Ogden-based artist Elizabeth Robbins recognized with awards for oil paintings
2021 has been a year of success and recognition for oil painter Elizabeth Robbins of Studio 17 at The Monarch, with several awards won and a burgeoning online painting class.
Robbins recently won an honorable mention award at the American Impressionist Society for her painting “Remnants.” Very different from most of Robbins’ work, the painting evokes a certain sadness and beauty in that sadness. “I’ve had a lot of loss in my life,” Robbins explains. “My husband, the love of my life, passed away 14 years ago. It was devastating, but I believe there’s beauty in loss.”
She speaks of this beauty coming from her strength that she found within herself, and the way she copes with that loss and many others, including the deaths of her mother, brother and step-father. “Painting saved me,” she says definitively. “When I paint, I forget everything else that is happening and I get lost in the world I’m creating.”
Robbins is an avid gardener and grows her own flowers, which account for almost all of her subjects. The inspiration for the award-winning “Remnants” came when she was cutting back her sunflowers while gardening. Upon leaning a bunch against the outside of her studio, she was struck by the beauty of their pattern of light and shadow. “It stopped me in my tracks,” she exclaimed. “I took a photo and did a plein air study right there, then went inside and began the painting.”
Robbins submitted her painting and out of 1,700 entries and 200 final contestants, she was honored to receive the award of honorable mention. “Winning awards validates us as artists that our work is appreciated. We’re judged by our peers and it means that someone else saw the beauty in the piece you were trying to create,” Robbins says.
Her beloved painting “Tisket A Tasket” was submitted to the Western division of Oil Painters of America. The painting is of a basket of orange lilies that her husband planted in their garden for her, and soft pink flowers, symbolizing herself. Robbins kept the inspiration to herself, but the painting ended up in Kansas, where her husband was from and they had lived together.
“Tisket A Tasket” won OPA’s very prestigious Still Life Award of Excellence. “It was very emotional,” she says. “I feel my husband all around me.” The painting is currently on exhibit until December in The Mark Arts Gallery in Wichita, Kansas.
“Sunflower Sonata” won the Still Life Award of Excellence at OPA’s national exhibit.
“Dedicated to preserving and promoting excellence in representational art, Oil Painters of America’s primary mission is to advance the cause of traditional, representational fine art by drawing attention to the lasting value of fine drawing, color, composition and the appreciation of light,” OPA says in its online mission statement.
Robbins is often inspired by light. “The pattern of light and the way the petals connected together was amazing,” she says of her subject.
For painters who have yet to be recognized, Robbins has advice: “Make sure you have a really great photo. No background. Follow the requirements on size and resolution. If you keep entering and don’t get accepted, find someone in the organization to review your portfolio to review your work and give you suggestions on your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t give up. One year I won best in show and the next year my painting wasn’t accepted. Stay the course.”
Follow Robbins online at elizabethrobbinsart.com, Facebook and Instagram @elizabethrobbinsart, and find her classes at inspiredtopaint.com.