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Posted on Aug 6, 2019

Quincy mother’s artwork returns to library gallery

About eight years ago, while watching a painting program every day on Public Broadcasting Service with a woman she was caring for, Quincy resident Ella Westra was urged to do something she hadn’t done in years: paint.
Westra had taken a hiatus from painting but kept busy taking care of her children. Watching the show every day at 1 p.m., the mother of eight realized she wanted to get back into it.
“Pretty soon I thought, ‘yep, gotta paint again,’” she said.
Westra began painting again, only using oil paints; never using another medium. She paints things from her yard, or pictures of landscapes.
“It’s just whatever I see that hits my fancy,” said Westra. “I paint from the picture because it takes me a long time. I’m not a fast painter. I’m not a Bob Ross.”

Ella Westra stands next to her favorite piece from the collection, “Broken Pots.” The collection includes about 10 pieces in the library gallery, plus an additional 10 Westra has at home.
Photo by Miles King/Post-Register

Westra’s work is now on display in the Quincy Public Library, where it will stay until August. Westra had her work showcased in the library gallery once before, about five years ago. She has also shown her work at the Quincy Farmers Market and even won third place in an art contest in Coulee City.
“I just enjoy doing it, it’s my creativity I guess,” said Westra.
The library coordinator requested Westra select 10-12 pieces for the galley. According to Westra, she has at least 10 more at home not on display. “These are the ones I like best,” she added.
Westra was raised in Everett, Washington, until the age of 12, when her family moved over to Quincy. She was born in the Netherlands, and her family immigrated to Everett when she was just a little girl. After staying in Quincy for just a little while, the family relocated to Wenatchee, where Westra eventually graduated from Wenatchee High School.
Although living in Wenatchee, Westra and her parents still regularly attended church in Quincy. Westra would meet her husband at that very church and settle in Quincy after he returned from military service.
Westra and her husband have had a variety of experiences during their marriage. They have farmed, owned a gas station, laundromat, café and even a Subway restaurant for three years. They also spent four years in southern Mexico working at a children’s home and took three of their own children with them.
“Our three youngest children went with us, so they’re bilingual,” Westra said.
Westra and her husband have eight children together, seven of which still live and work in the area at companies such as Microsoft, Garrison Homes and Harvest Valley Pest Control. The youngest lives in Maple Valley, according to Westra.
“I think that’s my call to fame is my kids,” Westra said.

By Miles King,