Getting to know … Elaine Martin |

Getting to know … Elaine Martin

Nathan Rodriguez
Special to The Vail TrailElaine Martin, on one of her many travels, stands before a vista in Spain.

Vail artist Elaine Martin has created quite a few works of art over the years. She’s painted landscapes using acrylics on textured canvases without a brush, a number of which hang in the lobby of the Vail Racquet Club. At the same time, regular Trail readers may recall her visually arresting photography from her exploits across the globe. We got a chance to speak with Martin as she and her husband were preparing for yet another trip, this time to Croatia.

I’ve painted pictures for years and years. My husband and I have traveled a lot, and back in the olden days I would take slides and get them all together. And now with digital photography, it’s become so much easier, so I can just walk around with a camera hanging around my neck and take whatever I want. So it’s just been a fun thing to do. We travel a lot, and when we get home, I do a DVD, add music and a little narrative, and it doesn’t take up nearly as much space as a photo album does.

Then with the Vail Trail running features on different kinds of things … I started to think of different photographs, and one of the ways that I was aware was I was a winner of the T-shirt, so I thought, ‘Well, I need to come down to your office’ just to see where you were and to meet Amanda [Swanson, production manager] because she’s always the one who’s running ‘OK, how about pictures of this,’ or something. So I went to see her, and we met, and it’s just kind of fun. I enjoy it … and it’s become kind of a hobby.

I actually paint; I’m an artist, and so I can also photograph my work, so that kind of goes hand in hand … So if you want to see what my paintings look like, stop by the Vail Racquet Club, have a drink at the Bighorn Bistro, and [laughs] then you can see what kind of artwork I do.

They kind of go hand in hand because if I’m going to promote my artwork, it’s good to have some good photography and be able to take pictures of your work, too. But the photography stuff I do is not to make any money. It’s just a hobby and kind of a fun thing, and I enjoy it.

I don’t know for photography what people like to see. When you’re an artist, you look at things a certain way, and for landscapes if you take something, you see it a little different than you do if you just drive by ” I kind of think so, anyway. And you kind of have a feeling for how things flow, and color, and where you might crop pictures or what might look good. And when I submitted stuff to Vail Trail, especially this last one [Gaudi architecture in Barcelona], I think, ‘OK, now if she wants to do a layout, how might she do it? She might want some squares … and try to make it all go together,’ and that’s why I submitted to you what I submitted.

Well, I’ve been to all the continents.

You may remember [the photo spread] on Antarctica from about six months ago, or whenever.

We’ve been all over: the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Italy, Eastern Europe ” we did a cruise down the Danube to the Black Sea and back to Budapest. So we did a round trip there. We’ve done Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Scandanavia, Russia, South America, China, Africa, Turkey, and Portugal and Spain ” that’s where the Gaudi architecture came from, from Barcelona.

And then, of course, there’s always other places to go. The next one is Croatia. Next week we’re leaving for a trip along the coast of Croatia and end up in Venice, which is fun. We’ve been to Venice before, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

I want to go to India and Macchu Piccu. There’s just always someplace to go. I always like to go back to Europe. I think my favorite, and the places I’m most comfortable, are probably in Europe. Italy is a favorite of mine.

Well, there is a big difference, and most of my photography, I have not been thinking about print as much as thinking about how I’m going to say something to put it together for a DVD or some kind of a story on where I’ve been.

I think when you photograph something, you approach it a little bit differently if you’re going to do a story about it. You can make it flow and hopefully show where you’ve been. So when you’re 95, you can sit there and say, ‘OK, where do I want to go tonight?'”

If I had done print instead of doing slides back in the olden days, I might feel differently than I do now about digital. With the megapixels in new cameras, you get a pretty good resolution when you print photos out. But it’s so much easier, it really is. You just put them on the computer and see what you have and crop them and change the lighting and everything. It used to be that you had to wait for them to develop, and then you might say, ‘Well, that’s not really what I thought I took,’ whereas now you can take something, look at it right away and say, ‘No, that’s not quite right,’ or ‘I’ve got to have a little more of this or that.’ So it’s great to be able to take tons and tons of pictures; you can always delete them. When we travel, every night, I will look at what I’ve taken for the day and eliminate what I know I don’t want … So I really prefer digital, because it’s much more hands-on, from the beginning to the end.

I just take the camera wherever we go.

I have not taken photography trips, but I think that would be fun. My husband and I like to travel, and … as we get older, we get lazy about planning trips and trying to figure out where you’re going to stay every night. So we’ve decided to take more group tours, and we like small group tours where there’s no more than 20 or so people. I’ve gotten pretty good at sitting on a bus and turning the camera to high-speed and taking pictures out the window. That’s why I look at them every night, because not all of them are what I want … But that’s how it goes. We pick where we want to go, and I just take pictures wherever we are.

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