Ellie was born October 4th, 1959 in Armstrong, British Columbia. Experiencing life on a cattle ranch at an early age fostered keen interest in her natural surroundings. Schooling was completed in Chase, B.C. After graduation she became interested in fine art.
Ellie studied with artist Lief Ostlund before becoming involved with various art groups. Volunteering as a director and active member of the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts and Shuswap District Art Council brought a wide variety of artistic contact.
Marrying and becoming a mother to girl and boy didn't allow a lot of time for painting. However, a limited edition silk-screened print set of 160 was completed for the 1990 Salmon Run. Shuswap Tourism purchased the 1st print of each set to present to the Federal and Provincial Ministries to hang in the parliament buildings. This design was also chosen for the 1990 Salmon Run pin at the Roderick-Haig Brown Park and has recently been issued again.
Although essential a self-taught artist Ellie Mackenzie's art education is firmly founded on intensive study courses with outreach programmes of the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. These courses require that the student work in isolation, many students do not complete the course Ms. MacKenzie not only finished the course but also respected all the deadlines for the assignments, and achieved highest grade point average for three consecutive semesters with all the tutors. The Shuswap District Art Council awarded Ellie the Marie Manson Scholarship to further her art education. During this artistic period of growth Ellie volunteered as an art teacher in School Districts #83 and #73 when time allowed.
Artists such as Daphne Odjig, Norval Morris and Luke Lindoe influenced the direction of artistic growth.
The remarkable cultural symbolism of First Nations art did not suit Ellies personality or love for fluid lines in painting. However it did influence her to explore and develop her own dialogue of simplified animals, birds and flora that she uses extensively. The particular colour schemes are a personal reflection that lends itself to the simplified designs. Although the paintings are Native influenced the particular style is recognized as a personal portrayal of Ellies'.
These paintings are intended to provoke a more contemplative look at our diminishing Canadian wildlife and perhaps inspire help to conserve what we have.
The life of a working wife and a mother has not allowed a commitment to art clubs or related events, but still actively working horses and gardening keeps Ellie's observation of nature fresh and growing. She is looking forward to artistic growth for many years to come.