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Portrait Of Christel I

Christel I, oil on canvas, 23 x 22 inches, copyright ©1991
Christel I, oil on canvas, 23 x 22 inches, copyright ©1991

From 1989 to 1997 I lived with a woman named Christel Kratohvil. At that time she was a talented painter, but also very temperamental. My late friend Mark Perry claimed that she was as “crazy as a peach orchard boar.” We lived first on Queen Anne, then moved into a large live/work space in the Sunny Arms art cooperative. We also spent a few years living in the top floor of the Horton Bank Building, a constantly leaking 9 rooms in Georgetown. We traveled to California together, as well as Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Denver, etc. We made many trips to Portland OR, as I was showing at Elizabeth Leach Gallery then. Our relationship eventually collapsed amidst constant bickering and endless arguments, the subjects of which continually eluded me. Christel eventually ran off with a Flamenco dance cult, and took her mala leche with her.

This painting was done very rapidly in the studios we shared at Sunny Arms. Christel didn’t like to pose, and I had to work quickly. I’ve never been sure if it is truly finished, and she eventually gave up posing altogether. It was around this same time that the Northwest Figurative Artists’ Alliance was founded, in the same studio.

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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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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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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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Jun
26

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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.

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