02 June 2011

Elaine Bartholomew Rothwell

My mother-in-law passed away earlier this week after being hospitalized due to a heart problem. She was a month past her 85th birthday--she was born in 1926, the same year as Marlyn Monroe. Elaine grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her father Fred Bartholomew was an artist and passed his passion and talent on to his daughter. Elaine met her "man in a uniform" in 1945, when newly-minted ensign William Stanley Rothwell, a fellow Minnesotan and an Annapolis grad, swept her off her feet. They were married a year later and had a long and loving partnership. Elaine raised four children while Bill pursued a career in physics. Once the family moved to California, Elaine returned to her art, earning a degree from San Jose State University in 1966. Her work with Vi Woodbury brought her to etching and printmaking which she pursued for nearly fifty years. Elaine and Vi remained lifelong friends. Elaine, signing her work as E.B. Rothwell, developed a unique style that was both playful and serious, skillfully combining high art with popular references. Her signature technique was the use of negative space to hide images and her best work always had something below the surface to tease the eye and prick the mind. Bill and Elaine retired to Auburn, California where she was active in the local art scene. She is survived by her husband, her three daughters, Suzanne, Amy, and Wendy, her son Bart, and her two grandchildren, Damien and Cherise Verrett, as well as two step-grandchildren. I will remember her for her great love of history and in particular her enthusiasm for classical Latin ("It's KICK-ero, not SISS-ero!"). She was a sharp and combative conversationalist and a supreme story-teller with a prodigious memory. Rarely do I meet someone who can out-talk me! She was a wonderful mother and wife, and a fascinating and charismatic woman who in many ways was years ahead of her time. I will miss her very much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lovely piece, Mark. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet her.