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Installation: Here, There and Everywhere.

This is the installation of my current exhibition at Dodson’s Fine Jewelers, in Spokane, WA. I regret that my photographs do not do the installation justice, but it was the best that I could do under the circumstances.

The exhibition will be up until December 2. Dodson’s is located at 516 West Riverside Avenue. Their hours are Tuesday through Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm.

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Upcoming Exhibition at Dodson’s in Spokane

Riverfront Park Apunte, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, copyright ©2017
Riverfront Park Apunte, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, copyright ©2017

I’m getting ready for my upcoming exhibition at Dodson’s Fine Jewelers, in Spokane WA. The show, “Here, There and Everywhere,” opens November 3, with reception at 5 – 8 PM, and will continue until December 2.

The exhibition includes Spokane subjects, as well as paintings done at the Columbia River Gorge, and Western Washington.

Dodson’s hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM, and Saturday from !0 AM to 5 PM. Dodson’s is located at 516 West Riverside Ave, Spokane, WA 99201

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Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2017: Maryhill Museum

I spent 4 days participating in the Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2017 event at Maryhill Museum, on the Columbia River Gorge. It was a grueling affair, with temperatures as high as 110 degrees. There were 42 artists involved, and the event culminated in a month-long exhibition at Maryhill Museum, where it will hang until August 27th.

Because of the excessive heat, along with the parameters of the competition, the event became a bit of an endurance test. One must create a minimum of 4 paintings in 4 days. Since the 4th day is devoted to framing, the inevitable touchup and delivery to the museum, there are really only three days to do the paintings. For me that meant doing 4 alla prima studies as quickly as possible so that I could go find a cold beer. I was joined by my friend John Laney, and on one occasion we found the heat so oppressive that we opted for the beer without the painting as prelude.

At the outset of the event there was a post on facebook that addressed a controversy re. what is truly plein air. Must it be done in total on site, or can one work on it in the studio? If worked in the studio, what percentage is permissible? I always look to the old masters for answers to these questions, and I find that the men who virtually invented the art of painting en plein air did not fetishize the process, but did what they felt the painting demanded. They painted outdoors, finished indoors, used photo references at times, and did all in a spirit of lively experimentation. They did not valorize process over results. Posting these mundane observations got me blocked by one purist amongst the ‘pleinairistas,’ but also collected some ‘likes’ as well.

The real value of these events is the opportunity to network with other artists. I often wonder if we couldn’t get beyond the need to turn these gatherings into a competitive blood sport, they might resemble the convivial gatherings of the old art colonies that populated Europe and America at the turn of the last century. I enjoyed seeing some old friends, Cathleen Rehfeld Meyers, Celeste Bergin, etc., and meeting some new ones, Thomas Kitts, Aaron Johnson, Bhavani Krishnan and Matt Sterbenz.

#pnwpleinair2017 #oilpainting #pleinair #landscape #art #maryhillmuseum #pacificnorthwest #columbiarivergorge

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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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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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William E. Elston

aritst/owner: the art of painting
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.

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NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

William E. Elston

aritst/owner: the art of painting
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.