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FARMINGTON — Approximately 15 years ago, Elaine Frink took an online course to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, not really expecting much.

“You never know if a home-study thing like that is going to be a scam or if it’s good,” she said. “I lucked out, and it was really good.”

Frink, a self-described “casual artist” at that point in her life, learned so much from the class that she quickly became a devotee of digital art. She considers that experience a turning point and says it motivated her to become serious about her creative pursuits.

“It was one of the first (computer programs) where you could really do any art,” she said. “My husband had been teaching me photography, but I got bored with it. I wanted to do something else.”

In digital art, Frink quickly discovered her passion. These days, the Farmington resident produces digital paintings from digital photographs creating landscapes, portraits and still lifes, and her work will highlight the second annual “Garden Show” opening this weekend at the Feat of Clay artists co-op and gallery in Aztec.

Frink will be featuring seven or eight pieces in the show, most of which are new and which reflect the show’s garden theme. She believes she’s made great progress as an artist since she took up the medium 15 years ago.

“When I look back at the things I did at first, it looks amateurish,” she said. “Now, I’m really pleased with my work, especially my portraits of children.”

She attributes her improvement to nothing other than elbow grease.

“I paint every single day, and you have to get better if you do that,” she said.

Frink was living in Las Cruces when she began her digital work, but she and her husband relocated here five years ago. Her husband now struggles with Parkinson’s disease, and as his primary caregiver, Frink finds herself retreating to her home studio when she needs a break from those demands.

“It has become my refuge,” she said.

Frink had been showing her work in Las Cruces, but when she moved to the Four Corners, she knew she’d need to find a new outlet for it. She took stock of the local galleries and quickly came to the realization that Feat of Clay would be the best fit for her – other than her home.

“My house is probably my biggest gallery at this point,” she said, laughing. “I’ve been know to sell art right off the wall.”

Frink makes no bones about the fact she doesn’t care for the business side of the art world.

“My problem is I’m a terrible salesman and a great artist,” she said. “I’d like to be able to just paint, have somebody else sell for me. I keep saying I need an agent.”

Frink will be on hand at the opening reception for the “Garden Show” on Friday, July 22 with the other participating artists and hopes visitors can appreciate the nature of her work, which, as a relatively new medium, is still struggling for acceptance in some quarters.

“Digital art is like other art,” she said. “It’s not different, it’s just done differently. The Impressionists weren’t allowed to show in Paris (in the early days of that style) because ‘it wasn’t really art.’ Digital art is, at the moment, much more accepted out East than here in the West.”

The exhibition will remain on display through Aug. 20.

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

If you go

What: Opening reception for the “Garden Show”

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 22

Where: Feat of Clay artists co-op and gallery, 107 S. Main Ave. in Aztec

For more information: Call 505-516-0047

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