About the Artist
Elizabeth Akehurst graduated with a first class degree in mathematics from the University of Kent in 1972 and continued postgraduate studies at Cambridge and Newcastle. However, a strong interest in painters and paintings has always formed an integral part of Elizabeth’s life.
Following a short career in full-time teaching and starting a family, she began to explore painting. Elizabeth then exhibited regularly in the early 1990s. She taught art for a number of years and acted as Medway Co-ordinator for South East Open Studios before setting aside these commitments to concentrate on painting.
Her art always draws on particular experiences, such as meals with friends, watching builders and decorators at work or going to concerts.
Landscapes are inspired by the Medway area which combines mudflats, reed-beds and industry. Elizabeth also paints the Shropshire and Norfolk countryside or from sitting in the gardens of friends.
The paintings arise slowly out of a long period of work. Initially rapid, preliminary studies are made in pen, ink or watercolour. The sketches, which are sometimes supplemented by photographs, are used to produce a large number of small pieces exploring compositional forms, colour and tone. Some of these may develop into larger watercolour, gouache or collage works.
The subject begins to become “known” and work is begun on a series of oil paintings, maybe five or more at a time.
Sometimes the subject is considered from a viewpoint first taken within the very subject itself, then drawn up from a birds-eye view perspective. Paint is applied using a range of brushes, rollers or even a palette knife. Additional line is added, a vital compositional element in the work, with charcoal, oil pastel or the end of the brush. Texture and depth is created in planes; drawing the paint forwards or backwards animates the surface.
The paintings are worked over many times as the artist moves from one piece to another, experimenting with different forms until some element of that original event has been captured. By this time, the subject has acquired a life of its own.
Elizabeth’s work can be found in collections all over the world including New York, Amsterdam and Paris. She has also exhibited in solo shows across the UK.