Official Portal for the North Dakota State Government North Dakota Lengendary, Link to ND Tourism Information
Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Visual and Traditional Arts
Dance-Ballet picture
Musical instrument
Walter Piehl Painting
Visual Arts vase
Literary Arts pen
Film-Movies image
ARTS Trunks image

design element

Featured Artist Works Displayed in the Offices of the Governor

April, May, June 2005 - Ellen Jean Diederich (Fargo)

The artistry and imagination of Ellen Jean Diederich springs from a gifted palette and wanders seamlessly from the poignant and adorned, to soft comforting dreamy fields, rococo settings, and delightful whimsical edges. Her creations suggest a timeless reflection of essential impressions, honed by her extensive travels, and tempered by a sense of visualization that is unburdened, garden fresh, and real.

From the beginning Ellen’s family complemented her on houses, bushes, trees, and farm critters that she drew as a nine-year-old girl.  In seventh grade, her art teacher, Rose Eden, asked her why she hadn’t signed up for her Painting for Gifted Students Class. Ellen’s responded, “I didn’t think I was good enough.” And Rose said, “Of course you are, you are my best student.”

After high school she went on to MSUM where she graduated with a B.F.A. in Fine Art and a B.A. in Art Education, going on to win numerous national and regional awards. To help pay for college, Ellen worked as a portrait artist. Not only did this experience help pay the bills; she greatly improved her drawing skills. Soon after college she married Paul and had two girls, Monica and Brittany. She has a signature membership in TWSA-Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and RRWS –Red River Watercolor Society.

In addition to her own art, Ellen instructs her much-acclaimed adult watercolor workshops in many states including her own, North Dakota. Ellen frequently speaks on the creative process before service clubs, teacher groups, and career fair seminars. Her audiences find her presentations not only illuminating but also highly entertaining.

If she has not done enough already she has written two books. The Ben Franklin Award winning “Where’s Petunia?” is a full color hard cover children’s book. The playful story follows the adventure of two cats, Art and Petunia, featuring Ellen’s original watercolors. In her most recent book “Progressive Painting, Your Creative Journey,” she shares insightful tips for successful painting. The book is designed to help artists at any level build their creative processing.

Ellen feels her paintings come alive through the comparisons she makes between colors, shapes, shades, and lines. One inspiration for her artistic comparisons came from the playful teasing of her mother who would often say, "Don’t stand next to the Prom-Queen and you’ll look better.” While this may not be the most flattering comparison for Ellen, she gained insight. Now she is able pass this insight on in a gentler manner, “Instead of using all the pretty colors, I use many related dull tones to enrich the pallet. My interest is in the relationships between my subjects and the space they are in and very much how the shapes touch each other.  I’m not going for perfection–if I find humor I try to share that, otherwise I prefer to show the beauty of these differences.”

For more information, call (701) 235-4241; visit; or email

Ellen Jean Diederich images
Painting titled any color
Painting titled a Star is Born
"Any Color"
"A Star is Born"
Painting titled At Pasture
Painting titled Anticipation
"At Pasture"
NDCA blue art footer with typed arts disciplines listed