Electric Elaine DeCunha MA
“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Elaine, the original paint slinger, was a highly skilled finger painter and mastered Etch-a-Sketch by the end of high school. Clearly art was her talent and passion and she began to pursue this avenue at the Ontario College of Art. However, tormented by visions of canvases blowing around the gas stations, starving, only to leave her children as millionaires when she died, made her think, “Whoa…Nelly,” and she decided to pursue a more stable path and signed up for Criminology at the University of Guelph with a minor in Fine Art. During this tremendous period of growth she began working at Guelph Correctional Centre teaching art to inmates. Although Etch-A-Sketches were not allowed due to security reasons, finger-painting and every other form of art was. (Finger-printing was a whole other art).
It was here that Elaine discovered the true value of art and its impact on the human soul. She also discovered tremendous creativity locked behind the walls and in the person. She had a captive audience and they had time on their hands- a winning combination. Over the next 6 years Elaine expanded her artistic explorations to sculpture in clay, metal, soapstone, wood and concrete, all the while being continuously amazed by the talent and innovation of the inmates. Even the simplest things were creatively recycled, like an old toothbrush so delicately carved to resemble a fine knife. Now, not only were they winning bench pressing records, but also Prison Arts awards which were nationwide.
In need of space for incoming students, UofG administrators gave Elaine a Master’s degree, which actually worked to gain employment.
While enjoying her career, Elaine continued to be involved in the art world, taking many courses at Haliburton School of Fine Art and other art schools, and eventually joined the Board of Directors at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. She has lived abroad, travelled extensively and currently resides in a quaint village called Millbrook, Ontario.
Elaine truly believes that if she can teach inmates how to paint and not get killed, she can teach you!
Hello. My name is Natalia Howard. My biggest loves in life is fine art, especially painting. I enjoy painting landscapes and portraits, abstract and representational. I have studied privately with artist Nadia Seagull a number of years. I have also attended art history courses: Art of Asia and Roman Art and Architecture at York University. I like to sketch with pencils and charcoal the people and places where I travel. I love painting with oils, especially landscapes, in the style of impressionism. My favourite artist is Claude Monet. I have sold my paintings in the past and now I’m concentrating on teaching fine art.
Dawn discovered her love for drawing early and as a child spent many hours with her sketchbook. This soon followed with explorations in painting and other forms of art-making
As a young adult she studied drawing, illustration and traditional drafting. This followed with work as an illustrator and traditional drafter. Dawn then upgraded her skills in graphic design and has worked as a freelance graphic designer for the past 15 years. During this time she has continued her art studies, both formally and informally, in many art forms including painting, print making, sculpture, stained glass and fabric art.
After many years working in the solitude that comes with being a freelance graphic designer Dawn is excited to join the Spirits and Splatters family and to be out helping others explore their creative side.