1921 - 2013
Elsie Grace was our mother, grandmother or great grandmother. We are so saddened by the tragic loss that words can barely express. We prefer not to go into the details of her death on this site. This is a celebration of her life ... and there is MUCH to celebrate!
grace noun \ˈgrās\: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
Grandma Grace's name always seemed to fit her. She was so full of kindness and always had a good word for everyone. Everyone loved Grandma.
Our family is very proud of Grandma Grace's professional accomplishments.
A child who was all the time drawing, Grandma was introduced to her lifelong delight at the five-and-dime."Years ago they used to have a little black enamel paint set, with little round cake pans. I remember as a child, my biggest treat was to go to the dime store and pick up one of those paint sets," a story she frequently told.
Upon graduation from high school, she received a scholarship to the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit, Michigan. She continued her art training at several schools, including Isomata, Idyllwild, California; Crafton Hills College, Yucaipa, California; Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California; Pasadena City College, Pasadena, California, John Muir City College, Pasadena, California and Lawrence Technical, Detroit, Michigan.
In World War II, Grace worked as a draftswoman in Detroit, Mich., for a company making aeronautical parts. She met and married Maurice Grace and moved to California, where she found work teaching at an art school in Alhambra. The Graces moved to Yucca Valley in 1971 and Grandma began teaching at Copper Mountain College that same year.
Grandma taught oil painting and basic drawing in charcoal, pencil, pen & ink, and pastel. But her true love was watercolor.
She would often explain:
"When your brush touches the paper, you think you know what's going to happen, but maybe your brush got too much water and whatever happens, it's so exciting!"
Besides her innate talent on top of years of training, Grandma thought it was something else that explained her skill in watercolor - what she called her "stick-to-it-ness."
Watercolor isn't a medium that lends itself to drawn-out pauses or days of neglect.Once the artist soaks her paper and lays the first drop of color onto the page, she'll usually have to finish what she's started in that sitting.Once the water dries and the canvas sets, the original feel of the painting can't always be recaptured for more work.
"Usually when I start a watercolor painting, I like to stick with it, because all your emotion is put into it in that moment.It's not like oils, where you can leave your work."
After Grandpa’s death, Elsie moved to the lower desert, where she continued to teach and enter art shows. After 33 years of teaching at CMC, Grandma "retired" in 2004 but continued teaching classes at Indian Ridge Country Club, The Citrus Country Club, PGA-West Resort and Club and Heritage Palms Country Club. These classes were very popular with the club members.
She was commissioned by the La Quinta Hotel, and painted 230 watercolor views of the hotel's casitas. She was a member of the La Quinta Art Association.
She was a signature member of Watercolor West, an accomplishment of which she was most proud. To achieve signature status (she signs "W.W." after her name), her work had to be juried and accepted three separate times.
Her original watercolors have been exhibited and displayed in permanent collections at:
- PGA-West Resort and Club
- La Quinta Resort Hotel
- Avalon Medical Association, Yucca Valley- Dr. Rui DaSilva, Patron
- Dr. Robert Lombardo Dental clinic, Yucca Valley
- Donna Gordon, Attorney at Law, Patron
- Dr. Charles Palmer, Retired Dean of CMC, Patron
- Dr. Sherman Strand, Retired
- El Dorado Polo Club
- Palm Springs Civic Art Association
- Indio Date Festival
- Pasadena Art Institute
- County Clare, Ireland
- Hilo, Hawaii
- Dr. Steven Gorman
Grandma was inducted into the College of the Desert 1997 Hall of Fame for "Outstanding Adjunct Faculty" for 32 years of service as an Art Instructor. She considered her teaching experience over the years as most rewarding, enabling her to share the joy of achievement and the love and appreciation of art.
Our family would like to continue her legacy by establishing a Scholarship endowment in her memory. We are accepting donations in her name with Copper Mountain College as the Scholarship administrator. All funds will be delivered directly to CMC Foundation and they will adminster all functions of such. Please click on the GoFundMe.Com widget to the left to make a donation. We are grateful for any amount you are able to give.