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The Art of Painting

William E. Elston

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Plein Air Class Holiday Special!

Woodland Park Rose Garden, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, copyright ©2003
Woodland Park Rose Garden, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, copyright ©2003

If you have considered taking a Plein Air (open air) painting class, or would like to give classes as a gift to a loved one, now is the time to sign up. I’m offering a special from now through New Year’s Day 2015, 8 Plein Air Session Credits for $250 (normally $380) and 16 Plein Air Session Credits for $500 (normally $680.)

Classes are held in the Greater Seattle area, including the Eastside, Snohomish and Snoqualmie areas. We meet for four hours per session, usually from 10 AM to 2:30 PM, with a half hour for lunch. You are not required to take all classes, and do not lose session credits for missed classes. Unused session credits carry over to next year’s Plein Air season.

Classes include ongoing demonstration, frequent critique and hands-on instruction. Information covered includes advice re. equipment and materials, setting up the palette for plein air, composition, color, and other matters, with frequent reference to historical examples.

The Plein Air season begins approximately mid-April and goes to approximately mid-November, depending on weather conditions. Last year we had over 30 Plein Air Sessions during the course of the season. Class fees do not include equipment or materials. Please see my Classes page for further details.

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More Auction Miscellany

A few more items found while searching Google for recently auctioned paintings:

99 (Elliott Bay), oil on canvas, 44 x 54 inches, copyright ©1985
99 (Elliott Bay), oil on canvas, 44 x 54 inches, copyright ©1985

This work was on eBay, priced optimistically at $10,000 with current bid at $7,000. It was purchased at Foster White Gallery in 1985 by the Columbia Club, at the top of what was then called Columbia Tower. I’m not sure how the current owner acquired it. It has slight damage, a small tear. (more…)

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Auction Miscellany

Sunset, Puget Sound, oil on canvas, 11.5 X 15.25 inches, copyright ©1990
Sunset, Puget Sound, oil on canvas, 11.5 X 15.25 inches, copyright ©1990

Sometimes it’s fun to Google your name and see what turns up. On rare occasions works that have been consigned to secondary market galleries or auctions are listed in the return on query, and these are a few of those. In some cases the works were returned to the market as part of an estate, after the original collector has passed away. In one of the instances here (Red Moon) the work was stolen from a medical clinic in Bremerton. I had seen the work pop up on eBay, alerted authorities to it but found them unresponsive, and finally saw it pop up at auction. Presumably the current owner does not realize that it was stolen. (more…)

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Pergola, Early Spring

Pergola, Early Spring, oil on canvas, 32X54 inches, copyright ©1989
Pergola, Early Spring, oil on canvas, 32 X 54 inches, copyright ©1989

This painting was initially done as a commission. The clients were a prominent construction and contracting family, and they were brought into Davidson Galleries for my first show. Their interior decorator had wanted them to see a sculpture that was in Davidson’s inventory, but they were really excited about a painting of the Kingdome that I had done, (and which is now in the collection of University Hospital.) The decorator “refused to allow them to hang a painting of the Kingdome” in his interior design, so they compromised on a commission of the Pergola.

When the painting was nearing completion, I met with the interior designer in a small frame shop. He took one look at the painting, and with over-the-top histrionics he informed me that the clients “did not like black and they do not like yellow.” I ended up doing an entirely different image of the Pergola, which they accepted, although they would have preferred that it pictured “her Corvette and his cement truck.” That painting is pictured below.

“Pergola, Early Spring” is now in the collection of Chicago Title Insurance. The image of “Pergola, Early Spring” above was taken by my friend Ryan Price, on a visit to the title insurance company.

Pergola, Red Car, oil on canvas, 32X54 inches, copyright ©1989
Pergola, Red Car, oil on canvas, 32 X 54 inches, copyright ©1989

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Morning Fog 2: Snohomish Valley

Morning Fog 2: Snohomish Valley, oil on prepared paper, 22 x 30 inches, copyright ©2014
Morning Fog 2: Snohomish Valley, oil on prepared paper, 22 x 30 inches, copyright ©2014

Another effort to capture the eternally escaping light, while life sifts through our grasping fingers like sand in an hourglass. Painting en plein air requires a certain flexibility of mind. One cannot copy nature; that is an impossibility. One can only remark upon it, and commemorate the transformation of the future into the past by way of the present.

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Morning Fog: Snohomish Valley

Morning Fog: Snohomish Valley, oil on prepared paper, 22 x 30 inches, copyright ©2014
Morning Fog: Snohomish Valley, oil on prepared paper, 22 x 30 inches, copyright ©2014

Started painting at 7 AM with student Min Zhong. When we arrived, the early morning fog was lying low in the valley. It burned off and dissipated very quickly. I painted as fast as I could to get the essential “look” of the scene, aiming for what a painter that I knew in Boston called “the Big Light Effect.” The rest of the session was spent refining forms and making small adjustments.

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