William E. Elston

is creating oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, pastels

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Robert Henri, the great American painter and teacher, once said that "painting is the way men talk to each other across the centuries." I believe this is true, and that this discourse engages the specificities and the universals of the human condition. It is a conversation that binds us as a people to our own culture, and at the same time hooks into the commonalities that we share with other peoples, over the vast reaches of time and geography. The plastic arts are where new languages are forged, and where our perceptions of our world and our place in it are shaped. 

The ways in which this conversation is produced, shared and preserved has changed over the centuries. We are living in a time of shifting models of support for the visual arts, in no small part because of the effect of the Internet and social media on the way art is consumed. Many artists, myself included, are also trying to envision how the support and projection of grand scale visual arts projects can be democratized in this new future that we inhabit. I'm convinced more than ever that the new ways that art is presented in our culture must include the experience of hand-made art first hand and in settings that welcome the broad public.

I am a visual artist living in the Pacific Northwest. I've been exhibiting regularly for over 45 years, and am best known for landscape and urban landscape subjects. I also teach, write and produce resources for plein air and studio painters. I have taught ongoing plein air workshops in the northwest region for over 30 years. I have been a guest lecturer at Marymount Manhattan College, Washington State University, the University of Washington, Whitworth College and many other institutions. Although I'm currently teaching privately, in the past I've been an instructor at Fort Wright College of the Holy Names, The Spokane Art School and The Gage Academy. I have been teaching private ongoing plein air workshops in the Pacific Northwest since 1993, and have seen hundreds of students pass through my course of instruction. I also lecture occasionally, do workshops and participate in regional plein air events.

In the studio I am currently working on several ongoing projects. I am doing a series of oversized paintings (8-10 feet) that explore ritualized social display, such as one might see on the street, in public squares, on a promenade or on a jogging trail in a park. These are large multi-figure representations in urban settings. I'm also doing a series of rural landscapes that examine ways that expanding residential populations pursuing the myth of "a house in the country" impact traditional, family based agrarian culture, as well as other issues that are transforming the contemporary rural landscape. Both of these projects require resources, e.g. studio space, painting materials, travel expenses, etc. These and other projects, because of scale and content, defy traditional funding models. They also present challenges for exhibition and placement.

Hopefully you will become a patron, and support my ongoing commitment to the visual arts, to these projects, and to my efforts to provide instruction to the next generation of visual artists, to help extend this conversation between men and women across the centuries. All levels of support will include (at your discretion) a personal listing in my website's Patreon page. All levels will also gain access to a private website in which I hope to bring my patrons and supporters closer to my working process, using video and other interactive materials. Please join me in creating our future.

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