Elaine Dalcher has earned a reputation over the last 35 years for creating bold and colorful oil paintings. Dalcher’s subjects offer the viewer vivid images from a close-up perspective.  Whether it is a still life depicting a space in her home or studio, or a landscape with a tree standing as a figure against the sky, she renders subjects in a way that is at once honest, fresh, intimate and familiar.

Dalcher received her MFA from Western Michigan University in 1988 and is represented in public, corporate and private collections throughout the United States and abroad.  She has shown her work in many galleries and juried competitions around the country, including Lafontsee Gallery in Grand Rapids, Synchronicity Gallery in Glen Arbor, The Nines Gallery in Holland, Michigan, Artemesia Gallery in Chicago, the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Muskegon Museum of Art, Western Michigan University, Aquinas College, The Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, and the Buckham Gallery in Flint, Michigan.

Dalcher is a founding artist of the Tanglefoot Building Artists in Grand Rapids, which is celebrating its 27th Anniversary this November.

Dalcher received the 2012 Grand Rapids, Michigan YWCA Tribute Award in the arts.



“Like the sweep and forces of nature, [Dalcher’s] painting comes alive with energy and vitality.” - Sara Albert Grand Rapids Press

“[Dalcher] has a simplified, vigorous approach. Her painting is a personal, emotional and spiritual expression that reflects an acute awareness of life….”  - Sylvia Krissoff, GR Press


“One of my favorite art encounters was at the work space of Elaine Dalcher. Paintings are either color on canvas or emotion on canvas, and Dalcher combines both with a simple, unpretentious style.  Her paintings reveal a depth of feeling beneath the object depicted, an unseen plane where viscerally felt emotion coexists with the subjects of her work.  Even the paint-splattered floor around her work area has an interesting vibe.” - Bruce Madden, On-The-Town Magazine


In my paintings, I focus on authentic subjects from my immediate surroundings, concentrating particularly on nature and the landscape, the interior and the still life.

My process begins with direct observation: I often work outdoors on location or from a still life in the studio.  I render initial observations in a value-based series of drawings; through these, I seek to understand the space and emphasis of the composition.  I then draw my subject until it becomes a comfortable part of my visual language.

 Once I have achieved this level of familiarity, I translate the composition onto a canvas that has been undercoated with a ground – sometimes a traditional raw umber or earth green, but more commonly a lively, but toned down color: dark red, deep orange, yellow ochre, blue violet or yellow green. My palette is bright and vivid, a collection of colors, complements, values and intensities that ranges across the spectrum.  I start with the main subject and work outward to the edges of the canvas. Following this, I rework the image until I am satisfied. 

 A recurring feature in my art is the simplified composition, one that relies upon close-up perspective, regardless of content. This reflects the way I see things in my world: clearly, directly, and concisely. Because I am not concerned with elaborate detail, I am able to incorporate expressive brushwork and bold finger-painting in a way that would otherwise not be possible. My overarching goal is to create a balanced piece in which subject, composition, brushwork, and color are blended harmoniously.






Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting                          

Western Michigan University, 1988 • Kalamazoo, Michigan


Bachelor of Arts Degree / K-12 Teacher Certification

Thomas Jefferson College, 1974 • Grand Valley State University • Allendale, Michigan


2017  Van Singel Fine Arts Center, Byron Center, Michigan  "Women Create"

2017  Tanglefoot Artists Open Studio

2014  LaFontsee Gallery - Grand Rapids, Michigan

2014  LaFontsee Gallery - Douglas, Michigan

2013  Saint Mary's Hospital Grand Rapids, Michigan • One Woman Show: June/July 20132012  

2012  Grand Rapids YWCA Tribute Award for the Arts

1990 - 2017  Tanglefoot Artists / Elaine Dalcher Studio Artists Annual Show • Grand Rapids, MI

ArtPrize 2009, 2012, 2013

Exhibitor and Tanglefoot Venue Manager, 2009

Byrne/Boehm Art Gallery

Grand Rapids, Michigan • Two Person Show 2006

 Crooked Tree Art Center

Petoskey, Michigan • Two Person Show 2006

 The Nines Gallery

Holland, Michigan • Two Person Shows 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003

 Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Grand Rapids, Michigan • Featured Artist,  2000

 Fountain Street Church

Grand Rapids, Michigan • One Person Show  2000

 Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grand Rapids, Michigan  1992, 1995, 1997

 Betty Clark Cannon Gallery

Muskegon, Michigan  1994

 Krasl Art Center

St. Joseph, Michigan  1991

 Artemesia Gallery

Chicago, Illinois  1990

 Buckham Fine Arts Gallery

Flint, Michigan  1989

 Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan  1987, 1988

 Grand Rapids Gallery of Women’s Art

Grand Rapids, Michgan  1981, 1982, 1983, 1984


Elaine Dalcher Studio: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tanglefoot Artists: Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries:   Grand Rapids and Douglas, Michigan


Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1976 – 2010

• Experience teaching all ages 4 – 80 years of age

Elaine Dalcher Studio Classroom at Tanglefoot

Thursday Evening Painting Class with Elaine

Open to adults with beginning to intermediate experience

Special Project Instructor - Charter and Public Schools 

2011 - Present






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