Elizabeth Rhoades, Belle Haven, Virginia

Elizabeth Rhoades


The paintings by Elizabeth Rhoades are characterized by their vibrant color and sensitivity to the natural forms, textures, and light in the landscape. Her paintings are an expression of her spiritual connection to, and love for, the raw beauty of our wondrous planet. She seeks to respond to the landscape, portraying her feelings about a place, more than an exact replication of what she sees. Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Elizabeth currently resides in Belle Haven, VA.

As a very small child, Elizabeth was preoccupied with drawing and painting, earning the title of class artist from as early as Kindergarten. Her mother was a figurative artist, and she encouraged Elizabeth to pursue her artistic passion. Elizabeth Rhoades began her professional painting career in 1973 as a watercolorist. In the summer of 2001, during post-graduate course work in dry media, she was exposed to professional pastels, and from then on became intrigued by the brilliant color, velvety texture, and immediacy of this medium. She then began working exclusively in pastels, painting whenever possible, while working full time as a public school elementary art teacher. In 2014 she retired from the public schools, and has since painted full time. Her passion is painting on location, in the plein-air tradition, and she also works in her studio in inclement weather from her value studies, plein air paintings, and reference photos that she has taken on location. A lifetime of plein air painting has provided her with a foundation to accurately depict the elements of the landscape. There is an emotional quality to her work that brings peace and tranquility to the viewer, while at the same time having a distinct vitality through her use of color. Her touch with the pastels is very soft, building layers of color with delicate sensitivity.

Of the many dozens of awards she has won, Elizabeth’s recent awards include Best in Show at the North Shore Art Association, multiple awards from the Salmagundi Club NYC, Third Place, Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival, the Medal of Honor Plus for a Pastel in the American Artists Professional League, as well as awards in exhibitions of Academic Artists, Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, Connecticut Pastel Society, and many more. Elizabeth has been juried into a multitude of highly competitive exhibits throughout the United States. She is an artist Member of the Salmagundi Club NYC, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, the Connecticut Pastel Society, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and an Elected Artist in the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society, the Rockport Art Association and Museum, the Lyme Art Association, North Shore Arts Association, Academic Artists Association, American Artists Professional League, Audubon Artists, as well as the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. She was a Featured Artist in the Oct/Nov 2016 edition of PleinAir Magazine. Elizabeth has also been juried into many highly competitive Plein Air Competitions, including Plein Air Easton, Plein Air Richmond, Adirondack Plein Air, Paint Annapolis, Harford Plein Air, and Finger Lakes Plein Air.

“I am drawn to the landscape by an inexplicable force beyond my control. Painting is my religious practice, and I feel centered and whole when I am at work. A separation from painting is much like withdrawal from an addiction. I paint to describe my emotion, and each work is cathartic. The landscape has many secrets, and mysteries, which I try to express. Through my paintings I want to take the viewer into my soul, to a place that can be felt. My process is gentle, soft, and tender. I do not attack my surface, but caress it slowly, as one would a great love.”