Interview with ArtLifting:
Artlifting: When did you start making art?
Elizabeth: I came out of the womb making art. I started off collecting all kinds of little found objects and putting them together in tiny sculptures.
ArtLifting: Why do you make art?
Elizabeth: I make art because I feel like it is what I was put on this planet to do. I feel totally at home and at ease when I’m painting. It’s so natural. Now, as a sick person, I often paint to forget, to loose myself in my art, so that I don’t have to remember that I’m still sick, still in my bedroom, still unable to go for a walk or even walk to the dining room, for that matter. I disappear into it. It frees me to simply be.
Artlifting: How does creating art make you feel?
Elizabeth: I often feel like I’m channeling the divine. It feels like watching magic unfold and I’m often surprised at what I see happening before my eyes, through my hands, rarely through my own premeditated intent.
Artlifting: How often do you create art? And where do you create it?
Elizabeth: I try to paint a little every day. Even when I feel terrible, I try to paint. Sometimes that involves my mother passing me things that I need and I can barely lift the tube of paint. Right now, I have a little studio set up in my room, about three steps away from my bed, with a potty chair in between for when I need to pee, but don’t have the energy to walk to the bathroom.
Artlifting: How long does one piece take you?
Elizabeth: It depends. I’m painting pretty small right now, because I simply don’t have the energy for anything bigger. Sometimes, I can start and finish a painting in a few hours. Other times, they are a slower process of starting, putting to the side, pondering, picking back up, painting some more. Those types take much longer.
Artlifting: Why do you want to sell your work?
Elizabeth: I was a professional artist, private art teacher and teacher of classes and workshops when I got sick. I felt privileged to get to do what I loved to make a living. I didn’t make quite enough though, because as my health began to deteriorate, I didn’t have enough money saved to be able to rest in order to save my life. And so, I worked and pushed right up until the time that I couldn’t move myself at all. Now, I’d like to sell my art to pay for medical expenses to get well. Everything that I do is with that purpose in mind: wellness.
Artlifting: What does it mean to you to have your art hanging in other people’s homes?
Elizabeth: Oh, I love it. I hope they love it as much as I love it being there. I hope it inspires them and reminds them of love and beautiful and magical things.
Artlifting: Please tell us your story. Where are you from? Where do you live now? Tell us about your past, present, and what you hope for your future.
Elizabeth: Well, I was born a strong willed little thing and my mom was a great supporter of me, so I’ve almost always been pretty self assured and full of vision. I would say that I was gifted with a beautiful childhood and first 29 years with minor struggles. At 29, I was teaching art workshops and private art lessons and painting full time and had just begun exhibiting my work with several galleries across the country. I was in an HBO documentary with one of my private art students about kids with learning differences and challenges titled, “I Can’t Do This, But I Can Do That”. I had been commissioned to work with Bounty, Hands on Atlanta and the kids at The Coan Middle School to collaborate and lead the kids there to make a giant three dimensional wooden mural on the side of their school, along side their vegetable garden. I had also just been commissioned to do a painting for the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. So, all of my efforts to build my business as an artist and teacher were finally beginning to take root in amazing ways. I also was truly happy, with many wonderful friends, living in a city that I adored.
Then, my world got turned totally upside down. I started to get sick and I felt like I was going to die every day. I tried so hard to hold onto the life that I had built, but once I started being sick, it was like a snow ball rolling faster and faster, getting larger and larger, building momentum. I just couldn’t get enough rest or keep up with what I had committed myself to do with work and life. Every day, I lost a little more functioning, until I could no longer work and had to move home to my parents’ house in Ormond Beach, to try to heal. I thought I’d only be here for a few months, but I have been severely ill for over four years now. One of those years I spent totally paralyzed in bed, unable to move my arms or speak. I was forced to communicate with facial gestures. It was a terrible time. Now, I have made it out of bed, but I am still severely exhausted, sensitive to sound and stress and spend almost one hundred percent of my time in my room. Thank God that I am able to make art right now. It brings a sense of joy and freedom that I don’t currently have in any other area of my life.
I am working daily to regain my health and also to build a strong foundation for when I get well enough to live in the world again. I feel committed to being of service to others once well, through art, teaching, public speaking, book writing and illustrating, and fundraising. I also want to travel and be of service to ill people in person, helping severely ill people to get connected to resources in their community. I am brimming with ideas lately and am very eager to be well so that I can be well, of course, but also so that I can start to live my full purpose.”