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Portfolio Revisions

Lake Union, oil on canvas, 18 X 26 inches, copyright ©1991
Lake Union, oil on canvas, 18 X 26 inches, copyright ©1991

I’ve been re-working my website portfolio to present galleries with higher resolution images. This has involved trying to relocate the original images that have been lost due to failed disks, computer transfers, etc. Fortunately I was able to find a large cache of original files stored online in a warehouse image library. Other images I was able to restore from my Google Picasa and Facebook accounts. Some images that I consider critical to my oeuvre had to be upsampled, due to the originals remaining lost. Hopefully the results are not too illegible.

This particular image, from 1991, has long been one of my favorites. It was sold shortly after I finished it, and is part of the collection of artworks at Chicago Title, Inc. The former CEO there, Jeff Knudson was a longtime patron and friend, and was instrumental in establishing their collection. The painting was executed en plein air from atop the knoll at Gasworks Park.

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Portrait

Val and Peggy's Kids, oil on canvas,  26 x 32 inches, copright ©1992
Val and Peggy’s Kids, oil on canvas, 26 x 32 inches, copright ©1992

This is a painting of my old friends Val and Peggy’s children, done 23 years ago. I was able to photograph this during my recent trip to Spokane. The painting was a trade for a car, I believe a Toyota, although I don’t really remember it. I do remember that I ran it into the ground. At one point the latch on the hood was no longer working, and I duck-taped the hood shut. On a few occasions the duck tape lost adhesion, and the hood flew up while we were driving on the freeway. Fun times.

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Spokane Plein Air Workshop/Demonstration

Monroe Street Bridge, oil on canvas, 68 X 105 inches, copyright ©1984
Monroe Street Bridge, oil on canvas, 68 X 105 inches, copyright ©1984

I will be offering a Plein Air Workshop Demonstration in Spokane, June 20 – 21, from 10 AM to 2 PM each day. Anyone can sign up for one or both days, and either watch as a demo, or paint along as a workshop. Those who choose to paint along will get some one-on-one critique throughout the duration of the workshop.

The painting site will be close to the downtown area, and will be either semi-rural or a park setting. The location will be announced to participants before the date of the workshop. Easels and materials for painting are not provided, and are the responsibility of the participant. An ebooklet is provided to participants with recommended materials list, recommended reading and other resources.

Space in this workshop is limited and it is already filling up, so I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible. You may do so at http://www.williamelston.com/classes/workshop_cal/ . Payment can be made via Paypal.

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Online, Interactive Painting Critiques

Pochade w/ Landscape
Pochade w/ Landscape

I am launching an Online Painting Critique Service. The service utilizes image annotation and interactive/collaborative software with whiteboarding capabilities, in order to create an interactive critique experience geared to a specific painting or group of paintings.

If you are a painter in need of a “third eye” to critique your paintings, and would like that painter to be a professional artist with a long exhibition and teaching history, then this service is for you. There is a trial discount available for the first session, so that you can test the service without making a substantial commitment.

You can find more information here: http://www.williamelston.com/classes/. Just click on the “Online Critiques” tab. This service is primarily for landscape, urban landscape and figurative artists.

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Work-In-Progress: Snohomish Valley Spring

Snohomish Valley Spring, oil on panel, 18 x 36 inches, work-in-progress copyright ©2015
Snohomish Valley Spring, oil on panel, 18 x 36 inches, work-in-progress copyright ©2015

A work-in-progress at Snohomish Valley viewpoint. This is a reworking of a panel that I was not satisfied with. I’m much happier with the changes, both compositionally and atmospherically. The intense backlit greens of the grasses give the landscape an ethereal, otherworldly quality that is very typical of the Pacific Northwest during this season. I’m working on this painting as a demonstration project for my plein air students.

Here is another image of a similar view, being worked concurrently on overcast days:

Snohomish Valley, Looking East, oil on canvas, 36 x 47 inches, work in progress copyright ©2015
Snohomish Valley, Looking East, oil on canvas, 36 x 47 inches, work in progress copyright ©2015

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Civil Architectures – A Snapshot of an Era

Civil Architectures, oil on canvas, 42 X 60 inches, copyright ©1999
Civil Architectures, oil on canvas, 42 X 60 inches, copyright ©1999

This painting is based on the view from the studio of the late Ako Lindley, where I was teaching painting workshops at the time. It’s a gray, overcast day, very typical of Seattle. Ako’s studio was in the 619 Western building, at one time called the Ace Novelty building, later condemned after the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001.

The painting became the cover image for a show at Davidson Galleries, also called Civil Architectures. It appeared on the showcard, and also on a tee shirt that was produced to advertise the exhibition. It was my last show at Davidson before I moved to Woodside/Braseth Gallery for about 6 years. I eventually went back to Davidson Galleries, and had several more shows there before Sam Davidson decided to phase out his Contemporary Painting and Sculpture department to focus on prints.

The opening reception for Civil Architectures was crowded, and music was provided by Jazz singer Jay Clayton, accompanied by the great trombone player and composer Julian Priester.

The painting was sold about 5 years later to Daniel Smith, Inc., the manufacturer and dealer in art supplies. They also leased the image to grace the cover of one of their annual catalogues. The price of the painting exceeded their budget by a considerable amount, so we agreed that I would take the difference in art supplies, some of which I’m still using almost 10 years later.

Today Pioneer Square is being transformed. The Alaska Way Viaduct, also damaged by the earthquake, is coming down and being replaced by a tunnel. Substantial renovation is planned, and galleries and shops that made the area unique are starting to relocate. The gallery scene itself is becoming less concentrated and less focused. The heart of Pioneer Square, Elliott Bay Book Company, moved out many years ago. Pioneer Square has always been at the mercy of land owners and property managers that have generally mixed high rent expectations with a low vision quotient. Older developers tended to favor more interesting mixed use development, but urban renewal fads favoring either high-end office space, or later high-end urban residential seem to create more instability for the neighborhood. I lived there during one of its brief periods of glory, in the 1990s, when the mix of galleries, artists’ live work-spaces, quaint shops and cabarets created rich material for paintings and café culture. I’ve missed it ever since.

Here is another image from those years in Pioneer Square:

3 Men, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, copyright ©1996
3 Men, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, copyright ©1996

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