Elena was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the U.S. in 1961 as a result of Castro's revolution, living in New Mexico with a foster family until her own family was able to leave. A resident of the Washington area since then, she studied architecture at Catholic University, gaining her first exposure to the arts working at Walter Hopps' Washington Gallery of Modern Art. She started painting in 1970 and studied at the Corcoran School of Art. Elena studied botanical art at Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration and earned a Certificate in 2015.
Whether I’m working on a landscape or a botanical subject my paintings are meditations on the marvelous designs found in nature, its infinite beauty, variety and richness. Finding the best viewpoint to convey the unique quality of a place or a particular plant, I look for images that have what the Japanese call yugen, a word that means depth and mystery.