Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Feature: Elizabeth Floyd

"Still Life with Sunflowers and Apples" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd

Today I have a wonderful feature, Elizabeth Floyd.  I found Elizabeth's work through blogging a few years ago.  I have followed her since I first saw her beautiful still life paintings.  Since that time she has had a beautiful little girl and it has been fun to see how that journey has had an impact on her art.  I'm sharing her artist's statement below:

As an artist, I am inspired to share my fascination with others, developing scenes that evoke emotion, spur a remembrance, and find a way to communicate an observed detail.  I view the process of painting as an opportunity to display layers of contemplation; each layer representing design fundamentals that, when combined, become a cohesive message.

When composing and painting a work of art, I search for two aspects important to me.  The first is to determine the sense of meaning conveyed in the individual objects of a scene.  The second is to explore how the composition can harmoniously communicate a combined, deeper sense of meaning when the whole is composed together.  It is this process of investigation and discovery that draws me in and inspires me to paint.

To see more of her work visit her blog and website. 

"Summer's Bounty" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
 How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
It has been a circuitous route in becoming an artist.  For years it was a very deep and hidden secret I nurtured, not sharing it with anyone because I grew up in a family that acknowledged my artistic bent, but did not encourage it. They wanted me to pursue a more practical career… so I have a business degree, that I have never used directly, and I went on to get a Master’s in Architecture degree as well.  This was the closest thing to a fine arts degree I was brave enough to go after when I was in my early twenties.

After grad school, I moved from Texas to DC, to start anew in a place where I knew no one.  I wanted to see what would happen.  Within a year of moving to DC, I met my now husband, and within a year and a half we had married, but it took almost two more years before I shared with him that deep in my heart I really wanted to be an artist, not the architect I was.

The loving and supportive man that he is, he asked how this career shift might be accomplished.  I had just turned 30, and for the first time in my life I had shared this most precious dream, and the most wonderful thing was that it was encouraged!  So I began taking classes at the local art league, mostly figurative classes because I liked how rigorous they were, constantly asking more from me.

Over the next five years, I took classes, started my blog, and painted during every free moment I had.  We also began to cut back on luxuries and saving up, so we would be able to adapt to the day when I left architecture.  Then in just under five years from the time I shared my secret, I made the transition to art, and I have never looked back.

Where were you born?
I was born in Texas, but now call Northern Virginia home
"Autumn Reflections" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I live where I want to live, Northern Virginia

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
I have to say whatever I am painting at the moment is my favorite thing to paint, however I do favor still life and landscapes.  I am inspired to capture the sense of beauty found in my subject.  My goal is to share this interpretation of beauty found in the scenes and objects that populate my life, hopefully speaking to others and encouraging them stop and pause, and maybe appreciate a detail that would normally be overlooked.

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 
I like to paint in a thoughtful, deliberate way.  I work in a very direct wet into wet manner, however I also believe that the beauty of working in oil paints is to take advantage of the medium and to paint in lots of layers. 

Some of my favorite paintings will be worked on over a series of painting sessions, sometimes for two weeks, and sometimes with months between sessions, thus allowing the painting to develop.  Some paintings just need that time to breath.  With each new layer of paint, a quality of depth is achieved, making for a more rich viewing experience. 
"Still Life with Crabapples, Hydrangea and Canning Jar" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
I do not have any go-to colors or paints, I use a large palette of colors, 2-3 whites, and then typically I have 30-35 colors squeezed out on the palette for every painting session.  Because I try to paint every day, paint is hardly ever wasted.

Each color has its use, I often select a paint for a particular passage based on what I need at the specific moment, is a transparent or opaque paint required, does it need to be warm or cool in color temperature.  So I find it to be very important to understand all the characteristics of the paint on my palette, as it helps inform my decisions.
"Lemon and Silver Cup" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have so many favorites, all for different reasons, but at this moment I have to say Franz Hals.  I just love his control, his sensitivity to his sitters, and the amazing bravado brush handling.  It looks so controlled however if you step close to his work, you see how impressionistic his technique was. 

What have been some of your crowning achievements?
It may not be directly related to art, but I have to say having my first child last year is something I am most proud of.  She has made me a better person, and as a result I think my work has evolved also.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Hmmm, there are a lot of things I want to accomplish in life… They all seem to revolve around art and family…  1) I want to make sure I always grow as an artist, never stop exploring and learning how to better express myself.  2) And then there is the desire to better balance the demands of caring for my family while also wanting to be in the studio painting.  3) Along with my desire to teach my daughter to be an engaged little person, recently I have had a strong urge to start teaching workshops.  So this is my big dream for 2013, I want to teach some still-life painting workshops.  4)  And if the local workshops go well, I would love to then graduate to teaching workshops in beautiful and exotic places like in the Bahamas, Mexico, or Belize… somewhere warm, tropical, and full of color.  How fun would it be to paint all the tropical flowers and fruit found in one of these locations!  …5)  Oh, I cannot really think of another thing, I just want to keep things together and make the most of the daily moments that make life so special.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Be true to yourself, ALWAYS!

And while always listening to yourself, be willing to study and emulate great artists.  Strive to copy a masterpiece or the techniques of an admired instructor, because you will learn tons by trying to paint like another, you will be learning the craft of art making by deductive reasoning which asks so much more of you.  By learning all you can and becoming so proficient with the medium you predominately work with that it becomes second nature, you will be free to express yourself with ease.   Enabling you to follow your own path with the skills picked up along the way.
"Petunias II" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Slow down and really look at what is in front of you.  Slow down and work in small areas if that is what it takes for you to understand the details.  As you get better at seeing, you will be able to absorb larger areas at a time.  Slow down and enjoy the process, don’t think of a painting as a race, something that needs to be completed in an hour, a day, or even a week, allow the experience to be your guide.
"Posy of Flowers" original oil painting by Elizabeth Floyd
Chocolate or vanilla?  Vanilla

Your dream vacation spot?  A warm sunny beach with crystal clear and turquoise water

Book or movie?  Book

Favorite author?  Anything by Jane Austin

Favorite movie?  We are entering the Christmas season, and I love to watch “Nightmare before Christmas” this time of year

Romance or comedy?  I like rom-coms, hence why Jane Austin is my favorite author…

Favorite dessert?  Chocolate chip cookies with homemade vanilla ice cream

Night owl or morning person?  Night owl turned into a morning person


  1. Beautiful work! Thank you for introducing her through your blog, Carrie!

  2. "Autumn reflections" is so beautifully painted! Another wonderful interview!!

  3. Wow Carrie! Thank you for featuring my work :) I am honored and privileged to one of the artists on your blog.

    Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend!


  4. Her work reminds me of your own, Carrie. Both are just simply breathtaking to me.