I’m so pleased to share Liz’s artistic journey with you.
“I have loved painting all my life. Academic subjects were not for me, but I could have spent all my time in the art studio at school.
In the back of my mind I always thought that I would like to have gone to Art School, but nobody suggested it to me. In my day it was not considered an appropriate place for a ‘nice’ girl to go – full of beatniks! Instead, I went into a safe job and became a primary school teacher, but I specialised in art which allowed me to help with the art in schools.
Early in my career I worked abroad in Africa, and when I returned to the UK, I was lucky enough to get a job teaching art to 7-13 year olds. I loved it and taught there for 24 years.
I always wanted to paint in watercolours, so I joined a watercolour class and after two years I outgrew the class and left. During this time, I was extremely fortunate to be accepted into a group of artists in Leicestershire and with their support and guidance, my art-work went from strength to strength. It was from here that I began to exhibit with the group and then had my first solo exhibition.
After my successful exhibition, I was asked to teach watercolour painting to a group of adults. I had never taught adults, so it was with fear and trepidation that I began, loved it and have been teaching adults ever since. I always teach through demonstration, it is truly the only way.
Although I painted landscapes, flowers were my real passion, and still are. I find that a kind of glow starts inside me when I see flowers that I want to paint. My flowers to start with were quite stiff, but slowly they became looser and looser once I discovered that I did not need to use a pencil, but go straight in with paint. I draw inspiration from the flowers in my garden and from the wild flowers growing on the Italian countryside, especially the poppies in May.
I am fortunate enough to live just outside the ancient walls of Cortona, a small Tuscan town in Italy where I have been living for about 13 years. I love going out into the countryside and painting the wonderful Tuscan landscape, flowers and the Tuscan towns. I have also had the pleasure of exhibiting my work in and around Cortona.
Recently, after a couple of painting holidays with renowned artist, Alvaro Castagnet, I have now confidently branched out into buildings and people, and I am now finding that as exciting as flowers.
I think that one of the joys of painting is that every day is different. I have good days and bad days. The good days drive you on and the bad days drive you on! Painting is a constant challenge.
Many years ago I was told by a fellow artist, “Only paint for yourself, and no one else.” This is the best advice I was ever given. I always pass this on to my students. If you are trying to paint for an audience, trying to sell to a particular market, redoing paintings again and again because they sell well, you WILL NEVER move on and develop your own style, experiment or improve your work.”