Art on the Land: Elaine Roemen on capturing the unique beauty of Nesika

Creating an oil painting inspired by the Nesika Coast in Port Orford

By Elaine Roemen
Oil Painter and Commissioned Artist for Art on the Land

Elaine plein air painting at Nesika Forest

Hello, my name is Elaine Roemen. I live in Port Orford on the beautiful Southern Oregon coast. Over the years, my paintings have reflected a love of natural landscapes and horses, and I’m proud to be a part of Wild Rivers Land Trusts’ effort to preserve natural lands. I’m hoping the auction of my painting of the Nesika coast will help fund a healthy water system for the Warm Spring Tribal land.

I must say that this opportunity has been quite challenging and inspiring. I visited the pristine Nesika Forest for 3 days to sketch and start on a plein air painting. The weather was wet and I got cold but kept being pulled in. I didn’t get much painting done but I took in the silent language in the environment. 

This forest is haunting and enchanting like standing in a hushed prayer. The tall ancient trees give a timeless perspective of overwhelming beauty.

It seemed absurd that I could make a painting here. It is God’s creation. What was I thinking? I wanted to make a beautiful painting, but I am merely me. The forest spreads to the cliffs overlooking the ocean, and that is another majestic experience. I returned to the studio with photographs and worked for 2 weeks trying to land some of my ideas. 

One promising painting was of smaller trees twisting and stretching to the light through the larger trees but the painting didn’t work out. Another draft was my husband Steve walking among the soaring trees with shafts of light. The finished painting that inspired me the most is the one featuring trees in front of the rocky surf. Pamela and Ann from Wild Rivers Land Trust also felt that this one was distinctly “Nesika,” whereas the others could portray a number of forested areas. I was most pleased with this one.

Nesika Beach by Elaine Roemen

About Elaine Roemen

Elaine has taught art on the high school level in Brooklyn, New York and printmaking for young people through the New York City Council for the Arts.  In addition, she served as a docent for school children at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.  Following her Masters degree, she was an art therapist for day hospital patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.  Later, Elaine was an Art Therapy instructor at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Elaine became a certified mental health counselor for Washington State in 1990 and was in private practice as an Art Therapist.

Since moving to Port Orford in 2002, Elaine has devoted her time to painting the coastal beauty of this special place. As president of the Arts Council she was instrumental in developing an Art History and Creative Art program for Curry County children taught by local artists and sponsored by Oregon Community Foundation, Curry County Cultural Coalition, and Gordon Elwood Foundation.  Her recent paintings can be seen at Second Street Gallery in Bandon, OR.

About Art on the Land

Raffle tickets are on sale December 2-12, 2021

Art on the Land is part of a collaborative project with Greenbelt Land TrustWallowa Land TrustWetlands Conservancy, and Wild Rivers Land Trust. Throughout October and November, artists visited a property in their area that is currently protected and preserved by a local land trust, drawing inspiration from the landscape to create a unique, commissioned piece of art. Learn more.

Buy your raffle tickets for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind work of art—like Elaine’s painting—created by local Oregon artists and inspired by land currently protected by Oregon land trusts. Tickets are $20 each, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Chúush Fund to support the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs as they work to restore their access and infrastructure for clean water.

Raffle winners will be selected December 15 and notified by December 17.

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Kelsey Kuhnhausen

Kelsey Kuhnhausen

Kelsey is COLT's Communications Manager.

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