Artist Spotlight: Buff Elting
We love highlighting the talented local artists we have pieces on display from, and today we are getting to know Buff Elting. Buff’s artistic style is expressionist realism that’s inspired by her direct experiences in nature. She works with charcoal, graphite, watercolor, pastels, oils, acrylics, and photography. Read on to learn more about her as a person and her inspiration as an artist.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in a small, rural South Jersey town with lots of freedom to explore the nearby woods, fields and streams. My childhood love of nature and wild places has continued to inspire and inform every aspect of my life and my art ever since.
How did you get started as an artist?
I started drawing and self-assigning myself creative projects when I was in kindergarten. I decided at age 5 that I was going to be an artist and I just stuck with it, even though I had no mentors and very little art instruction throughout my school years. I loved reading and drawing. Later while earning a BFA in printmaking and photography, I took one painting class and loved it. I didn’t actually start painting regularly until a few years after graduation and since then have taken a few workshops over the years.
What would you say makes your work stand out from other artists’ work in the area?
A unique combination of realism and abstraction.
What artists do you look up to the most?
Claude Monet, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Jennifer Bartlett, William Allen, Pat Steir, Cy Twombley, da Vinci
What is something others might not know about you?
My longest “real” job was as a seasonal employee of Grand Teton National Park when I was in my early 20’s. My work partner was a retired Russian emigre named Alex, who became a sort of an adopted grandfather over time. Over the years, he shared his wisdom and lots of stories about growing up in pre-Revolutionary Russia and Shanghai. We drove all over the northern end of that magnificent park 5 days a week, sunrise to mid-afternoon, picking up trash from remote campgrounds and roadside picnic areas in our little trash truck. Not a glamorous job but we made it into a grand adventure, discovering out-of-the-way places in the Park that I never might have seen otherwise. Afternoons and weekends, my friends and I kayaked, rafted, backpacked, rock-climbed and explored all throughout the Tetons, Yellowstone and the surrounding wilderness areas. Those 5 summers of immersion in nature changed my life forever, in endlessly beautiful ways, seeding my senses for the years yet to come.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not in the studio I enjoy reading, journaling, hiking, trail-running, skate-skiing, sport climbing, cycling, yoga, gardening, travel and photography. Moving water is one of my great loves so any chance I get finds me on an ocean beach or a river. I still fly with my husband as often as possible in his backcountry Maule. And spending time with my busy family (husband, 3 grown children and 2 young grandchildren) is always a special priority.
What is your favorite thing to do here in Boulder?
I love that I can go for days at a time without ever getting in my car and still easily access my favorite mountain trails and most of Boulder by bike or on foot. Investing in our Open Space parks is still one of the things that has made and kept Boulder the very unique and beautiful place that it is.