South Euclid native named among country's top artists

An artist with local roots now living in Oakland, Calif. was recently named one of the top 10 artists in the United States over the age of 60.

Ellen Dreibelbis, whose father Stanley Roberts and stepmother Mickey Roberts live on Lyndhurst’s Acacia Park Drive, was chosen in December from among 3,300 artists over 60 who submitted examples of their work to The Artist’s Magazine.

Dreibelbis and the other nine artists chosen will be featured in the magazine’s March issue. “I was just delighted to be chosen,” said Dreibelbis via telephone from her home. “It’s kind of a lifetime achievement award. Art is a matter of taste and if you keep putting your stuff out there you hope enough people will like it.”

Now 64, the former Ellen Roberts grew up on Okalona Road in South Euclid and attended Rowland Elementary, Memorial and Greenview junior high schools, and Brush High, of which she is a 1964 graduate.

She credits art teachers Robert Mazur at Greenview, and Fred Biehle at Brush for improving her skills.

Dreibelbis went on to earn a fine arts degree in painting, drawing & graphics and art education from Ohio State University in 1970.

“I came out here (initially to San Francisco) in 1978 from Ohio, where I had lived all my life,” she said. “Looking back, I probably didn’t appreciate (Ohio’s) beauty when I lived there.” In San Francisco, she married Walter Dreibelbis. She lived there 23 years until his death. She moved to Oakland after her marriage to psychologist/author Dr. Don Fenn.

“I moved to the Bay Area because I saw a lot of interesting art coming out of here, and because it’s a really neat place to live.”

Since her move to the Bay Area, Dreibelbis has found the ethnic mix of its residents to be a fascinating source of inspiration.

“I’m very inspired by the people I meet and see on the streets,” she said. Over the years, she has gained a respected standing among the art community, both in the Bay Area, and nationally.

She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the Pastel Society of America, and the Sierra Pastel Society. Her oil and pastel paintings have won numerous awards in national and international competitions and have been featured in museums and galleries across the country.

In the 1990s, she was commissioned by City Bank of New York City to create five posters. Ten-thousand copies of each poster were made and given to bank clients.

Her illustrative work has been part of children’s books and been included in the book “Best of America Oil Paintings.” Her work has also been the subject of articles in American Artist, International Artist. She has won the Alameda County Art Competition, and two of her paintings on African-American jazz musicians were purchased for the Alameda County Court House in Hayward, Calif.

Dreibelbis describes her paintings as done in the “painterly loose realism” style, which means brush strokes are more visible in her paintings than they are in others.

“I like the viewer to see what the painter’s hand has done,” she said.