Looking at one of artist Lizabeth Souness’ paintings is like peering into a world I am at once familiar with and estranged from. Hues of rural Australia call out to me: the galah pink of a summer sunset is offset by tones of dusty brown and gleaming green while subtle hints of scorched black linger in the background. An abstract painter at heart, Lizabeth takes the Australian landscape, and all its rugged glory as her muse.
From her purpose-built studio and gallery on her property in Bungowannah near Albury, NSW, Lizabeth peers out across fertile flats wrapped in gentle hills to the Murray River. “For me [this landscape] feeds my creativity and nourishes my soul,” she says. “I particularly enjoy exploring the idea of natural reference points and pulling out the abstract that is everywhere around us, whether it be in a landscape or a still life”.
The Australian landscape is a part of Lizabeth’s very being. She tells me of the recent bushfires which devasted much of Australia’s east coast this summer: “It changed overnight, from golden summer grasses to blackened scorched earth and bark and then to iridescent greens after the rains came. It’s been extreme to say the least”.
From the humble 2B pencil to oil sticks, watercolours, acrylics and collected charcoal, Lizabeth cherishes each material and its unique mark. Often awake and painting in the early hours of the morning, she paints in response to an indescribable inner urge, rather than any particular process. “Some works can take many weeks, sometimes months, to reach the finish line,” she says. “It has to have that yes moment when you know it has arrived where you want it to be”.
Lizabeth Souness’ work will be exhibited in a group exhibition Regenerative Visions at Melbourne’s Brunswick Street Gallery from 20 May to 2 June 2020.