Ballet and drawing were Elaine Dube's artistic outlets as a child; she taught dance as an adult - then devoted post-graduate study to watercolor painting. Now the Mesa artist studies the seasonal 'dance' of color, light and shadow at favorite spots in Arizona, from the Arboretum to the Superstition Mountains and the Grand Canyon - and we're pleased to showcase her new works during January in our Visitor Center Gallery.
"Each time I visit the Arboretum I discover new scenes of beauty, peace and wonder -- always something new to catch my eye; From the multi-colored Pistachio leaves in the fall, to the profusion of wildflowers in the spring -- and maybe the rare chance to see a dash of snow in winter... you'll find an ever-changing palette of beauty. I love the poppies and lupine in the Demonstration Garden, this is a special place. Visiting later in the day brings shadows falling across the sand in the Cactus Garden. Watch for the low-growing flowers, the burst of color here-and-there, with varieties I have never seen before.
" Painting flowers has always been a favorite with me; since moving to Arizona the topography of this land has captured my interest. The rocky landscape of the Arboretum, the majesty of our Grand Canyon -- Arizona presents a spectacle to see and to paint. Watercolor has been my main medium for many years. Years ago I had moved away from acrylics, but seeing these beautiful rocks made me return to this style of painting. The Grand Canyon is lovely, and last winter I was lucky enough to get there to see snow. The dark hues of the rocky canyon walls push forward... add stormy clouds and snow to the mix; I can never resist painting the Canyon.
And my favorite spot at the Arboretum? That changes with each season. Autumn brings the vibrant colors of the Pistachio leaves, the high point of the park. Winter doesn't look like winter where I grew up in Minnesota, but snow-capped cactus were an unprecedented picture to paint last year, once when I visited.
The most delightful area in spring is the Demonstration Garden, with wildflowers taking over. The Larkspur and Delphinium that bordered the garden pathway, simply irresistible! Iris of many colors, the Mexican Hat, the Maricopa Poppies taller than I could imagine, spring has so much to see.
"Painting is my passion, capturing a moment in time, sharing this beauty of our land with others is my goal. I love the challenge of putting paint to paper or canvas, pulling a bunch of flowers out of a piece of white paper! From the Cardinal in the snow, to the lizard in the sand among the flowers to the giant rocky canyons, it is my journey, sharing my view of this path of life.
Elaine has been an invited exhibitor at the annual Fountain Hills art show, and has participated in art fairs in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin.
"Watercolor is my first love," she said "I'm a fast painter and watercolor works best for me. I love the Arboretum's Rose Garden, until I began to explore the gardens I didn't realize roses grow so well here in Arizona. The Children's Garden is a joy, that's my favorite place in the Arboretum. I have always needed to create, as a child I drew, but also studied ballet. I danced while young, then married and raised six children. Teaching dance was my job then, owning my own studios. When my feet said "No More" I began taking my art seriously. I studied with many noted watercolor teachers, both in workshops and in college classes. But mostly, I just read and tried everything I could to better my art. It is my passion. I belonged to a cooperative Gallery in Vancouver, Washington, for many years and honed my art through this period. I entered many art shows and won prizes, then started teaching art. Now those students are winning prizes.
I use photos most of the time for my references, and have built up quite a collection. It is easier with watercolor to work from photos and sketches. The first time I painted outside here in Casa Grande, the paint dried immediately -- which dictated a change of techniques! The balmy air of southern Washington State was no comparison to the arid surroundings here. But I am a fast painter, which has worked for my advantage. We fell in love with Arizona. Sedona was the first region to capture my heart, and I took many photos of the sun setting fire to those craggy rocks. It took years of living here, and visits to Sedona before I tried painting those fiery rocks. I needed to soak up the atmosphere, the ambiance of Arizona before I could put it on paper. Light and shadow are the things I look for in choosing a reference. Late afternoon sun lends a glow to both the rocky shapes and the delicate blossoms of the cactus and wild flowers. Once I actually took allmy bright red paints to paper and compared it to the startling Prickly Pear blossoms in my neighbor's yard. Then the wild flowers started blooming, and off into the desert we went, searching out Lupine and Mexican Goldpoppies. The colors here are so beautiful, helped by the clear skies - and no morning fog.
At the Arboretum, there are so many beautiful plants and trees, and changing exhibits. The seasons change and bring new things to enjoy. The Rose Garden brings memories of Portland's roses. The children's garden is a joy to see, and when I painted it, my little grandsons loved it. They really had never paid much attention to what I was painting, so this said something! Even on paper the Children's Garden is inviting!
Thompson Arboretum is located at Highway 60 milepost #223, just three miles
west of the town of Superior - a drive of about one hour east of Phoenix or
two hours from Tucson (take Oracle Road North to Highway 79 past Florence
to Highway 60, then East for another 12 miles).
During Winter months exhibits may be seen in the Visitor Center gallery daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where the gallery is found. Review other recent gallery shows from...