“For me, painting the landscape is a spiritual experience. In the landscape I feel a connection to the powers and beauty of the natural world. It is an emotional thing, to be so moved by the shimmer of a reflection, the grace of a cloud, or the gesture of old growth. The landscape is ageless, ancient, but always brand new. It is hard and soft, tranquil and fierce, dark and yet filled with light. I am driven to express my inspiration to the highest level of perfection, so others can see my world through my eyes and heart. In the landscape I am close to what I love, and it returns that love to me. It is a romance that is everlasting.”
Elizabeth Rhoades is an award winning and nationally renowned artist whose pastel paintings are characterized by their vibrant color and sensitivity to the natural forms and light in the landscape. Her work depicts a thorough knowledge of the atmospheric and sensual qualities of the earth. Her paintings are an expression of her connection to, and love for, the raw beauty of our wondrous planet. Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Elizabeth currently resides in Stafford Springs, CT. She holds art degrees from SCSU, and Wesleyan University, and has obtained an advanced degree of sixth level in art education. As a very small child, Elizabeth was preoccupied with drawing and painting, earning the title of class artist throughout her childhood and teens. Her mother was an artist, and she encouraged Elizabeth to pursue her passion. Elizabeth Rhoades began her professional painting career in 1973 as a watercolorist. In the summer of 2001, during post-graduate course work in dry media, she became intrigued by the brilliant color, velvety texture, and immediacy of pastels. From then on, she devoted herself to the pastel medium, painting whenever possible, while working full time as a public school elementary art teacher. In 2014 she retired from the public schools, and since has devoted all of her energy to painting full time. Her passion is painting on location, in the plein-air tradition, and she also works in her studio in inclement weather from her value studies, plein air paintings, and reference photos that she has taken on location. Her prior mastery of watercolor painting has provided her with an intuitive knowledge of color and value, allowing her to render her motif in pastels with an impressionistic touch while quite representational. There is an emotional quality to her work that brings peace and tranquility to the viewer, while at the same time having a distinct vitality through her use of color. Paintings of unblemished countryside and farmland, formal gardens, and reflections on water are among her favorite subjects. Her portrayal of momentary passages of sunlight and shadow allow the viewer to experience the simple beauty of common places that would otherwise be easily overlooked.
Of the many dozens of awards she has won, Elizabeth’s recent awards include Best in Show at the North Shore Art Association, multiple awards from the Salmagundi Club NYC, Third Place, Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival, the Medal of Honor Plus for a Pastel in the American Artists Professional League, as well as awards in exhibitions of Academic Artists, Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, Connecticut Pastel Society, and many more. Elizabeth has been juried into a multitude of highly competitive exhibits throughout the United States. She is an artist Member of the Salmagundi Club NYC, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, the Connecticut Pastel Society, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and an Elected Artist in the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, the Rockport Art Association and Museum, the Lyme Art Association, North Shore Arts Association, Academic Artists Association, American Artists Professional League, Audubon Artists, as well as the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. She was a Featured Artist in the Oct/Nov 2016 edition of PleinAir Magazine. Elizabeth has also been juried into many highly competitive Plein Air Competitions, including Plein Air Easton, Plein Air Richmond, Adirondack Plein Air, Paint Annapolis, Harford Plein Air, and Finger Lakes Plein Air. Her individually commissioned pieces hang in private collections from Alaska to Maine, as well as in corporate collections. In addition to painting, Elizabeth had been an elementary art educator for thirty-five years. She taught art in the towns of Avon, Durham, Coventry, and Enfield, CT. Through her professional education career, she has shared her skills and knowledge of art to generations of students, both very young and old.
“In my work, I am taking you to a special place. In this place you feel that you are safe, undisturbed, that the world around you is filled with peace, and you have solitude. There is a sense of timelessness, and you can reflect and contemplate.”