• Evening Aarati, Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, 6-7pm. Chanting in Sanskirt and Hindi. All are welcome. 256-4108, email@example.com, www.babajiashram.org
• Sunday mass at Nada Hermitage 9-10am, 256-4778
• Sunday Service Crestone Baptist Church, Christian Service Traditional/Contemporary 10am-noon
• Drop in Meditation at Choying Dzong (Sitting and Walking), 2281 Happy Day OL, 10am – 1pm
• Sutra Reading: Life story of the Buddha, Yeshe Khorlo, 2-3pm
• Dorje Trolo Practice, White Jewel Mountain Healing Center, 2pm
• AA meeting (open, discussion), Crestone Town Hall, Alder St. north of Galena Ave, 7pm
• Gentle Yoga with Cynthia, Little Shepherd Fellowship Hall, www.RadiantFlow.co, 10am
• Al-Anon meeting, Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 1pm
• Continuing Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore Style Shakti Sharanam, 5-6:45pm by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• NA meeting (open), Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 7:30pm
• Yoga Fundamentals & Refinments, Shakti Sharanam, 8:30- 10am by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• Food Bank, next to Crestone Mercantile, 10am-noon
• Wednesday night Bible study, Crestone Baptist Church 6-7:30pm
• AA meeting (open, Book Study) Crestone Baptist Church, Rd. T west of the kiosk, noon
• Continuing Ashtanga Yoga, Mysore Style Shakti Sharanam, 5pm-6:45pm, by donation, shaktisharanam.com, 256-5668
• NA meeting (open, Step Study), Little Shepherd Church, Alder St. north of Galena Ave., 9am
• Feel Free Ministries free meal, noon-4pm, Little Shepherd Community Center