|"View from the Temple at Asakusa" oil on canvas 30X40 inches 2006|
|"View From Sauvie Island Bridge II" oil on canvas 48X72 inches 2006|
|"Chi-town" oil on canvas 21X30 inches copyright 1991|
|"Elliott Bay with View of Alki Point" oil on canvas 82X110 inches 1989|
|"Tramp Steamer" oil on canvas 36X36 inches 2006|
Painting in this mode, a very traditional academic approach, presents both an exceptional challenge and certain benefits. The benefit is that it is a style so firmly entrenched in our cultural understanding of what a painting is, that it has a very broad and immediate appeal. To put it more bluntly, it's marketable. But for those very reasons, the world is flooded with it. Most of the artists who contribute to that flood have not nearly the level of skill that William E. Elston displays here. It can be a difficult task trying to bring quality and nuance to a field saturated with mediocrity. But artists like Mr. Elston as well as many of his peers, do it not for the money (which under even the best of circumstances usually ain't all that) but for the love of doing it. There is a real passion on display here, for simply going out, looking carefully at the ordinary world around us, seeing how extraordinary it actually is, and trying to capture some sense of that with paint and brush. Nothing truly meaningful in art ever goes away, despite the art world's obsession with the new. It gives me a certain amount of comfort to know that, despite the wild fluctuations of contemporary art trends, there are practitioners of more traditional approaches out there who take it every bit as seriously.
You can see more of his work, a lot more, at www.elston.net.
Mr. Elston, who lives in my neck of the world (The Pacific Northwest of the U.S.) also works on a blog/website for the Northwest Figurative Artists' Alliance where you can see work by other like minded talent.