Deciphering DC: City Views (Paintings by Elaine S. Wilson)

'Renovating The Capitol (Closed View)'
‘Renovating The Capitol (Closed View)’ by Elaine S. Wilson

Check out these cool plein air oil paintings of DC.

At an artist showcase (Extra/Ordinary DC: City Views by Elaine S. Wilson) on January 10th hosted at the Hera Hub DC (near Friendship Heights), we had the chance to discover the oil paintings of Elaine S. Wilson, highlighting many DC cityscapes.

Elaine moved to DC in 2013, and upon arriving with her son, she was struck by the strange towers on the McMillan site (along Michigan Ave.) and set out to paint them.

She paints in oil on wood panels or linen canvas, and visits a site over many sessions, working on and perfecting the painting. The quality of light is a critical factor, so she can only work during three peak hours a day (in the morning) to get it right.

The paintings at the showcase depicted views of the McMillan towers, the Hughes Memorial Tower, the Capitol Stones (in Rock Creek Park), Rock Creek Park and the Howard Theatre.

My favorite was the Capitol Building painting that also opened to reveal a colorful, wide landscape view of the Capitol Stones (pictured above and below). Apparently, on the back but not seen, was an additional painting of the Capitol Columns (at the National Arboretum), bringing a trifecta of current city landmarks left from the Capitol Building renovation between 1958-62.

I also liked the view of Howard Theatre and the historic building next to it, a scene I ride by on a bike often (below).

‘My paintings are about revealing the specific nature of a place through repeated encounters versus capturing a particular moment.’ – Elaine S. Wilson

See all of her DC paintings here.

'Renovating The Capitol (Open View)'
‘Renovating The Capitol (Open View)’ by Elaine S. Wilson
'Early Morning on T Street'
‘Early Morning on T Street’ by Elaine S. Wilson

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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