By Marlene O’Neill, CIAA President
In anticipation of Central Idaho Art Association’s (CIAA) 50th Spring Show, May 4, 5, and 6, CIAA celebrates founding member, Ellamae Holes. The 50th Show remains at the Bicentennial Historical Museum and will feature the art of founding members.
Mrs. Holes remains a contributing and active member. During her tenure she has held every office and has been active in many committees. She produced the Newsletter for many years, as well as other association activities. She organized the hospital and bank displays to include displays at the First Security Bank/Wells Fargo Bank. She and her husband, Gerry, (a past member and contributor) host the Border Days’ Hole-in-the-Wall Show at their Mini Mall on Main Street, Grangeville.
The first Idaho County Landscape award, June 1971, was awarded to Ellamae. Existing records show that she has won the lion’s share of these awards. She has received numerous local and regional art awards, including Best of Show, People’s Choice and many blue ribbons. She took home a ribbon at the 33rd Wallowa Festival of Arts (juried). Her art has been featured in the First Stope Gallery, Butte, Montana; Washington Snake River Showcase (juried) in Clarkston; The Dahmen Barn, Uniontown; Fourth Wall Art Gallery, Lewiston; Salmon River Regional Art Show, Riggins; White Bird Days, White Bird; Hells Canyon Days, Cambridge; Raspberry Festival, Cottonwood; Kamiah BBQ Days Art Show.
When asked how long she’s been an artist, she states, “All my life! A memory as a four-year old: My girl cousin and I were drawing trees I realized….’I am an artist’!” Mrs. Holes is convinced that being artistic/creative is an inherited trait. She further notes that “clever, artistic, and successful producers of art were in the families of my mother and father.” Her art medias include oil, watercolor, acrylic, ink and pencil. Favorite subjects are portraits and landscapes. She notes that, “I am an artist at heart. Every unique scene, beautiful or interesting face, or colorful flower inspires me. So many inspirations. So little time!” Andrew Wyeth, Remington, Wood are favorite artists who’ve inspired her; as well as local artist, Gloria Teats, who generously shares her art knowledge and expertise.
Art education was limited when Mrs. Holes lived in Vale, Oregon, and Emmett, Idaho. However, her teachers recognized her abilities and often assigned her creative projects. She says, “Our family farm was 20 miles from town. Once my sweet mother enrolled me in an adult art class and drove me there, at night, as I was too young to drive.” Her first real art teacher was Ernie Peck at Boise Junior College. She has also taken advantage of art classes including sculpture and pleine aire painting.
Mrs. Holes was the fourth of six children born to loving, hardworking farm parents. She graduated from University of Idaho in 1960 and completed additional post graduate work. She married her husband of 58 years during her college years. Her working career included secretary at Martin Marietta—installed Titan Missile; teacher of Home Economics at Mountain Home Air Force Base, class at LCSC, and six years at Sts. Peter and Paul School; and accountant/sales at her and Jerry’s Ray Holes Saddle Company. The saddle company also involved traveling to ten western trade shows each year.
She and Jerry enjoy their family, being grandparents/great grandparents. They’ve enjoyed travelling “the lower 48”, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Columbia—South America, Europe, New Zealand, Iceland. Her activities also include church, Soroptimist, P.E.O., 4-H Leader, bridge club, pinochle club, golf and skiing. She smiles and says, “We have had a very full life including friends, family, big game hunting, fishing, skiing, camping, travel, enjoyable employment, and living our last 50 years in Grangeville, Idaho!”