Editor’s Note: In recent months, The Beachcomber has partnered with Vashon Island Visual Artists (ViVA) to continue to highlight the vibrant arts community of Vashon in the era of coronavirus. This week, we bring you the inimitable mosaic artist Elaine Summers, who recounts, in her own words, her inspirations and how her life and artwork have unfolded during the pandemic. For more information on VIVA members and to find out how to schedule a private visit to an artist’s studio on Vashon, visit vivartists.com. Brochures detailing ViVA’s Art by Appointment program can also be found at many island stores and businesses. — Elizabeth Shepherd
I’ve always been the kind of person who would try something that I was interested in, with no formal training. I like learning while doing and the last two times I did that, they became careers.
The second half of my life was altered when I stumbled upon an out-of-my-price-range mosaic mirror. It was in a shop in Philadelphia owned by the eccentric artist, Isaiah Zagar. I was fascinated by it. When I was back on the island, I took a two-day mosaic class. That was just enough information to get me on my way.
Another huge influence in my artistic life was the Reverend Howard Finster. I used to visit his one-acre art house and gallery every time I was in Georgia. My husband and I made three records in Atlanta, so on our day off, I would drive to the country to buy his art and visit his amazing garden. I was always inspired by outsider artists because they made me feel like anyone can do art.
When COVID 19 started and we all went into lockdown, I thought to myself how lucky I was to be able to work from home. With a recording studio and my art studio, life wasn’t too different. I am so grateful for the natural beauty of this special place I’ve called home since 1995 and this wonderful artist-centric community. I’m probably most well-known for the dog at the Hardware store restaurant, and I am a founding member of the Vashon Tile Guild. I have always hoped to cover Vashon town in tile, one piece at a time. Reach me at email@example.com or 206-321-0758.