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 local arts scene working at Walter Hopps Washington Gallery of Modern Art. She started painting in 1970 and studied later at the Corcoran School of Art. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally in juried and invitational shows. A book about Elena’s life, Embracing America: a Cuban Exile Comes of Age, by Margaret Paris, was published by the University Presses of Florida in 2002. Elena studied botanical illustration at the Brookside Gardens School of Botanical Art & Illustration, and was awarded a Certificate in 2015. She lives in Front Royal with her husband, Herb Borkland, and likes to garden and hike, looking for interesting plants to illustrate.