After a short visit to Iceland in 2012, I experienced an irresistible magnetic pull, a need to return for a longer time to paint what I saw and felt of the landscape and weather; to be a part of the life there. Five years later, I was able to go back to Iceland twice for a month in 2017 and 2018 as a resident artist at SĺM, (the Association of Icelandic Artists) an organization that supports a cultural exchange of visual artists with all countries of the world.
As a result of that experience of Iceland my painting began to be more of a collaboration. My process became open to the suggestions of the paint’s motion and interaction with the surface. Sometimes exactly what I thought I was painting remained as I had painted it. But quite often, when the paint dried the image had changed. Instead of being the solitary maker, the paint and the surface had their say too. The progression of time became important to the process. Each level of the painting simultaneously revealing and camouflaging–perhaps reflecting the changing weather of Iceland, or the changing stability of the earth underneath, or my deepening shifts of perception.
Elizabeth Nelson was born in New York City, graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and received a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When she moved to a farm in northern Vermont, she became part of the working landscape for forty years starting with ten heifers and ending with three hundred cows twenty-seven years later. She also owned and operated the seasonal art gallery, Tamarack Gallery. After farming, she worked for several years as the Curator at The Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. She has shown paintings in many venues in Vermont and New Hampshire, and in Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. She is represented in galleries and permanent private and public collections in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and California. She has won two Vermont Public Art commissions for a total of eight paintings and her work is part of the Vermont State Art Collection. She was awarded an artist residency in “Of Land and Local”, presented by Burlington City Arts and Shelburne Farms, and two artist residencies in Reykjavik, Iceland at SĺM, the Artist Association of Iceland.