Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth J. Davis was born in Alabama, but spent the vast majority of her life living along the I-74 corridor in Illinois in Danville, Champaign-Urbana and Peoria. She received a BA in English with a concentration in American Literature from the University of Illinois in Chicago and an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Instructional Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After teaching for ten years (Special Education, then high school-level reading and English), Elizabeth began working for Caterpillar Inc. in 1988 and retired from there in May of 2014. She maintains a studio at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria where she teaches workshops in encaustic painting. She is a member of the Central Illinois Artists’ Organization (CIAO) and International Encaustic Artists (IEA).
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Artist Statement

Creating art is a place of refuge, a place to explore, a place to express thoughts and feelings without filter, a place to ponder the past and a place to look toward the future. Much of my art is “in the moment” and a direct reflection of feelings and perceptions. I have now entered the second year of my seventh decade. The time left is less by far than the time gone. Things feel unsettled and out of balance. What I thought I knew and could trust, seem now to be upended. It is hard to count on things. Was I wrong about what I believed the world to be? Has the world always been this way, but I was simply too blind and/or naïve to see it?

The immediacy of working with encaustic make it well-suited to working in the moment – allowing a conversation to take place between painter and painting. It is not unusual to begin a painting with a specific intention only to have that intention overridden as the process of adding wax and heat fusing it proceeds.

Encaustic is an ancient, versatile and compelling medium composed of beeswax and damar resin. Adding pigment creates paint that is vibrant and luminous. Encaustic pieces are built up in heat-fused layers, scraped back, built up again – a process of conceal and reveal. The transparency of the wax allows previous marks and layers to show through.

Creating an encaustic piece is much like creating a life … build layers; create history; recognize what was informs and shapes what is now. Be in the moment and willing to dance with the heat and movement of the wax. Be open to serendipity and willing to take a chance. Journey. Meander. Be Curious. Inquire. Search. Question. Learn. Grow.