Elizabeth Akehurst subjects are always drawn from particular experiences. Thus figurative pieces can originate from events such as meals with friends, watching builders and decorators at work, or going to concerts.
Landscapes are inspired by the Medway area with its combination of mudflats, reed-beds and industrial history; by the Shropshire and Norfolk countryside or from sitting in the gardens of friends.
The paintings arise slowly out of a long period of working. Initially preliminary studies are made, often on the spot, in pen, ink or watercolour. These, 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 and gouache or collage works in their own right.
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 and over as if looking down from above. Paint is applied using a range of brushes or with roller and 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 of paint is used to create planes, drawing forms forwards or backwards while brush work moves and animates the surface.
The paintings are worked over many times, the artist moving from one piece to another as each establishes its own identity and until some element of that original event has been caught. 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.