Liz Toole profile

Liz Toole

Liz definitely loves painting birds on wood. Her first ever exhibition following her degree in 2002 was paintings of birds on wood!

Liz’s main inspiration is from a 17 month trip working and travelling in Africa following her degree in ceramics. It was here she felt like she rediscovered nature and birds.

At one point on her travels she lived for 6 months in a hut above a village on lake Malawi with no water or electricity. Here there were trees growing through the veranda where she constantly watched beautiful birds.

Whilst in africa she was also massively inspired by a group of naive painters from Zimbabwe called The Weya women who painted everyday scenes on objects and pieces of wood.

Having no access to clay Liz concentrated on drawing and painting.

On her return to the UK she had an idea to have an exhibition in which she would create her own bird characters, painting them on pieces of reclaimed wood. That was in 2002 in a restaurant in Brighton, it was a huge success and she continued from there.

Currently about 95% of Liz’s wood is personally found by her from beaches and rivers down on The Sussex Coast and up on The West Coast of Scotland. Collecting the wood has become a part of the process that she has grown to love, heading out in all types of weather wondering what treasure (wood) she might find. The history of the wood adds so much to Liz’s characters, how long was it in the sea, what created the marks on it, how old is it?

Once the wood has dried out in her studio for a few weeks (months for very large pieces)its lightly sanded so not to take too much of the character of the wood away. Liz usually focuses on 2 or 3 different breeds of birds at a time, making exact pencil drawings of them. Through, continually re-drawing and designing the characters they quite often become their own birds, or ‘Liz Toole Birds ‘ as she calls them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at Liz’s work.

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