Tuesday 28 January 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Elizabeth Cooper

Hello Beautifuls, I hope everyone is wonderfully well and happy =) it is time for our weekly peek and poke (peek at the art work, poke into the life) of an artist over here, so sit put your feet up and let's all banish those critics, that this time belong outside ourselves, together :)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I’m a 33 year-old former communications manager who now makes her living writing romance novels full time. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, I assure you! Writing used to be my hobby and my escape from a dreadful day job. When writing novels turned into my day job, I learned very quickly that I needed a new creative outlet that didn’t feel like work. I found it when my sister-in-law took me to a card-making class. I got instantly hooked on crafting, and graduated from card-making to scrapbooking very quickly. It didn’t take long until I discovered the beautiful mixed media pieces being created with scrapbooking supplies. I immediately felt like I’d come home… like I’d found the little piece of me that had been missing all this time. After I began dabbling in mixed media art, I tried my hand at art journaling, drawing, painting… all the things I’d been told as a child that I never had a talent for. So what kind of artist am I? An eclectic one. I draw, paint, water-colour, art journal, create mixed media canvases and home decor pieces, and I scrapbook and make cards as well. For me, all those things are interchangeable. They’re all art, and reaching for one set of materials over another just depends on how I feel on any particular day.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
Criticism. As a published author, you’d think I’d have learned how to cope with criticism years ago, but unfortunately it’s not a skill I’ve ever developed. Even mild, well intentioned criticism stings so badly I just want to burrow under covers and never touch a pen or a paintbrush again. My husband has an art degree, and doesn’t get the whole mixed media movement. So when I show him one of my new pieces and he stares at it with a blank look on his face (or worse, says something like… “You know what would make this better?” or “Did you mean to put that colour there? It throws off the rest of the composition.”) I feel like ditching my entire art supply stash out the window. Over the years, I’ve learned to explicitly state what kind of comments I’m looking for when I show someone my work. I tell them I’m not looking for criticism or feedback, and that I simply want to share what I’ve been doing. As for the unsolicited criticism that seems to find all of us regardless… I tell myself that every piece of art is viewed through someone’s unique lens. Each viewer sees things in a piece that say more about the person viewing the work than the artist herself. I have to frequently remind myself that I can’t control how someone sees my work, or how they feel about it.

I’ve taken a quote from Wayne Dyer and turned it into my mantra: “What other people think of me [and my work] is none of my business.”

Have you ever found anything that originally daunted you as an artist that you can now overcame easily?
Drawing faces. I’ve always wanted to be able to draw portraits — not realistic ones, but pretty, whimsical, girly faces. I never thought I’d be able to do it. And then, on a whim, I signed up for an online course that was all about drawing whimsical portraits and I surprised myself by being able to follow along and create something I never thought I could. From that moment on, I was hooked! I’m a bit of an online workshop addict now, but I definitely focus on those that teach me how improve my portrait and female form drawing skills.

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
Be gentle with yourself. If I can offer another quote… “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” (I think this one’s by Jon Acuff.) It’s so true, though. In today’s fast-moving, internet-centric world, we’re bombarded with images of other artists' work. Whether it’s on Facebook or Pinterest, on blogs or in magazines, we see all these beautiful works of art that seem effortless to make. But the truth is, they’re not effortless. What you don’t see is the years of practice that went into creating that one piece. As a society, we’ve come to a point where we expect to be great at something the first time we try it. (I’m so very guilty of this!) If the chocolate soufflĂ© we try to bake doesn’t turn out right the first time we make it, we think we’re not meant to be bakers. If the blanket we’re knitting for the first time is lopsided, we toss away our knitting needles for good. And if the first time we try to draw a face the eyes are different sizes, or looking in different directions, we so often give up and tell ourselves we’re no good at faces. But the truth is, every time you sit down to create something — anything — you walk away a better artist than you were when you first approached your desk. And if you do that day in and day out for the sheer joy of it, you’ll amaze yourself with what you can accomplish over time.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
The best place to learn more about me and my art is on my blog:

Thank you so much for sharing Elizabeth, here is another quote that's always stuck in my head:

'Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.'
Andy Warhol

I think as artists we are all get hurt by even well-meaning criticism sometimes - probably because our art is not detached from us, we often make it with our hearts. But just because one person may have one thing bad to say about one piece of art please NEVER think that that then means that piece is not good enough or even rubbish. When I first started posting things online I couldn't understand why I could get such spiteful, nasty or hurtful comments (especially on youtube, which I think is the trolls main hang-out cave) when ALL I was doing was just posting art. But while I was contemplating who I could possibly be offending by doing something so harmless, life, as it usually does was just giving me an opportunity to get a thicker skin and teach me that people project what is within themselves, and therefore sometimes it has nothing to do with you or your art. AND even if it does you cannot never, ever, ever please 100% of the people 100% of the time - even Mother Teresa has her critics - it is unfortunately within human nature to criticize another, no matter what good or bad they are doing in the world, so why even bother with it? For me now it is water off of a ducks back. Making someone else happy is not what your art is about, it is about nothing but developing and making yourself happy, please everyone remember this next time you get that stinky or even well-meaning stingy comment ;)

You answer to nobody but yourself, and nor does your art, so keep on doing what you're doing, you're too fabulous not to ;)

Do you want to be featured in an interview here?
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)


  1. Love your work Elizabeth! And the topic of your discussion really hit home.... I just posted a drawing of a face on my blog today.And i Don't Do faces...... and i mentioned all the criticism from my husband who is NOT an artist..... :) Believe me his critiques can sting. But i honestly think in the long run it makes me stronger and have thicker skin... and the knowledge that if nobody else is gonna believe in me i darn well better believe in me and keep plowing ahead. Hugs! deb

  2. Dear Elizabeth your art is beautiful! I loved the theme of your interview, as I'm new to the world of art I sometimes wonder myself if it is possible to do something that I have never done before, but if I feel like trying it I don't give up! After all art is so personal that we should only hear our criticism (and sometimes not even that!). Thank you for all you've shared with us!!!

  3. such encouraging and inspiring words Elizabeth. Your art is lovely and your girly faces are so cool. I have always been someone who gave up after trying something for the first time but now im going to be kinder with myself.
    Thanks Jennie for the great blog post
    Gill x

  4. Wow, what a lovely inspiring post and another blog for me to check out and hope I can follow. Great words from Jennie at the end too, much needed today, thank you.

  5. Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her beautiful work and the feelings I think many of us share about being criticized by others. Thanks to Jennie for hosting her and for her well thought and expressed comments at the end.

    I too recently took an online course in drawing faces, something I has never done in all my life, and found I LOVE it! I got better by trying over and over, and also by allowing myself to have my own style, not trying to compete with anyone else. It wasn't easy to do, but I am so glad I did, because I was able to discover a whole new form of art that I love in addition to the others I already do and love.

  6. I was an artistic child and young adult, then I married a man who criticized my art. I ended up not doing anything artistic for about 20 years. I always felt like something was missing from my life. And then I realized it was being creative and doing art that was missing. Now I try to do art every day and feeling more like myself than I have in a long time.

  7. Fabulous interview. I love the quotes in this one and am going to borrow Jon Acuff's as my new mantra, because that is definitely me. I am my own worst critic not yet too sensitive to what others think but only because Ive just begun to show my art for the 1st time on new years day. Great interview, Ive actually came back and read for a second time.

  8. Your work is very beautiful and very charming. Your comments on criticism are also very heartfelt so thank you. I understand feeling sad about criticism and now that I have read your thoughts feel a bit better about it myself. Wonderful sharing and your work is very colorful and pretty.

  9. Thanks so much for having me here, Jennie, and for the kind words and comments, everyone! I apologize for taking so long to drop by, but I welcomed my first baby girl into the world two weeks ago and my life was turned upside down (in a good way!) since then. Hopefully someday soon the baby and I will develop a routine, and I'll be able to create art again. :)


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