Elaine Matthews – “Plein Air” Artist – is an elegant, genteel woman who paints amazingly beautiful landscapes of California and the Southwest. Her paintings capture the serene — yet exhilarating — beauty of Coastlines, Mountains, & Deserts. Meeting her in person for the first time, I was struck by how incredibly modest she is about her talent & achievements.

Although born in Ohio, Elaine grew up in California. Her formative years were spent drawing and painting the changing light and shadows cast by the sun on the San Gabriel Mountains. Elaine earned a B.A. in studio art from California State University, and an M.A. from Azuza Pacific University. She was an Art Instructor for 30 years in the Anaheim School District, & Chair of Art Department at Savanna High School in Anaheim, Ca. She is also a Member, California Art Club, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, & Head of Plein Air Painters of the Desert Art Center in Palm Springs, Ca. Elaine’s Collectors include Nissan Corporation, AVCO Financial, and many Private Collectors.

Elaine travels extensively throughout California & the Southwest:


“The beauty of California attracts people from around the globe. It is the primary inspiration for my work. I hope by viewing my paintings, people will be reminded of times spent experiencing the splendor and ruggedness of the California landscape. I consider myself a traditional artist influenced by the California Impressionists, particularly William Wendt and Benjamin Brown.” Wherever Elaine travels, she finds abundant subject matter to paint from her singular, interesting viewpoint in evocative color, brushstroke, and composition.
“En Plein Air” or “Plein Art” is a French expression which means “in the open air” — or, painting outdoors. Although artists have long painted outdoors, in the mid-19th century working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school & Impressionism.

The popularity increased in the 1890’s with the introduction of paints in tubes. Previously, painters made their own paints by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. With the advent of the “Box Easel” (or “French Box Easel” or “Field Easel”) — artists were able to take their easels — and their tubes of paint — to the great outdoors. Trekking outdoors to fields & forests, mountains, streams, oceans — with their large White Umbrellas, the Plein Air artists were able to capture the natural light & luminosity of their surroundings in their paintings. Elaine is a 21st Century Plein Air painter! She has continued a wonderful tradition in Impressionist Paintings.

Elaine Matthews lives in Rancho Mirage, Ca – Website:; Email: Elaine will be one of the Featured Artists in the upcoming Rancho Mirage Tour of Artists Homes/Studios on Sat. April 12, 2014