Camas is the blank canvas where Elida Field paints her world. A world of fine art. Classes. Adventure. Creativity. Encouragement. And faith.
Elida is a local artist, a teacher, and a travel expert who offers art tours across Europe. She’s known for her commissioned art for the home and her packed art classes for every age. As she says, she “teaches art to those who don’t know how to paint.”
She said she loves connecting with people, and she loves art. Connecting the two is her driving force.A Clark County native, Elida grew up in Ridgefield where her father’s family settled, near Bjur Road, her family name. Her grandparents helped plant the Old Pioneer Church there that is now called Mountain View Christian Center. Years later her Dad helped build the added on gym to that church. She watched as Ridgefield grew and an influx of people moved in.
After high school, Elida wanted to see the world. She enrolled in a small college in Dallas, Texas and played volleyball. She pursued her passion for art, honing her skills at Dallas Baptist University, where she did illustrations for the school and children’s ministries there. After a deep conversation with her parents in regards to “starving artists,” Elida said she expanded her learning and found her way back to the Pacific Northwest.
She created an after-school art program at Mountain View High School in Vancouver, called “Art Van-Go” (named because she had a van full of art supplies and was “on-the-go). She started looking east to Camas to build a home in 2001, and a friend from one of her community groups stepped forward, and offered to build that house. While helping facilitate those after-school art programs, she was afforded the chance to be at home with her children.
By 2006, her after-school art gained attention from the community. She was already known in the gallery circuit for her art. And she received an invitation to create an ornament for the 2006 White House Christmas Tree.
Commercial success followed that opportunity. She began teaching children at various art camps and loved it. So much that she wasn’t sure about teaching adults. She created a class called “Art, Women and Wine,” which was an event full of encouragement and painting and revelry. Now, she was teaching everyone. She rented a studio space in downtown Camas for her popular art camps.
Elida said she approached Downtown Camas Association in order to host a walk-around-the-city tour with art. She made broad strokes in the art world downtown and across the region and found her classes and demand for her art instruction grow.
Her parents moved to Camas, and bought a house on 6th Avenue downtown, a home that was in need of a little love and repair. Nine months of work led to the full basement studio where Elida calls home for her art today.
She has since bought the home from her parents, and in 2013 opened it fully as Elida Art Studio & Gallery, located at 735 NE 6th Ave. There’s room for visiting artists. There’s rooms for workshops. Many of her students learn in the studio and become “full blown artists.”
She said it makes her heart happy when her artists “spread their wings and find their style.” Some of her artists come for the camaraderie and fellowship. Some need the encouragement to “get what they want out of the classes.” Elida’s goal is to allow every artist to create and express their own style of art, “while teaching technique along the way, becoming a better you.”
You may see her painting live at many downtown Camas events or live auctions. You may have seen Elida on KATU television’s “AM Northwest” show, where she’s taken part in 103 episodes over the past eight years. She recently showed viewers how to prepare for summer trips, while including a few art supplies to take along.
Elida knows a thing or two about traveling, as she tours the world of art … literally. A traveling priest named Father Bruno was a travel specialist who painted with Elida’s grandmother back in the day. Elida was enamoured with the thought of painting for causes and traveling the world, just like Father Bruno. “There are those people who talk about doing it, and there are those who actually do it,” she said. With that in mind, her first first art tour was with Father Bruno and 12 women over 12 days across Italy, where they experienced the culture, the food, and of course, the art.
Elida thought it was just going to be the one trip. There was a lot of good stuff there, she said. Maybe one more. Then another. And another. Twenty-seven tours later, Elida says “Art is an avenue to do these amazing things.” And she got to see the world. They continue to host these art tours about four times a year (once normal travel returns).
She’s painted in Portugal. She captured a sunset on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, all the greens of the beautiful gardens and the flowers at the base of Mount Vesuvius.
What locale has struck her the most? Well, on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic with her boyfriend, they stayed in the small village of Palo Verde where he grew up. A place with no cars. Dirt paths. A simple village. In his boyhood home, his mother had a canvas that was in disrepair and had been patched with flour and water. Elida hung the “made new again” canvas on a backyard fence and set out to paint a beautiful ocean scene. Once finished, it brought joy to the family and the neighborhood. “It was a chance to make something old new again,” she said. It was truly a magical moment for Elida. The children there had never used crayons. The schools had no art supplies. It was humbling to see how much joy the local children would create from nothing more than imagination.
She now returns to the Dominican Republic with a load of art supplies to distribute. She paints with the locals, and sees the joy it brings. “It’s quite a perspective to keep me grounded,” she said.
While traveling to the Caribbean keeps her grounded, her travels to Italy keep her inspired and opens her mind to all the beauty she can capture on her canvas. She was asked what it was like to have a charmed life? “I said ‘I’m an artist, when I work, I work hard. But it’s hard to know I’m working because I love it!”
Her smaller classes are back on, after being shuttered for the Covid-19 lockdown. She was able to do online classes, which allowed her to do so “from Canada to Texas and everything in between.”
Her father asked if she was looking into her retirement. And she said with a grin, “Dad, I am retired. I have the flexibility to travel, to be with my kids, and to do what I love. I’m going to die with a paintbrush in my hand!”
Are you interested in painting classes or touring the globe with Elida? Check out the website for information and details.