Elizabeth Aubrey is a Hamilton-based painter. She is interested in how nature conflicts with humans and the seeming overbuilding in already crowded New Jersey. She starts with a true visual then abstracts it to totally change the view. She has quite a signature style. (Aubrey’s husband, Dan, is arts editor at Community News Service.)
What are you communicating with your art?
I’m trying to communicate tranquility and reflection to the viewer. I wish to trigger the viewer’s imagination, not of a specific place or time but something that is from their experiences. I leave some things out and wish for the viewers to add some things of their own. I work in acrylics on canvas. I am not a fast painter. Some paintings may take me up to a year to finish.
Who were you influenced by?
There are so many that have influenced me. On the top of my list are Edward Hopper, for his reflections and lighting, and Henri Matisse for the colors and forms he employed. Two other influences are Milton Avery and Marsden Hartley, whom also have excellent color and solid forms.
What is the inspiration for your current work?
The changing environment inspires me. By that I mean the disappearing of the natural for the new homes and warehouses. I like to show natural elements competing with the constant conflict of the industrial influences. As I drive down the Turnpike each day, all I see is warehouses. Yet no matter what, nature still tries to maintain a balance.
What is your process?
I start with small drawings. They are small and do not allow a lot of room for details. From these sketches I then make color studies to see which colors will work the best. From there I enlarge the study and create the painting. I work in spurts and will complete about five or six paintings at a time. It’s almost like a series but not with the same theme.
What is your favorite local museum?
My two favorites are the Princeton University Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, of which we are members.
Are you a mentor/teacher/ curator?
I’ve curated shows with the Trenton Arts Workshop Association and the Sage Coalition in Trenton. I have also assisted our son Byron who curates exhibitions featuring artists with disabilities. One obstacle is finding venues to show art. We have artists and now need more venues.
How long do you feel it took you to find your own voice?
I think about 20 years; I’m still open to change. I have a consistent technique and subject matter but my approach is different. I find when I am ready; I really attack the work now.
What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?
Time to create is my biggest obstacle. I work full time and commute an hour each way.
What one attribute should all artists have?
Persistence is key for an artist. Trying new ideas and making art for yourself can really help you create the most pure form of art. My art is not traditional or mainstream. You can’t let critics hinder you. I see the artists with disabilities making art that is pure and they are so happy with it.
Do you acquire your art supplies locally or online?
I only buy locally. I get my paint at Jerry’s. I get brushes at Michael’s. I beat up and use my brushes until they are dead.
Do you have a lot of artist friends in the area?
I have a lot of support from other artists in the area. It’s not easy for the visual arts. The artists, sculptors and theater groups need businesses to value their work. The arts need business and the businesses need art. In Trenton, there are a strong group of young artists who realize you don’t need a museum to show art. In Hamilton, the arts are still in their infancy.
What is your dream project?
I would love to travel and paint. I wouldn’t have to go far. The tri-state area would be a good start, then maybe to the British Isles.
What is on the horizon?
I will be in a show of six artists curated by Mel Leipzig in 2020.
For more information on Elizabeth Aubrey, go online to ejaubrey.com.