Elaine arrived in Albuquerque in autumn 1958 as a guest instructor at the University of New Mexico, the first of many such positions she held over the years. The big-sky southwestern landscape had a powerful effect on her paintings, which became boldly colored and expansive in a new, horizontal orientation. Elaine made life-long friends—painter Connie Fox and poet Margaret Randall—and began a long-running affair with artist Robert Mallary; her portrait of him was reproduced on the April 1963 cover of ARTnews. As a teacher, she combined art-world stories with a down-to-earth approach that urged greater freedom on the canvas. Watching bullfights in Mexico led to a series of paintings utilizing the Abstract Expressionist brushstroke to evoke the whirling action of the corrida. A night observing a Zuni winter solstice ceremony sparked a fascination with ancient ritual that culminated in her Paleolithic-era cave painting series nearly thirty years later.
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