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article imageFeatured Artist: Elizabeth Elequin's bold expression of nature Special

By Nikki Weingartner     Apr 8, 2009 in Entertainment
Her style has been attributed to Georgia O’Keefe, especially in the beginning days when Elizabeth was still identifying herself and her individuality. But now, she “is” her own style or a combination of many styles. Featuring Elizabeth Elequin.
From around every corner of the world, true talent often finds a voice as it grows and develops inside its host, waiting for the blossoms of spring. With any one of the visual arts, the gift of painting is no different as the individual behind the canvas begins to identify with every stroke of the brush. For Elizabeth Elequin, the travels through the garden have been challenging at times, but the passion continues to grow and the flowers are now bigger and more vibrant than ever.
As she steps away from the routines of family life and a 30-hour a week job and slides into her “oasis in the middle” of her home,” Elizabeth finds herself nestled in a botanical fantasy world of vibrantly coloured flora, vines, trees, fruits and even beautiful insects making their way through nature’s haven. But this isn’t an indoor tropical garden. It’s the canvas located in her studio and one she continues to fine-tune, viewing herself as an “original” instead of attempting to identify with countless other artists. This is where she can be found daily, 30 or more hours a week, sometimes into the early hours of the morning doing what she loves.
A love that has transformed over time from painting when she had the time to what she proudly calls the purpose of her existence, scheduling every other task in between.
In an interview with Elizabeth, she told of her love for the visual arts even as a young child, drawing birds and as she described, "pictures of dark black swirling whirlpools” that would send her running in fear of her own works. By the age of ten, she had finished her first painting which still hangs in her studio today, a small oil painting of a tree. But like any normal child, she moved on, went to college, got married and started a family, having two beautiful boys that continue to take priority over anything else.
During that time, the artistic drive itself took on varying forms and at different rates of speed. However, her adult life and her marriage somehow served as the impetus for a return to what she describes as a God-given talent and her true artistic ways. The nomadic lifestyle as a military wife presented challenges unique to an artist, but in a rather positive way, Elizabeth described how it enabled her to exhibit her works in a large number of places. One of the key barriers she experienced as a wife and an artist was as she said during the interview:
“Every time I would make contacts and start to create a name for myself in the art community, it was time to move and start all over in a new city.”
Looking into the encapsulating pieces, I have often wondered what inspired Elizabeth to paint in such a bold and yet simplistic manner, so I asked her. Aside from the talent that she attributes entirely to God, Elizabeth lays her artistic inspirational claims on San Antonio, Texas and the Hispanic arts, with the bold and vibrant colour pattern and heritage that is also what she proudly calls her own. But it’s the fragile and simplistic side of the botanicals and the significant time put into their creation, only to see what she calls a “short life span” that inspire the subject matter most.
Lotus
Lotus
Elizabeth Elequin
Forever capturing the true beauty of life and its balance, both feminine and masculine, on canvas to live on in a kaleidoscope of imagery and vibrancy.
Each work of art is set into motion after a fundamental sketch is laid out onto a 48” x 36” or larger canvas. She didn’t hesitate in stating that this essential part of the process is indeed her least favourite. And yet, it’s the time spent working behind the canvas that keeps her centered and balanced.
She calls herself “very critical” of her works, describing how the original composition often changes as the elements on the canvas begin to interact with one another, sometimes requiring an addition or alteration. Despite the outside belief that a painter’s finished product should somehow be their very best work, Elizabeth embraces both the perfection her works as well as the things that may seem “not so good,” equating it all to a professional athlete’s successes and failures.
“No matter how much a professional athlete practices, they are not guaranteed to “win the game” every time. The same applies to visual artists”
With regards to choice of materials, she uses acrylics in all of her pieces, as she loves the speed of drying time. However, when blending hues, she does express the need for being quick as this drying time can pose quite a challenge. And its not all canvas, as Elizabeth describes her first detour from the canvas to painting longhorn skulls in the same emotional exuberance and with the same passion shown towards the more traditional pieces. She was very keen on differentiating between the “touristy” skulls seen in gift shops describing her form of art: “I’m not talking about hastily painting a picture of a bison or an Indian on the front and hanging a few feathers on the horns. It’s much more than that.”
Clayton
Clayton
Elizabeth Elequin
She also paints furniture and musical instruments, which for many clients serves as a tribute to the history of a piece that holds sentimental value. A client from out of state asked her to design a tattoo from only measurements and a personal inspiration for Middle Eastern Mehndi style tattoos. The end result was a success. Her portfolio is diverse and humble, simplistic and natural.
Terra Nova
Terra Nova
Elizabeth Elequin
So what happens to all of these pieces once she completes them?
Like most artists who work for the love of the art, Elizabeth embraces every opportunity to have her pieces displayed. Her most recent exhibits were local venues in San Antonio but she has also shown her works nationwide from New York to Florida and even branching out globally as far as Seoul, South Korea. She is currently planning for several upcoming exhibits, the most rapidly approaching at the South Texas Oncology & Hematology & Start Center this spring.
First
From the personal collection
Elizabeth Elequin
Those works to which she finds an emotional connection make their way into her “personal collection.” Whether it’s that first painting of the tree hanging in her studio today, or other pieces of significance that helped frame the artist that she has become, this collection serves many things such as a touchstone to certain moments in her life. Some are there because of their symbolism and others, because of the impact they have made. One piece she had begun to work on spoke to her through its colours and composition, striking a symbolic connection to her relationship with her youngest son. The piece remains in her “personal collection” today and will become part of his heritage when he gets older.
Sayre
From the personal collection
Elizabeth Elequin
In 2007, Elizabeth was diagnosed with a brain tumor. During that time, she had been working on a piece, which is now one of her most symbolic works and holds the strongest of spiritual attachments. Following the emotional event, Elizabeth continued to work on this piece throughout the research process, second opinions and finally, a decision to undergo brain surgery. The diptych, or two piece panel, was completed in a manner of perfection just two days prior to surgery, and in Elizabeth’s words:
“I find unique about the pieces is that in a time in my life when things were not especially ideal, these pieces practically painted themselves.”
For this one time, she didn’t change a thing, viewing the overall works as occurring as it was meant to be. Today, the paintings, named “Elisheva,” which is Hebrew for “My God is my sustenance” hang in her bedroom where they served a multi-purpose meaning during an unclear crossroads in her life. Captured in the most perfect of her works were her mind, body and spirit, forever a reminder of her legacy.
Although she describes in our conversation the fundamentals of working behind the canvas, one of the most important facets of the interview with Elizabeth was the impact that painting has on her as a person. As she described how her work as an artist distinguishes her, it is almost ironic knowing Elizabeth personally, to find validity in this statement.
Elisheva 1
From the personal collection
Elizabeth Elequin
An introvert by nature, she thrives during her quiet time and reserved demeanor. Elegant and graceful are words that those who know her or meet her might choose when describing the person. Dressing in neutrals or natural fiber, and typically classic in fashion, she is exactly the opposite of what her art personifies, aside from the nature aspect. When asked about this, she recognizes the quantum leap between herself and her art but calls it a balance of her “outward reserve.”
Elisheva 2
From the personal collection
Elizabeth Elequin
“My convictions and beliefs are very strong but I am not one to voice them loudly. My work however, is exhilarating, unique and intense. One piece can take over a room with its size, color and statement.”
She further describes the emotional connection to each piece, sharing that a lack of emotion would simply render a completed piece just “paint on a canvas.”
I asked her if the economy has created any difficulties for her as an artist and she eloquently stated that its been difficult for all artists but in an ever-positive fashion, turns that bit of sullen reality into hope, explaining how it allows her the time to do what she loves most of all in preparation for the day when the economy picks up. The ever glowing sparkle of hope.
Some day, when the kids are grown, she hopes to be able to have her own studio away from home and possibly take up the brush full-time. “Its not all about money and fame,” she said but rather, its about bringing beauty to others and their own individual interpretation or reaction, leaving her mark on the world.
In a famous quote by renowned artist and painter of the Sistine Chapel, Michaelangelo, Elizabeth Elequin reminds many that:
“My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth's loveliness”
Further adding that many of the great masters did not become famous until after their deaths.
For more information regarding Elizabeth Elequin’s works, you can visit her online studio at www.elizabethelequin.com
All pricing inquiries on existing pieces or requests for painting on commission can be directly sent to her using the contact information available on her website.
Artist's Bio:
Ornate and extraordinary, Elizabeth Elequin's paintings are composed of organic forms that unfold across the canvas in a kaleidoscope of color. On a truly grand scale, Elequin creates splendid blossoms and fruits interwoven and layered into the patterns of earth's design. As in many native Hispanic arts, Elequin's paintings portray the glory of nature in abstracted design. In buoyant and elaborate patterns, her images unite the robust colors of Hispanic culture with the symmetries and primitive style of the ancient arts. The vital force in Elequin's art is indeed color. The hues are what speak the loudest and are absolutely brilliant and plentiful.
An artist of Irish, Filipino and Mexican descent, Elizabeth Elequin has exhibited her work in New York, Florida, Texas, Arizona and Seoul, South Korea. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.
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