Portrait by NYC Portrait Photographer Angela Cappetta.
Contemporary Artist Interview Series: Painter Elizabeth Kresch
Contemporary Artist Interview Series: Elizabeth Kresch. Elizabeth Kresch is a Brooklyn born, American artist. She paints experiences from her life and travels. In addition, Elizabeth believes that the purpose of art is to hold a mirror up for the viewer to interpret. Her deepest desire is to illuminate the beauty in non-moments. For her, life is lush.
Your subject matter seems varied by theme. Eg; gritty city scenes, seascapes, portraits etc. What is this all about?
So, it is just about exactly that. In the first place, I always end up with a narrative. My paintings over the years have become a kind of diary. From time to time. when I’ve been uninspired, colleagues say to just keep painting. So to me, this means paint what’s in front of you. Push through. Whenever I am non-plussed I’ll reach for a scene from a movie or a book. Where there’s an interesting narrative there’s usually a story to tell. Portraits come naturally to me. These are my go-to. However, without a larger world view one can really get lost. So I challenge myself with cityscapes, landscapes, or wherever I am. And my travels. I enjoy a sense of place.
For example, just look at this painting.
And grit. I grew up in Brooklyn.
Grit makes sense to me. Grounding even. I keep it close. As for my more pastoral work, these I paint mostly from memory. Places where the actual fiber of the community is not so at ease and yet there is a moment I latch onto. I’ve painted the water horizon in Sumatra, Mexico, France. And what’s different? The light. But I let the viewer decide. But, more than anything I keep documenting. I try not to let anything that impacts my life get by without getting it on canvas. I’m interested in honesty.
Tell us a little about your technique.
Classic use of oil paint and turpentine. I don’t have a precise formula, I do what I need to to get what I want on a canvas. So, I always draw first. Then I mix colors, sometimes right on the canvas. And I occasionally use a palette knife. Additionally, I scrub away with solvent now and then. I like a defined line and will often use heavy darks and lights.
If oil painting isn’t difficult it isn’t any fun
Is it accurate to state that you seem to be after intimate moments?
That’s what often lands on the canvas. As a result, it’s alchemy between the impetus to paint and the process of observing. It should be fun. I enjoy the challenge of going in blind and letting the paint lead me, instead of visa versa. Sometimes. you have to go deep to get there. But it tends to start with some shade of scrappy. The most successful [paintings] are usually about old souls and a moment in a relationship. Some hybrid of mystery and curiosity. I can’t repeat that moment and certainly can’t repeat a painting. Though the subject may still be there, whatever causes and conditions came together to get it on the canvas are ephemeral.
Where did you do your artistic training?
I went to Sarah Lawrence College and The New York Studio School.
What else do you want us to know?
I have a most amazing daughter. Also, I adore biking, fairy lights and my dog. Furthermore, I’m grateful for all circumstances that have allowed me to stay on, or led me back to, this path.
To buy or commission work, you can find Elizabeth here:
See portfolio here of an artist who, likewise, shares this view. NYC wedding photographer.