William E. Elston
William E. Elston: Paintings, vol. 36

March 2021


Featured Painting

Canoe, oil on canvas, 30 X 40 inches, copyright ©2002
Canoe, oil on canvas, 30 X 40 inches, copyright ©2002

Zen Sekai Gallery Launches

A new VR-3D walkthrough gallery previews online. This is an account of my forays into the world of virtual exhibitions.
zen sekai gallery logo
Zen Sekai is Japanese for Whole World.
Early Exhibition on Mosaic
In the early days of the World Wide Web many websurfers began their journeys at the NCSA Mosaic homepage.

Mosaic was an early graphical web browser being developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Netscape was a commercial spinoff from that effort.

I'd long been interested in both presenting paintings online, and in virtual gallery experiences. My very first attempt at an online exhibition was listed on the NSCA Mosaic home page in the early 1990s. Mosaic's homepage was a changing compendium of what was then happening on the Web.
More about Mosaic
My Yoville Gallery, c.2010.
My Yoville Gallery, c.2010, with my avatar Jacques Boot and my avatar cat, Nosferatu.
My Yoville Gallery
Fast forward to 2010. I had been playing a game online called Yoville. Yoville was a small virtual town with a virtual economy, and the ability to communicate in realtime with other players via avatars that you would dress, coif and deploy. You could chat with these other players, meet new ones, even give them gifts or barter for possessions. You could also accumulate properties. Your first was acquired simply by joining the game, and consisted of an apartment in a ritzy high-rise.

My second property was an old abandoned police station. I eventually acquired a haunted house, a trailer, a yacht, a flying saucer, an expensive condo, a Japanese home, a castle and a home made out of a pumpkin, all purchased with YoCash or YoCoin.
I decided to turn my Yoville apartment into a gallery. One of the items you could purchase on the Yoville market was a picture frame that you could upload your own image to. I purchased a stack of those. My Yoville gallery had three showrooms, a storage and prep room, an office and a bathroom. We invited other Yo players to our openings, which were packed. You can read more about my Yoville gallery by clicking on the button.
Yoville Gallery Post
William Elston exhibition at Zen Sekai Gallery.
William Elston exhibition at Zen Sekai Gallery.
Zen Sekai Gallery
This brings us to Zen Sekai Gallery, my latest iteration of an online gallery experience. It is based on the Kunstmatrix platform, a commercial 3D gallery software suite.

Joining me in these first exhibitions at Zen Sekai Gallery is my old friend William Dubin. I've known Dubin for much of my life, and we've followed each other's artistic careers over a period spanning 50+ years.

Dubin is considered a forefather of the Steampunk movement, a result of his seminal sculptural works exploring kinetic mechanamorphism. Prior to those late 1960s sculptures he was known for biomorphic abstractions in carved exotic hardwoods, which were shown at the prestigious Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco.

William Dubin also exhibited watercolors at my Yoville Gallery, in a show that was well received by the Yoville avatars. He has been working in the watercolor medium exclusively for the last several years.
William Elston, Larsen Lake Apunte 4, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, copyright ©2017
William Elston, Larsen Lake Apunte 4, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, copyright ©2017
William Dubin, Sweet-Water #4, watercolor, 28.24 x 20.5 inches, copyright ©2021
William Dubin, Sweet-Water #4, watercolor, 28.24 x 20.5 inches, copyright ©2021
Zen Sekai Gallery is now open to the public. Most of the works are for sale (the real paintings, not the virtual ones.) Please visit via the link below, and please sign up for our low-volume Newsletter.
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William Dubin exhibition at Zen Sekai Gallery.
William Dubin exhibition at Zen Sekai Gallery.

Online Group Critique Turns 50!!!

Almost a full year of Online Group Critique sessions.
What a difference a year makes.
Tuesday, March 9th, marked the 50th Online Group Critique session that we've had since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first Online Group Critique took place via Zoom on April 1st, 2020. That same week Governor Jay Inslee of Washington instated some of the first comprehensive social distancing regulations in the country.

The first two sessions were critique only, and we used a private web page to present and discuss the submitted work. For the third session one of the participants had suggested I discuss how to paint dappled light. I put together a presentation of old master and contemporary work that I felt illustrated the subject, and discussed their methods.

Every subsequent Online Group Critique session has had a special topic, ranging from color theory, perspective, brushes, aspects of art history, solvent-free oil painting, photographing artwork, etc. They have also featured occasional live demos from my Panther Lake Studio.
Learn more
Online Group Critique session
Online Group Critique Zoom session.
Almost all sessions have been recorded, and the recordings have been archived and made accessible to participants. These recordings comprise over 50 hours of instruction in methods and materials, art history and painting practice.

I'm happy that I've been able to provide this small but expanding group of people some community, entertainment and food for thought during these difficult, strange, and for some, tragic times.
Suggested payment for Online Group Critiques is $25 per session. Payment is made via PayPal or Venmo. Subscriptions are available.
Online Group Critique Zoom session.
Online Group Critique Zoom session.

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