William E. Elston
William E. Elston: Paintings, vol. 34

December 2020


The Year of Covid-19 Updates


Online Group Critiques

March Madness Plein Air Class Sale!!!
Like many of you, I went into 2020 without a clue of what was in store for us. I had been asked to return to teaching karate classes once a month at Northshore Y. I was reluctant to come out of retirement, but they were having trouble finding a permanent instructor, so the class was shared between a small group of senior black belts on a rotating schedule. I went to my February class already feeling ill, with a sore throat, headaches and lethargy. This lasted a little over a month. What it was is anyone's guess. However, as soon as the news about the novel coronavirus started trickling in, I was only too happy to self-isolate.

I had sold a painting in December, and had promised to frame it. I used the proceeds from the sale to upgrade my toolset, and had been thinking of some new frame designs. I was still feeling ill when the painting was framed and delivered in March, but soldiered through it.

By April I was feeling much better, but by then Washington's Governor Inslee had ordered the state locked down. My plein air season usually begins in mid-to-late April, and that would be impossible under the circumstances. I had a handful of students that were chomping at the bit to continue their studies, so I came up with the idea of doing online group critiques using the Zoom platform.
Flower Fields, oil on canvas, 36 X 48 inches, copyright ©2005
Highway 14 Turnout, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches, copyright ©2019
The first Online Group Critique took place on April 1st, and the first few were the usual comedy of errors. They consisted of works shared on a private webpage and critiqued one at a time. Beginning on April 15 I began to follow the critique session with a "special topic." This was done at one student's request; he wanted to know about painting dappled light. This became the first of a now weekly special topic, sometimes with students determining the subject, sometimes the result of my own interests.

The special topics have covered a broad range, including technical questions, art historical excursions, color theory and many others items of interest to the students. The sessions have been recorded and archived, and are made accessible to regular participants. There are now a collection of 36 sessions, comprising over 50 hours of recorded shop-talk, history and lore.

Realizing that the coronavirus was also bringing a devastating economic downturn with it, I decided to make the Online Group Critiques donation only, with a recommended amount of $20 per session. This seems to have worked out well for all concerned, and we've been joined by people from as far away as Utah, Southern Oregon and Eastern Washington.

The sessions are held usually every Tuesday at 4 pm. If you're interested in joining or just trying it out, you can find more info on my classes website.

Several Paintings Found Homes!

Grassfire, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches, copyright ©2018
Grassfire, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches, copyright ©2018
Several paintings found new homes, including Grassfire, above. It was traded with a friend for a Prius. The friend has been a patron over the years, and has a substantial collection of my paintings, including several major works that were purchased through Davidson Galleries.

There was also the aforementioned painting that was sold in December, to one of my longterm students, a woman that has studied with me off and on for nearly 20 years. Her large family home had the perfect spot, an empty wall in their sitting room, where it shares the ambiance with a grand piano.
Snohomish Valley, Looking East, oil on canvas, 36 x 47 inches, copyright ©2015, photographed in situ.
There have also been several paintings that have been placed by the MAC's Art Source program. Tammy Gabbert has been a very effective administrator and curator and I appreciate her efforts. The most recent sale from that venue has been this painting of Latah Creek.
My Image
Near The Mouth Of Latah Creek, oil on panel, 36 x 18 inches, copyright ©2017
The painting had been in my last exhibition at Dodson's in Spokane, before their permanent closure. A substantial amount of the remaining inventory from Dodson's found its way to the MAC, and quite a few have sold.

So things plod along, as we move into the final virus endgame. The coming months are expected to be difficult, and I hope that everyone of you is able to weather it without tragedy or too much strife. Since I'm now "elderly" and with health issues, I'll stay disciplined about sheltering in place, and donning a mask when necessary. Please stay safe and sane, and we can party when it's over.

Please visit my painting or classes website for more information regarding upcoming exhibitions, events, classes or workshops.

View my painting website
View my classes website

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All rights reserved. Copyright © 2019 William E. Elston

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