Elizabeth Busch: Architect, Artist, Painter, Quilter, Knitter

For Elizabeth, art is a way of life. You see it in her surroundings, in the attention to detail in her gardens, in the collections within her antique home, in the design of her new studio, and of course, in her work. Her colorful art seems to vibrate off the walls of her studio.

A graduate of the Rhode School of Design, Elizabeth started as a painter, worked as an architect for 18 years, ran the Maine Art Commission’s Percent for Art Program over three years, and eventually, found her way back to painting on cloth. She favors textile paint on canvas, and uses the same canvas that she started with at RISD. She now adds stitching to her paintings to give them dimension and because it is her favorite part. “Each stitch has a reason for being there,” says Elizabeth. She loves using a grid to build her ideas upon, and only uses black and white fabric to back her pieces (to hide the stitches).

If you ask her how the work evolves, Elizabeth will tell you that she listens to the voice that is inside herself and then does what it says. Art for her is keeping a balance between solitude, meeting people, and traveling.

For a recent show called “Celebrating Silver,” she played with black fabric and silver paint to create a lively series of paintings that seem to dance and to cast shadows. The exercise gave birth to another element in her artwork. “One idea follows another and sometimes, I feel, that I am following the work.” She believes her ideas come from her life process. In some way, she works every day at her art.

Elizabeth supports herself with her artwork through sales and teaching and has for years, though she lives modestly. “I don’t want any more or any less. I do what I can do.”

Her artist statement captures the feeling of the pieces:

“Dreaming ideas, moving, evolving forward together, gracefully dancing, we celebrate.”


Text by Arlene Morris; photography by Christine Macchi

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