Ellen Kelley McHale portrait by Matthew Mead
Ellen Kelley McHale portrait by Matthew Mead

A few months back my friend Matthew Mead and I met up in his studio for a paint session.  It was a “no holds barred” type of creative experiment where I painted and Matthew photographed my efforts and interviewed me in the process.  This was a little different for me because I am usually all wrapped up inside my own head while painting so having to walk and chew gum at the same time was both challenging and exciting. Oh and did I forget to mention, that after about 6 plus hours of working and playing and sweating my makeup off – I was going to have my portrait taken? Well anyhow, I set about creating modern contemporary art using the Wagner Flexio 890 spray tool, smart rollers and various tools that I raided from my kitchen junk draw and art studio.

paintingsMatthew’s studio is a creative’s dream house filled with light, space to spread your wings, and pots of paint galore! We loaded the sprayer with paint from Annie Sloan’s chalk paint line, Benjamin Moore, California Paint Company, C2 Paint and Fusion Mineral Paint and then I experimented on oversized canvases layering color upon color and scratching it back to reveal hidden layers. It was so exciting to see the blank canvases bloom into artwork that I would be thrilled to hang in my own home and studio.

chalk painted pillows

Once we exhausted our supply of canvases we weren’t really ready to call it quits. Matthew dug into his stash of drop cloths and fabric and we filled the smart rollers with chalk paint and I directly applied it to the fabric creating one of a kind art on cloth. The fabric was washed, line dried and stitched together to make pillows and oh-so-cute aprons. Only the sky is the limit where paint and imagination is concerned. We both ended the day tired but very happy.


barnes and noble


Yesterday I went out to Barnes and  Noble for my 3 pm coffee break and was thrilled to find Happy Modern Magazine sitting on the shelves.  The magazine itself is cheery and chockfull of great modern interior ideas but the most exciting thing inside the magazine is ME and my day with my friend in the creative trenches, Matthew Mead.  The feature captured a lot of the fun of our magazine shoot and it has some great ideas from us to you to spark some of your own creative projects, like new artwork, and hand crafted home decor that with a little ingenuity can make your home beautiful.

cover Happy Modern


Happy Modern Winter/Spring of 2016 is on newsstands now at Barnes and Noble among other places.  Grab a coffee and a copy and a seat in a sunny window – and read all about us.

What a great way to start 2016!

See you soon





6 thoughts on “A creative spin on making your own modern art at home

  1. Maureen Stachowicz says:

    Kudos to you, sister! I’m going to find the nearest Barnes and Noble in New Jersey and get me a copy!!!
    Can’t wait. xo

  2. Ellen McHale says:

    Oh please do – you will love it. I promise. It is also at newsstands everywhere so get yourself some good reading for your get-away to wintry New Jersey. xo

  3. Christine Machen says:

    Wow Ellen! Congrats! You look gorgeous and I enjoyed reading your article. I’ve never read the magazine before but will go to get a copy of this one with you inside.

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thanks for the kind words Christine. There are some cool ideas inside this magazine. It’s a specialty one so it is only on the shelves for Winter/Spring 2016. I found it at Barnes and Noble but it is also on other newsstands across the country. Happy New Year to you and your family. xo

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I believe it still can be ordered through Engaged Media Magazines. There are some fab ideas inside Happy Modern but I’m thrilled you enjoyed my feature. Enjoy your weekend.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:

Send this to a friend

Hi, this may be interesting you: A creative spin on making your own modern art at home! This is the link: https://www.nelleykelley.com/blog/creative-spin-making-modern-art-home/