We are thrilled to welcome Lizzie Beere to our gallery, an artist based in the Hawke’s Bay whose works breathe life into the canvas with a remarkable fusion of abstraction and figuration. Lizzie's creations are a celebration of movement, texture, and the tender beauty found in nature's impermanence. Her pieces invite viewers to experience the profound and the personal, merging traditional still life with contemporary abstraction. Find her pieces here. 


Lizzie describes her style as a blend of the abstract and the figurative, best known for her large abstract botanical paintings and hand-built ceramics. Her artworks are crafted in a loose, non-representational style that expands and explodes the traditions of still life painting.

Lizzie works with both oil and acrylic, utilising tools such as palette knives, oil sticks, and charcoal to build and remove layers, creating a dynamic interplay between subject and background.
"I love movement and texture, and I’m quite process and hand-driven," Lizzie says. "The background of the canvas plays as much a role in the composition as the subject itself."


In addition to her paintings, Lizzie has recently been experimenting with ceramics. She hand-builds textured and painterly vessels that complement her paintings.

 "Combining my paintings with ceramics feels like a natural, organic process for me these days," she shares.

Although these ceramics are yet to be here in the gallery - we are excited to be holding such a dynamic collection of still lives.
Lizzie's journey in the arts began in London in the late '90s and continued at Elam in Auckland in 2009. After a hiatus from creating, she returned to her passion and now works from her open studio in Hastings, Hawkes Bay. Surrounded by the tranquil beauty of her lifestyle property, which she shares with her partner Martin and their Standard Poodle Freddie, Lizzie finds inspiration in the abundance of blooms, collected vessels, and the legacy of the women in her family.
"My studio is my place to go… When I most need a place to go," she reflects.
Lizzie draws inspiration from a diverse array of artists, including the Still Life Impressionists of the 1800s, Vanessa Bell, Gluck, Monet, Manet, Mondrian, Georgia O'Keeffe, Kyte Tatt, and Jorge Galindo. Her ceramic approach is influenced by Nuriko Kuresumi and Rachel Boxinboim.

Q+A with Lizzie Beere

How does the process of working with palette knives, oil sticks, and charcoal influence the texture and movement in your paintings?

My process is usually with reference to previous documentation, investigation and sketches from my workbooks. I’m always gathering ideas, colours and related text that I like. From these, I’ll rough out a charcoal or loose painterly study in larger format on Fabriano art paper, canvas, linen or board. I then begin an initial blocking in of a first layer of paint with brushes. From there I’ll start to build in some interest with detail, layers and texture. At times I paint large scale, weathered blooms, so palette knives and chunky charcoal encourage me to keep it loose with layering and direction of the painted petals. Large sweeping strokes and mark making help me deliver often a wilful, weathered approach, hopefully offering the connection with how folks feel when viewing the work.



How have your studies and experiences in London and at Elam in Auckland contributed to your artistic journey and style?

I took my time in pursuing art as a fulltime career. As a school leaver, the decision to pursue a reliable well-paid job or the life of a struggling poorly paid artist, just wasn’t up for discussion. So, at 34, when the opportunity arose in England to study fine art, I just couldn’t let it pass me by again. I think as a mature student, you tend to take a return to study a bit more seriously, particularly if you are juggling other commitments. And I loved it all. Art schools tend to place much importance on personal investigation and your conceptual ideas that are behind bringing a body of work together. I really enjoy this learned process and often find an artist’s initial mark making and gathering of ideas can be as interesting as that of the completed work itself. British artist Tracy Emin is brilliant in exhibiting this process. I also specialised in sculpture, often large textural, multi discipline installation.



What role do collected vessels, family heirlooms, and the theme of nature play in your artwork?

I think gardening, floral art and collected paintings & objects is rooted in my childhood fascination of botanicals. I come from a long line of collectors, particularly floral related. My partner, Marty, and I reside on a 4-acre lifestyle block just out of Havelock North. It’s a cracking spot where we are surrounded by orchards and mature trees. A wander up our driveway between the Liquid Ambers and past the climbing roses to my studio, will find me surrounded in old family vases and galvanised buckets of blooms. I love that I carry with me the family tradition, delighting in blooms, vases, and artwork. I feel very anchored and surrounded by the past women of my family. I am very lucky.



How do you balance the recognisable elements and abstract forms in your art to create a cohesive narrative?

I used to paint a lot more objectively and realistically. My approach to subject matter was way truer to form. But in the last few years I have committed to a looser, more abstract approach. I think the challenge for an artist quite often, is in finding time for experimentation and developing in style. I have found allowing myself the time for this, on a regular basis, stops me from getting a bit stuck or bored. I also find this more abstract, expressionist approach keeps me constantly searching and enquiring of my subject, alluding to the recognisable but often obscure contrast of the form, bringing about a balance to my work.



What inspired you to return to ceramics after focusing on painting, and how do you integrate this medium into your current work?

I had been enjoying furthering my painting style and approach, over the last few years, however I missed immersing my hands in the clay. I worked in sculpture while in England, some years ago, and had been contemplating a return to construction, while at the same time, not giving up the paints.

In 2022, I had a solo show at a Hawkes Bay gallery and they suggested a collaboration with a ceramic artist, and I thought “well I do know someone”…. so back to the clay I went. I developed alongside of those paintings, a collection of textured and painterly vessels, rather like my blooms. Combining my paintings with ceramics feels like a natural organic process for me these days. They almost become a response to one another.

May 30, 2024