Friday, August 17, 2012

Paint Party Friday: Week 23, Year 2 Check In Featured Artist: Liz Powley

image courtesy of Liz Powley

Welcome to Week 23 of Paint Party Friday (Year 2) and to the next edition of our Featured Artist Series! (Would you like to be a PPF Featured Artist? Please click here for details!) This week's featured artist has a wonderfully adventurous spirit when it comes to painting and inspires us with her experimentation and talents weekly. Please welcome Liz Powley from Gumnut Inspirations!

Please tell us a bit about your personal history with painting. (When did you start painting? How has your painting evolved since you first started?) I discovered I could draw when I was 7 years old. However, despite studying art all through school and then graphic design in college, I never really started to explore painting until I was 37, a couple of years ago. I’d made a few attempts over the years at various points, some watercolour in high school, a single oil painting at 19 (a portrait) and a small rash of abstracts in 2001, but other than that I’ve never painted before. Certainly not to the extent I am attempting now.

My most successful works prior to 2010 were in watercolour pencil, in an exacting, detailed method that took forever and sometimes had me hating the work long before it was finished (if it was lucky enough to be finished).

So really, I’m a painting newbie.

'Crimson Swirls' - close up (acrylics & self leveling gel) courtesy of Liz Powley
(To learn Liz's technique you can watch her video here.)

What are your favorite techniques, media, and tools to use in creating your paintings? I am in love with my acrylics at the moment. After lots of reading to educate myself on their physical properties, how they can and can’t be used, and scraping together the money to fully equip my studio with both thick and thin acrylics, I can now say that this is a paint that works well with my working style. I can do anything with it! It is such a flexible and forgiving medium. And the additives you can use to create specific textures and finishes…my mind is just crazy inspired by the possibilities.

My techniques range from traditional to outright experimental. At the moment I’m attempting my first portrait in acrylics, detailed, lots of glazing and taking ages. But at the same time, I’ve been sitting on my couch at night gluing beads and gems to a painted canvas board and then adding chopped up prints of textures I have created using bubblebath, kids’ acrylics and a straw – a completely unplanned abstract paper mosaic.

In the last two years I have used pastels, watercolours, watercolour pencils, Inktense pencils, oil pastels, and fluid and heavy body acrylics. I’ve used from 10cm square illustration board to a canvas a couple metres wide. I’ve started an art journal - something completely new to me - and that has experiments in it involving credit cards, graffiti and texture gels. I’ve been exploring stencilling and stamping, I’ve made my first handmade books. I’ve painted with my mouse, exploring digital painting while breastfeeding my daughter! (What can I say, my brain breaks if it isn’t thoroughly occupied at all times.)

Basically I’m an artist in search of her art. But I think I’m the closest to finding it than I have ever been.

'Phantasmal Poison Dart Frog' courtesy of Liz Powley
(You can see pictures from start to finish here.)

What is your favorite thing to paint? Why? It changes all the time, usually bouncing back and forth between realistic and abstract. I’m making an effort to break away from realistic in the extreme, simply because one of my goals has been to free up my art from ‘what is expected’ or ‘what I should do’ and let myself do what I want to do and damn the consequences. It has been very freeing. I’m a strong believer that half the art equation is state of mind.

But then I find myself returning to realistic from time to time to simply explore technique and my strength with the medium. Testing myself to see what I’m now capable of (hence the portrait I’m doing now).

I love colour and light. I love the natural world. You won’t find many buildings or cars or man-made objects in my art. I’m not a fan of hard-edged perspective, mainly because I need more practise (it is my nemesis). I like atmosphere and mood. I have an interest in portraiture, but am not a fan of drawing the human body. This is something I am thinking of fixing. The difficulty in the human body is creating the feeling of life and movement, something I have failed to master. Practise should fix it and you may see some stumbling attempts of mine in the future.

I’m also interested in exploring how to channel emotion into my art. I can write emotion, but have yet failed to do the same with paint. I’m also curious about creating movement and expression.

'Sophie the Mermaid' courtesy of Liz Powley
(You can see pictures from start to finish here)

What is your proudest painting moment and/or greatest painting achievement so far? This is going to sound lame, but I recently completed a painting for my eldest daughter. I posted it here several times over its quite long development period and I would like to thank all those wonderful people here who egged me on and took the time to comment on my blog. It is now hanging in her bedroom, fully varnished, signed and dated. It will last for a long time, and barring disaster, could be handed down to her children and grand children.

To start is fun, but to finish is ecstasy. I’m just really happy that I saw it through. Too many things get half done and lay around unfinished, and it was just nice to have a final and complete product for no better reason than as a random gift for my daughter.

Other than that I’ve created a mural for the Unley Libraries which covers a wall of their children’s section, I won a competition in college and had a poster printed from that, and I created a couple of very large watercolour pencil paintings for a friend several years ago that she framed and kept on her walls.
But right now, ‘Sofie the Mermaid’ holds a more important place in my heart.

'Bubbles Inverted' courtesy of Liz Powley
(To learn about this technique click here, or you can watch a video about it here.)

What's next in your painting future? Exploration! Experimentation! Anything I feel like doing.

On the more practical side of things, I’m hoping to add a lot more to my website. I want to do more tutorials, explore video, finally get that gallery up I’ve been meaning to add for ages. I have never really held an exhibition or really sold any work, so both of those are on the long term agenda.

I have a number of ongoing painting projects I want to continue to explore. A series on the subject of bushfire, my bubble painting, butterfly painting, paper mosaics, and the use of three dimensional objects like glass beads and gems in my paintings. I have some stencilling plans. I’m also looking at some ‘life inspired’ quotes and the art I can generate from those.

You can find my work on my website – Gumnut Inspirations –
But I am also available through several social media platforms:
Facebook – (my page)
Facebook – (my arty profile)
Twitter –
Pinterest –
YouTube -

Thanks so much for this opportunity, oh wonderful Paint Party Friday Peeps. I’m honoured to be here!

Thank you, Liz! And, thank you for generously sharing the results of your exploration with all of us (Kristin and EVA are both itching to give bubble painting a shot)!


**Would you like to be a PPF Featured Artist? Click here for details!**

Another hopping party last week, filled with such wonderful paintings!
Now, here is our check-in for this week's party:
As always, please make sure to use your post URL address NOT your blog home page URL address as there are many late visitors who get confused as to which post is for PPF when they arrive (after Friday) at your website. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Linky, an explanation of how this tool works can be found on Week 1 and Week 2 Check-Ins.

Hope everyone has a fun and creative week!


  1. oh what a wonderful interview!!! thank you for hosting this and thank you for always inspiring us to paint!

  2. Wonderful interview, Liz!
    Beautiful breadth of work!

    Thank you for hosting PPF, Eva and Kristin! :)

  3. Wowo, such a versatile artist. Can't wait to learn more about acrylics from Liz!

  4. I love the fun colors in Liz's work. Blesssings!

  5. Hi To our new featured artist , Liz. I think you have a lot of talent. your paintings are very colorful and interesting. The frog is so realistic ! I like the abstracts the most. That is cool that you are happiest when you are experimenting and painting freely and imaginatively from your spirit. I try to do the same. Ill look you up on face book too. I like to post on my facebook also.

  6. What great work. Congrats on the great interview. I really like how Liz experiments and uses a lot of techniques. Great work, and interview. Thanks Eva and Kristin, hope you both are doing good. Happy PPF to all.

  7. Love her use of colors, magnificent!!!

  8. i absolutel love your use of color and your fun mermaid paintings. that poison dart frog is phenomenal!

  9. I remember the mermaid - I thought she was awesome!! thanks Lynn for sharing!!

  10. Great feature Liz :).
    Stay inspired!

  11. Thanks for keeping me inspired to get out my paints at least once a week!

  12. Nice feature about Liz! Have a good PPF! Valerie

  13. Love the interview! Very inspiring!!

  14. Great interview, Liz you are an inspiration!

  15. Smashing interview and a lovely artist. Happy PPF, x

  16. So nice to be back with you guys this week! What a wonderful artist you have featured I really love that mermaid! :0)

  17. What great paintings. Love the effect with the self levelling gel.

  18. Enjoyed this interview lots and lots. Thanks, these inspire us all. I look forward to my Fridays here with you all. Happy PPF and have a happy weekend.

  19. Wonderful interview on Liz! Love Sophie the mermaid she is spectacular...all your art is..shine on!!

  20. I'm loving these interviews! I have been away but am back. So inspiring!

  21. Wonderful interview ~ love Liz's comment of 'being an artist in search of her art' ~ I can relate and I too feel I am getting closer ~ to my style and what works best ~ (A Creative Harbor)

    PS ~ thanks again for hosting the wonderful interviews

  22. I enjoyed Liz's interview so much as her story in some way parallels mine. We seem to be at similar stages in our art, experimenting a lot, having fun and finding our way. Thanks so much for doing these interviews. They're so inspiring.

  23. I've missed ya'all and can't wait to see everyone's art this week!

  24. Nice to meet you Liz!! Beautiful art!! I can very much relate to being in search of your art! That is where I am at these days, lots of experimenting!

    Happy PPF!

  25. Those crimson swirls are awesome! Amazing. Thanks for sharing all of your techniques. Happy PPF!

  26. Great interview, I can relate to finding your art, I seem to have been doing that all my life!

  27. Love the featured artist piece! Thank you to Kristin and Eva for hosting the party!!

  28. Sliding in at the last minute again!! but very glad to be here!!1 Thanks so much for doing this every week :0)

  29. I'm here at the last minute again too! Definitely love the variety of Liz's art, I will definitely be coming back to see her swirl demo, thank you! And the frog and mermaid paintings are just charming...

  30. I found your link through my blogging buddy Nancy McCarroll - you have some fabulous artists joining in here, different mediums, lots of inspiration. Hope it's ok to put my link in this week. Thankyou for hosting. Betty

  31. Had fun with another challenge thought I would add it here, the flowers are in the post following....

  32. Great interview and answers. I love Liz's idea of constant exploration and experimenting. I am afraid I won't get around to see and comment on everyone's work this week. I been preparing for a trip and leave early tomorrow morning for a 5-day pastel workshop at The Clearing in Door County WI.

  33. Cool, I'm gonna check out some of her videos. Looking forward to see the leveling gel and acrylic technique!
    Happy Painting!

    ~Jenny ♥

  34. I'd like to thank everyone for all your kind comments and visits to my website. My apologies for not visiting everyone yet, would you believe that my computer has been under maintenance since Tuesday? Thought it would take overnight (it was desperately in need of it), and instead it has been over five days of mostly no computer...aargh! And right now when I could be playing with you guys.

    Hopefully I can visit you all in the next few days and see what wonderfuls you've all been up to.

    But many thanks for hosting this interview and for all your lovely responses.

    Best wishes,

  35. I love your use of color and your mermaid. Great interview! I, too, am experimenting with emotion and art. Good to hear about your journey!

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