“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, an American impressionist landscape painter, was born and raised in New Haven, CT and currently resides in Belle Haven, VA. As a very small child, Elizabeth was preoccupied with art, earning the title of class artist from as early as Kindergarten. Her mother was a figurative artist, and she encouraged Elizabeth to pursue her artistic passion. Elizabeth Rhoades began her professional painting career in 1973 as a watercolorist, after taking advanced high school classes from Leo Stoutsenberger at Paier College of Art. While painting, she held a second career as a public school elementary art teacher. In the summer of 2001, during post-graduate course work in dry media, she was exposed to professional pastels, and from then on became intrigued by the brilliant color, velvety texture, and immediacy of this medium. She then began working exclusively in pastels, painting whenever possible, while teaching full time and raising her family. During this time she studied under many of America’s best loved pastel artists. In 2014 she retired from the public schools, and has since painted 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. A lifetime of plein air painting has provided her with a foundation to accurately depict the elements of the landscape. Her keen observation and thorough knowledge of the landscape is evident in her award winning pastels. Her touch with pastels is very gentle, building layers of color with delicate sensitivity. Her process is loving and sensual, almost caressing the surface. 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. Her preference is in painting nature, undisturbed by human intervention.
Elizabeth 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, Degas Pastel Society, 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, and Audubon Artists. 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. 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, Second 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 others. Elizabeth has been juried into a multitude of highly competitive exhibits throughout the United States. Her work is included in corporate and private collections from coast to coast.
“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.”