PO Box 539
St. John, VI 00831-0539
(340) 776-6944

Coconut Coast Studios is located on Frank Bay Beach on the beautiful island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The gallery is a short walk or taxi ride from town just past Gallows Point Resort.


Artist Bio

Elaine Estern is the only artist represented by Coconut Coast Studios. Estern lives with her two chocolate labs, Godiva and Truffle, where she paints picturesque vistas from her front porch, on the beach in Frank Bay, St. John.

Born in California and raised in Brazil, she has lived in the Virgin Islands since 1975. With two former professions under her belt as a Montessori School Administrator, Paramedic, and her ongoing career as a mother and grandmother, recreating the beauty of the Caribbean into watercolor is her fourth feat. Travel is one of her hobbies, to collect ideas and new techniques for painting. Her travels have taken her to five continents thus far. The moon being the limit.

Estern studied under David Millard, artist and author, for three years before achieving a name for herself in the art world. She has completed numerous solo shows and has displayed her work in many museums throughout the Caribbean. Estern is the Artist in Residence at Gallows Point Resort and Coconut Coast Villas. In 2017, Elaine’s artwork was exhibited at Cleveland Clinic, which was up in the lobby in Ft. Lauderdale for several months. All art work was donated to the Clinic. A very lovely way to give back to the people who help so many from the Virgin Islands.

Estern was invited to paint the Christmas ornament for the White House official tree in 2007. She was very proud to have represented the Virgin Islands Underwater National Monument. The piece now hangs in the National Archives. She was accepted into the San Diego International Watercolor Contest, and the Maritime Art Exhibit held at Coos Bay, Oregon Museum in 2005. Her paintings are included in the collections of the White House, Westin Resorts, Hyatt Corporation, Arrow, 3Com, Cleveland Clinic, General Electric, and Subaru, to name a few.

Being a watercolorist of the marine environment, her artwork reflects and supports our fragile ocean ecosystem. She is known for her two world creations, showing both above and below water in the same piece. She is always looking for diverse subjects, and learning new techniques, many of these you may notice in the yearly calendar.

In Her Own Words ……… Artist Statement

Painting changed the direction of my life in 1987 when I began to paint watercolors depicting the beauty of the underwater world. The fish seemed to flow off of my brush. Being a diver and snorkeler for the past 45 years, painting each fish in their natural environment seemed to come naturally for me. All underwater paintings are inspired by the surrounding seas, each fish realistic in their habitat. I realize how fragile our sea life is and strive to inspire others to adopt a strong commitment to save the reefs from further destruction.

I have been painting exclusively in watercolors for my entire professional career. Some of the distinct features of my art work are the light patterns across the water and landscape, and the bright clear, colors reflected by the Caribbean sun. I love the transparency, and luminosity that watercolor give to the tropical setting. There is a richness and vibrancy of life, I try to capture of the tropics. I often employ the concept of a two world painting which portrays a scene above and below the water, often with subjects painted outside of the borders. Transparent watercolor seems the most natural media, using only the highest quality of materials to ensure lasting value. Watercolors are as spontaneous as the fish, and the tropical breezes, that I portray.

The ideas for my art works are forever coming. It is something like a diver’s bubbles, once they are released, they flow continuously. My next work of art will be my best, and I am always looking forward to completing my current work, to be able to start the new one. With beauty all around us, even in the most mundane subjects, ideas for new perspectives to show an appreciation for life is my constant goal.

Elaine Estern