Liz Winchester-Larson

Portrait of Liz Winchester-Larson

Inspiration surrounds me, the tea kettle on my stove, plants on my window sill, and the view from my window; all saying: “Draw me, no me, draw me first!” 

Years ago, at Old Sturbridge Village, I saw an artist giving a demonstration on the “Art of Theorem Painting.” Round juicy plums came out of her brush like magic! Now, I’m in love with “stuff” always looking for that just right object. My painting becomes more than fruit, object, and backdrop. It is an environment of form, color, and light. My preferred medium is colored pencil, layers, and layers of colored pencil.

Sitting directly in front of my still-life set-up, I work slowly, pushing the colored pencil pigment into paper. Through repetition what is linear becomes solid form, an optical illusion. Patience is a virtue in the colored pencil medium. The only pencils I use have met the lightfast standards of the Colored Pencil Society of America according to the Blue Wool Scale and ASTM 6901. More information is on their web-site, My preferred paper is Stonehenge, an acid free 100% cotton rag print-making and drawing paper that accepts many layers.

In addition to my work in colored pencil, I am a print-maker, doing linoleum blocks and monotypes using water-base block printing inks on Japanese papers made with kozo and mulberry plant fibers. My designs, primarily still-life subjects, are rich and intricate in detail. I never outgrew my finger paints and crayons.

An artist and print-maker with more than fifty years of experience, Liz has a tiny studio in Marlborough, NH filled with objects, plants and a view of gardens and trees to inspire her drawings. She has exhibited her award winning artworks throughout the New England area, and enjoys sharing her techniques at exhibitions and demonstrations. Liz is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and their District Chapter 112, the Monadnock Area Artists Association, the Nashua Area Artists Association, and the Saxtons River Art Guild.

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Artwork by Liz Winchester Larson

Q&A with Liz Winchester-Larson

How would you describe your background?

Growing up in the small towns of New Ipswich and Hollis in New Hampshire, my family was fortunate to go on many day trips to historic sites, museums of all kinds, and concerts. Our parents encouraged our interests, my sister, brother, and I all went on to be artists.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Years ago, on one of our family trips to Old Sturbridge Village, I saw an artist, dressed as one of the costumed interpreters, giving a talk and demonstration on “The Art of Theorem Painting”. Round juicy plums came out her brush like magic! I was fascinated by her brushes and colors she used, and too shy to ask questions.

What would surprise people to learn about you?

Maybe not really surprising, but interesting, my great, great, grandfather was a sea captain in the 1890’s, sailing the former clipper ship Thermopylae from Vancouver, British Columbia, to South East Asia for the rice and timber carrying trade. On one occasion, she crossed the Pacific in 29 days, a world record at that time.

How would you describe your art to someone who has never seen it?

My artwork images are primarily still-life arrangements, a collection of objects, fruit/vegetables, and flowers, selected by inspiration or the interesting pear at the grocery store. My preferred media is colored pencil, I was introduced to this media years ago at Pratt Institute for precise architectural rendering in the Interior and Environmental Design program.

What achievements in the area of art are you proudest of?

I have been exhibiting my art for many years, since about 1969, in solo and group shows throughout the New England area, in a variety of venues, from university galleries, libraries, youth museums, and outdoor shows like Art in the Park. Along the way, I have a collection of award ribbons of every color.

How would you describe your art process?

Most of the time, I am working directly from a still-life set up in my studio. I don’t usually do preliminary studies, just start working out the design directly. Starting with the most perishable objects first, I work all around all the parts, building up many layers of color. Sometimes, I have a few pieces going at once, and rotate working time around each one.

What is your usual studio/working day like?

When my daughter was in school and I was working an office job full-time, I developed a discipline of getting up early and working on my art first in the morning. Now, I can have breakfast first, and then get to my artworks for an uninterrupted stretch of time, as long as I want. In the afternoon, I spend time working on various art projects, I am active in two area art associations, the Monadnock Area Artists Association and Saxtons River Art Guild, and also coordinate exhibitions to show artworks with my sister and daughter.

What is the most delightful part of your life outside of work?

A bus man’s holiday, going out with family and friends to visit museums, historic sites, and other art shows throughout the New England area.