LIZ MURPHY - ARTIST & DESIGNER
This collection of my work, represents an honoring of a deep need in me to push beyond the ‘neat and tidy’, to a place that is raw and free.
It is my truth.
It is where my humanity gets stirred up, faced, embraced, befriended and at times discarded.
It’s messy, imperfect, ugly and hopefully, in parts beautiful.
It’s a journey.
My paintings are souvenirs of that journey.
With courage, vulnerability, and an open heart, I would like to share with you, why I do what I do and what brought me to this place.
HOW I GOT HERE
Going through my parents’ bitter divorce, taking care of my dying mother, and then losing her at a very young age, all culminated in my being forced to grow up very quickly. My home was dysfunctional and difficult, but despite her failing health, my mother was bold, stylish and ahead of her time in so many ways. She was always coming up with new, creative ways to lift our spirits. From painting her bedroom furniture bright purple (it was the 60’s), to climbing up a ladder and painting our dining room ceiling a deep green, she was determined to inject color into our lives. On a whim she'd pull out her old Singer sewing machine to re-cover a sofa, make curtains, or whip up a new outfit for me and my twin brother out of some fabric she had collected. She’d stay up all night making surprises for me that she’d leave at the foot of my bed. A little Beatrix potter watercolor, a crochet dress, or a family of felt mice, each dressed in a cute little outfit she had hand sewn.
Art and design were the tools she used to create a different reality. These early memories left a lasting impression on me, and formed who I am and why I am passionate about what I do today.
Growing up, art and design became an important part of my own identity. It gave me confidence, and from that place I felt more able to navigate a life with a broken family. I was fortunate enough to have fantastic art teachers that mentored me and helped guide me along this path. From art school I went on to work as a Graphic Designer in London. Despite not loving the graphics industry, the experience provided me with a strong commercial foundation.
After getting married and having my sons, we began re-locating every 2 years for my ex-husband’s job. Constantly facing change and being away from anything familiar, I knew it was important for my family to find a way to feel grounded. I began to reflect on my past, finding myself grateful for its lessons, and for learning early on that home is a feeling and not a place.
A few years ago, I found myself at a time where my kids were launched, my marriage had ended and I was facing a cancer diagnosis. I realized that I had forgotten who I really was at a soul level and where my joy came from. I needed to go back, to reflect deeper, and to return to that child whose day could be made by the sight of little felt mice at the foot of my bed. I needed to play again. So I gave myself permission to do just that.
LIZ THE ARTIST
Enter Abstract expressionism. The freedom I have discovered in my painting practice has given me the courage to show up for myself and take risks. I now live my life from a place that is far more authentic. My approach always starts with a decision to surrender. The mix of intensional, considered marks and free intuitive strokes feel like a dance of color and texture, of the spontaneous and the deliberate. From there I allow the process to guide me, as much as I can, free of judgement or limitations, until I get to a point where the painting feels finished or asks to be honed and refined.
Painting for me is like meditation. When I am in the flow, I lose track of time and drop into a quietness that allows an inexplicable voice within me to be heard. It can be messy and painful and I don't always like where it takes me, but I am prepared to go the extra mile to live a life that is full and authentic..
WHERE ART & DESIGN MEET.
There are many similarities with how I design and how I paint. My goal in both is to spark an emotion or to create a feeling. Rooted in an understanding and appreciation of what makes us feel alive as humans, they both involve layers and history, intention and surprise, contrast and harmony, textures and a space to breathe. I consider both modalities to be a celebration of the art of living—a backdrop for life that allows for inner harmony and revitalization.
To hear Liz chat about this more,