Ellis Buckner (1943 - 1991)
Born: Gifford, Florida
Ellis Buckner was the second oldest of twelve children. His older brother by one year George, also was one of the twenty six original Florida Highwayman. Both Ellis and George dropped out of school to help support their family after the death of their father. During this time Ellis worked at many jobs such as but not limited to making buissness signs, barbeue service, lawn service, selling vegetables from his garden and the orange groves during the harvesting season. Ellis was a hard worker always thinking of new ways to generate income.
Ellis and George were introduced to the idea of painting by both Harold Newton and Livinston Roberts. At this time Harold and Livingston were both painting and selling their Florda Landscape pictures for good profits. Intrigued with the potential to earn money from painitng both Ellis and George soon began the process of learning this new craft. Harold Newton, Livingston Roberts and Beanie Backus provided painting lessons and support initially to get them started. Shortly after their training sessions and lots of hard work and determination both Ellis and George were creating their own Florida Landscapes.
Ellis sometimes painted with his brother George. They also painted seperately in their home studios. Their different personalities suited their partnership. George was more of a loner so he stayed home and painted. Ellis was the salesman as he was more outgoing and had good organizational skills. At one time they had a gallery in Miami, Ellis and his family lived upstairs and the the paintings were dispalyed and sold downstairs. George would bring his pictures to the gallery. Betty the wife of Ellis would help with sales. When the gallery closed the Ellis family returned to Gifford.
Ellis died in 1991 from complications with diabetes; he was forty-eight. Ellis did not live long enough to see the revival of interest in the Highwayman. But as a stong believer in God's will he understood that when he was called from this earth, it was time to go. His son Ellis Buckner, Jr., continues his father's legacy as a painter.
Ellis Buckner Biography information: obtained from website thehighwaymentrail.com. This website is a fantastic reference to learn about the 26 Florida Highwaymen artists and their importance to Florida's history.