Artist Louisa McElwain paints luscious, sensuous landscapes layered with thick  sweeps of paint and color.

Photos by C. Whitney-Ward 

But, she doesn't find a vista, render it in a sketch or photograph, and bring it to life  back in her studio. She literally takes her studio with her and  paints, as she likes to say, "in wild solitude." And this is how she does it.

She retrofitted her pickup truck; added a clever easel gizmo to the back; and customized boxes to hold her stuff.

That done, she was ready to ride out and capture an alluring New Mexico landscape, a passion she's been pursuing for the past twenty-five years. 

 "I paint outdoors in all sorts of conditions, open to the impulse of changing light,
 wind, heat, cold, and all the forces of nature that bring life into my paintings."

 Louisa is represented by EVOLE Contemporary . Twice a year the gallery throws a private happening  for their clients. This weekend guests were invited to tour Louisa's charming 10-acre house and farm (see my previous post ) and watch her paint. They invited me to chase along and it was a magical afternoon.

 Louise backed her truck up to the patio where we were all sitting, nailed a blank canvas to the struts on the back of her truck, and readied her palate... 

And began to paint.

Using a long-handled brush and sweeping strokes, she applied black paint and then began layering color...


Her tool of choice is a carpenter's chisel/palate knife.

Her finished landscape.

Amazing. Looks so simple. But it took Louisa decades to perfect her dance with paint and canvas.

EVOKE  Contemporary
130 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM


  1. I love this artist and will see her work in person this year when I come to Santa Fe. I"m glad that I discovered your blog. I'm an artist too.

  2. I Lived in Santa Fe for 5 years - she was a great person and a stunning artist - the world lost a great woman!