Artist Ellen Rice represents Delaware in quarantine art collection

Project aims to document pandemic through art
September 9, 2020

The Great American Paint In has selected well-known coastal Delaware artist Ellen Rice to represent her home state in its endeavor to document the pandemic through the works of great artists.

“We had a vision for this project to document history through great works of art,” said Bill Weinaug, project founder and owner of Gallery CERO near Orlando, Fla. “The collection we have amassed shows that this project connects with people, and I believe what we have put together will be a seminal work in studying this period of time.”

Rice is best known for her light-filled regional landscapes and seascapes, and inspirational paintings. Her works in oils, pastels and watercolor, and their reproductions can be found in homes, offices, and private, government and corporate collections in 14 countries on four continents.

The Great American Paint In is a juried collection featuring works created during artists’ COVID-19 experiences, along with their stories. Pieces must convey the unique emotion of this time through the artist’s eyes. As the pandemic continues, the artists will continue submitting to the project.

To view and purchase works, go to Weinaug says the works collected for The Great American Paint In will eventually be published in a tabletop art history book.

“The first painting I completed during COVID-19 was an 18-square-foot oil commission called ‘Tranquility’ for the Beebe South Coastal Cancer Center in Millville. The purpose of the art created for the center was to uplift people waiting for treatment, give them something to gaze upon and lose themselves in for awhile, and I took this very seriously. When the pandemic hit, its purpose became even more meaningful. My thoughts were pretty much a constant prayer for enlightenment and healing for the entire world,” said Rice.

“My second painting during the pandemic was a commission for a gentleman who brought me a beautiful but damaged photograph he’d taken of a favorite place that he hoped I could re-create. The painting fit my mood. It is of a boat moored in the mist. I sought with this one to be true to his photo while focusing on the light burning through the mist, lighting the boat’s bow and foreground foliage. I found it symbolic of the time. Keeping our eyes on the light, pointing our bows in the right direction, we will come through this,” Rice said.

“My third COVID-19 painting of Indian River Inlet at sunrise is still in progress. Its lighting is tricky, and I want it to be right, to glow, before releasing it. I am also working on a portrait and a couple of small, sunny ocean scenes, simple ‘cheer-me-ups.’ After finishing the misty painting, I craved brilliant colors, and ‘Incoming Tide’ fits that description well.

To view and purchase Rice’s work online, go to or visit her al fresco exhibit in the fresh air of the finished garage attached to the Ellen Rice Studio, Gallery and Learning Center on Cedar Neck Road, a temporary exhibit designed to keep people safe. The exhibit also features handmade works by regional artisans who work in a variety of mediums.


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