Linda Elder of Ventura, esteemed sculptor and educator, has died

Linda Elder in her Studio by Donna Granata FOTM Portrait Series 2000

Linda Elder (1942 – 2016)

Throughout her life, Linda exemplified strength and courage. Much of her work expressed an appreciation of woman’s strength and triumphant qualities, traits Linda displayed in her own life.  She conquered debilitating injuries sustained in an auto accident and again, was the victor in her fight with breast cancer.  Her bright spirit will be missed.

Linda was first introduced to her favorite art form when an art teacher in high school allowed her to do sculpture in the back of the class while the rest of the class worked on drawing projects. But she didn’t return to explore art again until after her three sons started grammar school, and she entered college a second time.

After extensive study and work in painting and drawing, she found two-dimensionality too limiting. The three-dimensional and multimedia options available to sculptors were far more challenging and in complete harmony with her own sensibilities.

A highly respected teacher, Linda taught privately and at the university level. She taught figurative sculpture and mold making with her husband, sculptor David Elder, at California State University Northridge for over 20 years and at the University of California Santa Barbara, where she taught for nine years. She shared her talent with the community, teaching for the Boys and Girls Clubs and for Focus on the Masters, reaching children in our local schools as her way of giving back.

She began teaching privately at her Crystal Hawk Studio in Ventura in 1988 and continued to teach up to two months prior to her passing when her illness impaired her ability.

Those who travel Highway 101 near Seaward are familiar with Linda Elder’s “Xochitl,” a carving of a Chumash woman that stands near the home that she and her husband, David, hand built on ground that had been the site of a Chumash meeting ground.

Describing her work, Linda says: “With each piece of figurative sculpture I create, the piece must go beyond the mere physical appearance and be able to capture both the emotions and inner spirit of the work.  Without this energy the sculpture will not reach out to the viewer, will not share its essence.”

Linda died peacefully at home after a courageous battle with brain cancer.  She is survived by her husband, sculptor David Elder and sons Sean Johnson, Kyle Lachman, Jacob Lachman and Eric Elder and their families.

To learn more about Linda Elder please visit the artist’s website

Linda Elder was extensively documented by Focus on the Masters in 1999. The FOTM Archive contains extensive information about this artist. For more information about FOTM please visit


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