1955, I was born in the rural community of
San Luis Obispo, California. I spent my childhood with both parents,
my father a second-generation immigrant and career Navy man, my mother
keeper of the castle, one sister and one brother. I was the middle
child. Life at home was the usual kid stuff: Chase the cows,
feed the bunnies and chickens, pick bushels of fruit and corn, climb the
apple trees, ride the dog, dress up the animals and put on circus shows.
I designed costumes for any animal or kid
I could persuade to join my circus and made up silly skits, stunts, songs
and dances for the performers. The great weeping willow tree in our
yard served as the big top for the circus, complete with high-wire
tightropes and trapeze made of rope and imagination.
My first art job was making posters
announcing my circus shows. Crayons and paper. Pretty
Beyond the backyard my favorite outings
included camping, hunting and ocean fishing. I could pop abalone
from rocky crags in the shore surf, clean a 30.6 rifle, gaff a “big
one” off the stern of a pitching boat, fillet fish and dress big game
long before most kids were allowed to cross the street alone.
My first 3 dimensional art was made from
shells, antlers, and hides. My art was becoming a little less
and Oceans 1973-1995
Garcia Young Adult
I worked my way through college at
Robinson's Red Door Art Gallery in Morro Bay California. There I
came to know the contemporary artists of California. I visited their
studios, attended workshops, helped hang gallery and traveling shows and
poured champagne at gala openings.
In 1975 I graduated from Cuesta College
with an Associate of Arts in Nursing and a minor in Fine Art. My off
the job obsession was skiing, which took on a life of it’s own.
My first go at it was on 230cm (7 1/2 foot
long) wood skis with bear-trap bindings and leather lace-up boots. I
was hooked. I joined the male dominated volunteer ski patrol and
became the first woman professional ski patroller at North Star at Tahoe.
In Summit County Colorado I built my first house and became a certified
Ski and Snowboard instructor. My illustrated book, Zen and the
Art of Snowboarding was
the first instructional snowboard manual ever published. Two years
in a row I won National Amateur Snowboard Championships, with medals in
Slalom, Giant Slalom and Half Pipe.
In the off season I took pre-med courses
and worked as an emergency room nurse, first at County General Hospital in
San Luis Obispo, and later in the San Francisco bay area, taking calls
to ERs at San Francisco General, Berkeley Children’s Hospital and
Highland General in East Oakland, affectionately known as the “Gun and
Knife Club.” I turned down a hard earned admission to UCLA Medical
school to join the UC Berkeley sailing club. Career change was in
took a job on a commercial abalone boat and within a year set sail for the
South Pacific aboard a 33-foot Ranger. My adventures aboard
commercial fishing boats paled in comparison to the escapades aboard the
tiny sailing ship of fools. During my 16 months at sea I wrote
and illustrated a series of articles for San Francisco’s Latitude 38
sailing magazine. When we finally limped home under the Golden Gate Bridge
I discovered a bay full of boats. At the Saint Francis Yacht Club in
San Francisco, Humphrey Bogart’s 55-foot yawl, Santana became my
part time home and full time job. All this time on days off, during
blizzards in the mountains and cold foggy days on the coast, I turned into
another person…an artist. Eventually my growing passion to create
new art consumed me.
Garcia The Child…again
I am grateful for my friends, family and
loyal patrons who gave me the confidence and courage to quit my day jobs
and turn my passion into a fulltime career. In 1996 I bid a fond
farewell to my snow shovel and spar varnish and moved to the Big Island of
Hawaii to become a fulltime contemporary artist.
Today, besides acrylic and oil on canvas
painting, I also work “outside the box” on mixed media paintings and
exploring various two and three-dimensional media. Currently I’m
experimenting with clay and concrete as a sculpture medium. It’s
big, messy and unpredictable fun. Another great joy is sharing the
process of making art with students and other artists in our studios and
local art center.
My original paintings can be seen in
several fine art galleries and my website, elenagarcia.com Other
venues for my paintings are juried competitions and invitational
exhibitions. Honolulu Academy of Art Museum’s invitational
Showcase, which I have been honored to participate in since 2002, is
an annual fundraiser for children’s art programs throughout the Hawaiian
Islands. I'm a veteran (1980's) of the Santa Barbara Sunday
Boardwalk shows and the Summer Art Festivals in Laguna Beach.
Both venues continue to attract large audiences to their great variety of
contemporary work by California's top artists.
from my studio in Hawaii overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I feel like I’ve
come full circle, from a kid playing with colors, to a bigger kid playing
with colors, design and form. When I’m not busy playing at (art)
work I find time for family, friends, community, travel and surfing.
still believe in love, give what I can and pray for peace.