Twenty Pieces The Art of Elaine Burge
Written by Sarah Grubbs Photography by Kristen Scott, Holly Knight, and Donna Von Bruening
It all started in a small town in Georgia. A kindergarten class was given the task of creating their own drawings of the local rodeo, and the best drawing would win the student artist tickets to see the rodeo in person. What was intended to be a one-day project turned into overnight homework for one little girl—as she drew the horse with the cowboy holding on tight, she became enthralled by the scene of the stadium, drawing each member of the crowd one by one. That little girl, Elaine, not only won tickets to the rodeo, but she discovered a passion for art through her love of animals that never went away. When Elaine graduated high school, she embarked on a new journey to the bigger town of Athens, Georgia. In Athens, everything revolves around the University of Georgia Bulldogs where football is a religion. Here, Elaine continued to develop her love of creating and received a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design while sprinkling in painting and drawing classes every chance she could.
It Takes a Village Fresh out of college, Elaine began working as a web designer in Atlanta but continued to paint, receiving commissions to create art for various friends, family, and clients. Her husband, a wildlife manager, encouraged her to chase her passion for art, and her desire to have a tangible product from her creativity and her continuous support from her family pushed her toward pursuing her dream. On one Saturday evening, Elaine was live painting at a wedding and heard about the Gregg Irby Gallery in Atlanta. Promising they would only look and not discuss business, Elaine and her mother-in-law strolled into the gallery one afternoon to look around, and soon after, Elaine mustered up the courage to introduce herself to Gregg. After reviewing Elaine’s art, Gregg tasked Elaine with creating a cohesive body of work to display at the gallery—20 pieces, no less. And while Elaine’s experience was mostly in portraiture, there was something special in her animal paintings. Cows, baby fawn, and hunting dogs are just a few of the animals that come to life with layers upon layers of acrylic paints—a childhood love of animals popped off the canvas with every brush stroke. And upon Gregg’s deadline, Elaine’s body of work was complete. Gregg placed Elaine’s collection in her gallery and to this day, Elaine maintains a collection of work in this space.
P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M Right: “Paul, Amy, Ed and Annie”