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Bread Of Life Mission

Bread of Life Mission, oil on canvas, 45 x 69 inches, copyright ©1988
Bread of Life Mission, oil on canvas, 45 x 69 inches, copyright ©1988

This is the first urban landscape that I produced after moving to Seattle. I had done some shipyard and Queen Anne neighborhood subjects, beginning when I was still living in Spokane. Those paintings had been shown at Foster/White Gallery. I believe that I was still showing at Foster/White when this was completed and sold, but I began showing at Davidson Galleries shortly thereafter. It is the first time that I had tackled a complex street scene with multiple figures.

I no longer know where this painting is. It was purchased by a law firm that had offices in what was then called Columbia Tower, now called Columbia Center, and I presume it is still in their lobby.

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Broadway Vampires, 1989

Broadway Vampires, oil on canvas, 63 x 68 inches, copyright ©1989
Broadway Vampires, oil on canvas, 63 x 68 inches, copyright ©1989

This is another painting from my first show at Davidson Galleries. The subject is from Halloween night the previous year. I wanted to paint some ghouls, vampires and other creatures of the night. I did several paintings of similar subjects. This painting, which is quite large, depicts a couple of dangerously seductive vampires. The one on the right was the sister of my then girlfriend, the sculptor Heather Ramsay. The one on the left was a stranger that we met in Pioneer Square, and who was happy to tag along as part of our “coven.” ‘Broadway Vampires’ is now in the collection of John and JoAnn Laney, old friends from my New York days.

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Running Man, 1989

Running Man, oil on canvas, 18 X 24 inches, copyright ©1989 | 3/56
Running Man, oil on canvas, 18 X 24 inches, copyright ©1989

This painting was included in my first exhibition at Davidson Galleries in 1989. It was purchased by John Hauberg, a noted businessman and supporter of the arts in Seattle. John Hauberg was also the founder of the Pilchuck Glass School. When he passed away in 2002, many of the works from his collection were sold. However, I was told by my then dealer John Braseth, that this work would remain with the family. I am not certain of the current whereabouts of Running Man, but it has always been one of my favorites among the small early cityscapes that I’ve done.

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Work In Progress: Plaza Guemes, Buenos Aires

Plaza Guemes, oil on canvas, 76 x 96 inches, work in progress copyright ©2016
Plaza Guemes, oil on canvas, 76 x 96 inches, work in progress copyright ©2016

This is a long-term project, a painting of Plaza Guemes. Plaza Guemes is a public square in the Palermo Viejo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The painting is based on a small study that I did on location, as well as photomontages, and photographs and other source material that I developed during the course of my working on the study. You can follow the painting’s progress on my “Painter’s Workshop” page here.

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Work In Progress: Snohomish Valley, End Of Summer

Snohomish Valley, End Of Summer, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, work in progress copyright ©2016
Snohomish Valley, End Of Summer, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, work in progress copyright ©2016

This work in progress was begun earlier in the summer, while everything was still green. The valley is still predominately green, but beginning to shade into fall colors. You can follow its progress on my Painter’s Workshop page.

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From Catherine Creek Trail 2: Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2016 / Maryhill Museum

From Catherine Creek Trail 2, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, copyright ©2016
From Catherine Creek Trail 2, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, copyright ©2016

From August 22-28 I participated in the Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2016 event in and around the Columbia River Gorge near Hood River OR and Maryhill Museum, Goldendale WA. The event was a competition, exhibition and sale, hosted by the Maryhill Museum. I was joined by my friend John Laney and 38 other artists, and did four paintings over a period of four days. The works were done alla prima and en plein air. Because the works would immediately be placed in a museum exhibition, I built the frames around the panels before doing the actual paintings. This made work a bit awkward, but in the end the weight of one painting with the heavy frame helped stabilize my setup during the first day’s 30 mph gusts of wind.

I have mixed feelings about these events, partially because I think that competition in art tends to place emphasis on the wrong qualities, much like what takes place in Olympic figure skating. Nevertheless, I did get a ribbon award, for “Best Mountain,” and was flattered that Terry Miura, the juror, gave it to me. I owe big thanks to my friend and colleague Cathleen Rehfeld for encouraging us to participate in what was overall a really enjoyable week of painting in the Gorge.

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About

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William E. Elston is a professional artist and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest. He has exhibited for over 40 years, and has works in numerous public and private collections, both in the region and internationally. He is best known for urban and rural landscape images. He is also a founding member of the Northwest Figurative Artists' Alliance.

William Elston teaches ongoing plein air classes during the Spring, Summer and Fall months. Classes are held at various locations throughout the greater Seattle area.

Aside from teaching painting, Mr. Elston also teaches karate, and has yondan (4th degree) rank in the World Seido Karate Organization.

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