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Updated 11/1/2020

Newspaper Articles and Magazine Stories about Elin Thomas (formerly Pendleton)

Californian Newspaper, Spotlight, Featured Artist, May 2006

Equine Vision Magazine, "It's All in the Attitude" 2003

Art Talk Feature "Spinning Art on the Web", November 2000

1977 Stars and Stripes Newspaper, Europe, on Painting Vans

Horsin' Around: Pendleton's Artwork on Display at Mercantile Gallery

Story by Jeff Pack

Elin Pendleton is horse crazy. It's OK, she admits it. It would also explain the collection of works the Wildomar artist has on exhibition at the Mercantile Gallery at Old Town Temecula Community Theater. "When I was a Kid, my mom would always say 'You can follow Elin by the road apples,'" Pendleton said. "(The show) is focusing on my equine paintings featuring rodeo scenes and draft horses."

The exhibition opened a couple of weeks back and is tied to Old Town Temecula's Western Days, which was held over two days last weekend. The exhibition continues through July 9. It is a perfect fit for Pendleton who is a busy member of Women Artists of the West, the Eqine Art Guild, the National ACrylic Painters Associaitoin, Oil Painters of America, and is a full member of the American Academy of Equine Art. "The American Academy of Equine Art is based in Kentucky and has membership Worldwide," Pendleton said. "It is considered the premier club for horse art."

Her activity in those groups is only part of her daily life. Pendleton teaches an online art class for Mt. San Jacinto College at the Menifee campus and runs three Web sites:, and

"With, I sit down every day and say 'What am I going to paint today?'" she said. "I paint what I want to paint and I do it ever single day. When it is finished, I post it to the 700+ people who site down and look at my art every morning with their morning coffee. It is fun, different and has been incredibly successful from a marketing standpoint."

Since cutting back on her teaching duties, Pendleton said that while she's busy, she's the right kind of busy. "That's how I can stand here and talk to you, look outside my door and see a beautiful red-tailed hawk," she said. "I can travel, do my artwork, teach in workshops and so forth."

In addition to her online galleries, teaching and exhibitions, Pendleton has a full slate of commissioned work on her plate. "I do a lot of commissions, a lot of portrait work which is really lucrative," she said. "I have hundreds of people that I have never met who own my paintings. I am an artist; that's what I do for a living. I am busy, but I am also very fortunate."

Pendleton said it was easy to select paintings that would fit the show at the Mercantile Gallery and thinks people who visit the exhibition will be pleased. "I think people will see good brushwork and good horses," she said. "I have so many paintings, I was able to just pick out a frame and then find a good painting that would work for the show."

Equine Vision Magazine (now The Horse in Art) - Summer, 2003

People have commented about the positive attitude I maintain with my art and painting career, and have asked me how I do it.  I respond by telling them that I see solutions where others see problems.   I perceive no limits in thinking about the possibilities of doing things, and never look to traditional ways as the only way.  This attitude has been described as “thinking outside the box” which in many ways can be most helpful to an artist.

For example, traditionally looking at things from our own eye level is considered the norm and is the most common solution to designing.    I try to look for innovative ways to present the common scenes.  When I painted in the city of Orange’s Paint the Towne plein air event, I knew that a midline horizontal image would be too ordinary to satisfy my “outside the box” thinking.  I wanted an unusual vantage point to show the circular layout of the Plaza.  How could I get off the ground?  I looked at the second story windows of the buildings surrounding the area I wanted to paint, but was not successful in gaining access.  What to do?  My camper provided the solution, and it was just a moment before all my gear and I were up there.  Success resulted in an award winning painting from an unusual viewpoint.

I’ve stopped seeing traditional French easels and the support material of 150 years ago as the only way to paint outdoors.  We have the technology with new material to make lighter, sturdier and more practical plein air gear.  I’ve designed a plein air setup that incorporates a pull-behind golf cart which doubles as a full-size field easel.  Everything else is carried on the cart when moving to or from a plein air site.

Thinking that there must be many ways to do things, I’ve applied this outside-the-box thinking to other plein air activities.  I love to hike, yet hate to carry the gear, backpacks and overnight stuff.  I wanted something to carry all my art stuff, my lunch, chair and water, and still be able to go just about anywhere.  The outside-the-box solution?  Pack goats.  Two Saanen wethers (neutered males) are fitted with packsaddles and panniers, which I bought from high country goat packing outfitters catering to the backpacking world.  Each goat can carry up to fifty pounds, and are far better than mules for gear.  They hop right in the back of the pickup, follow without a rope lead, and are personable to be around.  And they don’t kick!  Fitting names for the boys--Vincent van Goat and Michael Angel Goat!  Going off trail is easy, and now painting is not limited to just where I can carry gear for a day.  Overnight camping trips are planned, and Vince and Mike’s companionship is a plus. 

Sometimes I hear artists say, “I just can’t do (whatever),” to which I respond, “What other ways can you do it?”  When one realizes that there are always solutions instead of problems, a positive attitude is inevitable!

Art Talk Magazine Feature "Spinning Art on the Web", November 2000

Exerpt: ...Another piece of advice comes from artist Elin Pendleton ( of California. She has her own site and encouraged the Women Artists of the West, a group she belongs to, to ost a stie too. Pendleton comes from a marketing background and is intensely intrested in applying those principles to the Internet just like they're applied anywhere in the business world.

"I'm a proponent of keep it simple. If it won't load quickly on someone's computer, I won't do it," she says. "Keep in mind many people are still on 28.8k connections. that means no graphics-intensive sites. So many of these Web gurus just want to flex their muscles and show what they can do. People call up those sites and can't download all that stuff quickly and just give up and move on. they never see it. If you've got something that gets in people's faes, you have a better chance of selling it. It's just like any retail store. If I eye something on a shelf, I don't want to wait for a clerk to come along and pull it down off the shelf."

She recommends gallery people go to the library, log on to a computer and see how long it takes their page to download. Different serviers move at different rates. find out about key words and how search engines locate them. Think in reverse about who they really want to reach. search out good links for pages. Pendleton, for example, paints horses. Her sites contains links to a Web site dealing exclusively with draft horses.

"I position my site with links to places where people who would buy my paintings would tend to browse. Web designers often don't know squat about marketing even though they know the technical stuff."

...Marketing savvy connected to art Web sites has to go beyond technical aspects, too. Pendleton, who shows in galleries, directly sells three or four paintings a month from her own site. She's done that through llinks to other sites, as mentioned earlier, and also by promoting her own site. Every email that goes out from her computer for any reason has her Web address on it. Every image mailed out has the same address attached. So do her business cards. When she teaches art workshops, she mentions her Web site.

"Most people put a site up there and wonder why people don't flock to it. You have to do a lot more. In fact, I do a lot of what gallery people have done all along to promote it.

Stars and Stripes Article - Thursday, June 23, 1977

"Mobile Artist – 97th General Hospital illustrator uses her talent to give vans a personal touch"

Story, photos by Leah Larkin, Staff writer

Paint Brush drives a blue van whose sides are decorated with mountain scenes and whose constant passenger is a black and tan Doberman. Paint Brush not only painted the van’s exterior, but also fixed up the interior as well. Paint Brush likes to paint—and ski and travel and play a guitar.

In the CB world, Tricia Thomas (now Elin Pendleton), an illustrator at the 97th General hospital in Frankfurt, is “Paint Brush.” Drawing and painting are part of her job in the 8-to-5 world.

But even when not working, these days she is likely to have a paint brush in her hand. Not your ordinary natural bristle variety, however. The kind of painting she pursues in her off hours requires a special tool, an air brush.

She paints vans—with mountains, flowers, flames, whatever. It all started last August when she saw a painted van and decided she could do better.

But painting vans was not like painting pictures, she learned. Special paints, tools and techniques are required. First, she needed the air brush, a brush from which the paint is sprayed. She had to order it from the U.S.

She began talking to people at motor pools about painting cars. They taught her a lot. And they still do, she said. When problems develop. She consults the experts. Vans are painted with automotive acrylic lacquers that Thomas buys from an automotive company. She thins the paint down, mixes her own colors. In the U.S., where van popularity in the ‘70s just may surpass that of convertibles in the ‘50s, van painting is big business. There are special companies that do nothing but decorate the big vehicles with scenes and designs.

Try to find a van painter in Germany. Spec 5 Bob Koskey of Heidelberg decided he wanted some flames on the side of his van. He looked on the economy and was told that it would be necessary to have an expert come from Stuttgart to do the job. He didn’t even bother to ask the price, he said. Then he learned about Paint Brush. She did the job for about half of what it would cost in the U.S., he said.

It sure stands out. On the CB, people tell me it’s outstanding when I pass them."
But Tricia Thomas is not interested in van painting as a business. "I do it for fun, as a hobby, to meet people, to travel," said the 28-year-old artist.

And, it provides a certain satisfaction distinct from painting a canvas, she explained. "I like the idea of exhibiting my part, of showing what I can do without paying gallery fees. It gives a great sense of accomplishment in seeing something you have created being driven around by someone else."

As more and more vanners see her work, more are asking her to take her brush to their mini-homes on wheels. Her price is right, and she even drives her van to her customers.
Thomas recently joined the LOVE (Limited Only to Vans in Europe) van club. Like the clubs in the states, LOVE sponsors van-ins, reunions for the van people who get together with their prized possessions and get a chance to see what others have done to dress up and luxurize their big cars.

"A van gives you the freedom to go somewhere without an incredible amount of prior planning. It’s a car you can live in. And it’s so much fun on a trip," Thomas said.
In the winter months, just about every weekend her van heads to Switzerland with a group of dedicated skiers sitting in the back—playing cards, singing, laughing. Sometimes the driver lets someone else take over. She gets out her guitar and joins the "party on wheels."

Having a van means that people often ask for rides to the ski slopes or help in moving furniture. "It’s just all part of the game," she said, obviously not upset by the requests.
"I’m very attached to my van," she explained. "It’s needed in my life now. I couldn’t part with it. When I go back to the states it will go with me. I’d like to drive it across the country."

Tricia Thomas is equally attached to the passenger who almost always rides next to her in her 1971 blue VW bus. It’s “Widow”, her 2-year-old Doberman. “Whenever I talk about the van, it’s the three of us,” she said.

Vans and painting them are among Tricia Thomas’ most recent interests. Something she has been devoted to in a big way for several years is skiing. To her, snow and mountains have become more than a place to enjoy her favorite sport.
For the past two years she has been the leader of the Frankfurt Ski Club National Ski Patrol. Which means that most of her ski weekends are devoted to mountaineering work: Avalanche and glacier training, practice of rescue techniques, teaching others ski patrol skills.

Because she loves snow and mountains, she frequently paints them.