JWN Arts & Hawking 

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The Visual Art
Bill and Eleanor Nelson

   Self-portrait of Bill Nelson (1927-1997) circa 1969....Portrait of Eleanor Nelson (1925-2015), in 1973, by Bill

William Everett Nelson and Eleanor Rita Nelson met and were married in New York in 1952.  Bill was a native west-coast Washingtonian and Eleanor a native of the Bronx.  A more unlikely pair would be hard to imagine: Bill, the rough-hewn rugged individualist; and Eleanor, a city girl through and through. What brought them together was the world of art.  Traveling extensively and sketching and painting everywhere they went, the two eventually settled in scenic Port Townsend, Washington on the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula.  Over the course of their lifetimes, the two generated a volume of artwork, in oils, watercolor, pastel, etching, lithography, and sculpture.  Their travels included copious visits to the major art museums in North America and Europe.  Their time was spent, when not sketching or painting, reading about and talking about painting with their many artist friends.  A significant fact connected to their artworks is they maintained a strict philosophy of working only from life, or from sketches taken by them from life.  The use of photographs were strictly taboo, though Bill broke his own rule on only two occasions when, as a favor to a good friend, he referenced a photo of a parrot, and later of a windsurfer in action, to create a couple of specially commissioned paintings. Bill died in Edmonds in 1997 en route to the VA hospital in Everett, Washington, the city for which his father was named and which he bore as a middle name.  On his way, he waited for the ferry at Kingston where he entered his last dated sketch into his sketchbook.  Eleanor died 18 years later in Pullman, Washington, where she had moved to be closer to family members living in that part of the state. The images of the artwork currently on this site is just a small fraction of the work.  Over time, the documentation will continue and the gallery will grow.