Inside the Studio

Elizabeth Lennie’s ‘liquid landscapes’ explore the memories of summer

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

Water has been a prominent and powerful backdrop to the stages of my life and so I paint liquid landscapes that explore the memory myth of summer. And sometimes the Canadian frozen landscape. The paintings are the map of my world, in both abstract and narrative form.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

Treat your work as a practice. Not every painting will be a masterpiece. Maybe 10% of your paintings will be successful in your eyes, so just paint without a result in mind, and don’t judge. Let the work speak. I also adhere to what Chuck Close said: “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” And so I just paint. As much and as often as I can.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

Definitely music. And in no particular order…Nick Drake. Keith Jarrett. John Mayer. Manish Vyas. Zoe Jordan. Bob Dylan. Joni Mitchell. Basia Bulat. Lights. US3. Gordon Lightfoot (I was the saloon girl in his first music video for ‘Baby Step Back’). Dave Bradstreet. Ennio Morricone. Puccini…

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

Picasso’s 3 Bathers. Or anything by Cy Twombly, Thrush Holmes, da Vinci or Matisse. Maybe Basquiat too.

Who are your favorite writers?

Hemingway‘s Islands in the Stream spoke to me when I was 17 through the character of Thomas Hudson, and now I read David Mitchell, Ian McEwen, and Patti Smith.

About the Author

Katherine Henning is Senior Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service here.