• E. R. Whelan

    portraits | landscapes | still life
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contemporary approach to realism

Nuance and varied brush handling enliven her realistic works.

simple dignity

Elizabeth Whelan's paintings reflect her respect for the natural world and all within it.

Empathy and commonality

Portraiture for our times, and for generations to come.

sense of place

E. R. Whelan's works convey atmosphere and a regional narrative.

Enduring and relatable

Her visual translation of personality and character create a connection between subject and viewer.
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  • The world in a painting

    Elizabeth R. Whelan's paintings realistically portray captivating aspects of the contemporary world. Her work includes many themes tied to the land and the waters of coastal North America. Her portraits are known for their life-like qualities in appearance and personality. Each painting is a personal adventure shared by the painter and the viewer.
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The Stages of a Painting

From concept to creation, a painting takes on a life of its own as the artist strives to recreate a vision on canvas. For Elizabeth Whelan, it all starts with a very rough pencil sketch.

Throughout her career as an illustrator and graphic designer, Elizabeth found the small thumbnail sketch to be the key to a successful larger piece of art. The same holds true with painting. A next step might be a tighter drawing in charcoal or graphite. Often she will also make a notan in the form of a small black and white image that evaluates the play of light and dark in her concept.

Moving from these initial tools to a color study, then to an oil sketch on toned canvas, Elizabeth Whelan refers to her preliminary ideas throughout the process. Often she will work out the value structure of the painting in raw umber before proceeding to develop the color.

A concept in progress

notan for painting

sketch by elizabeth whelan

oil sketch detail from painting by elizabeth whelan

detail from portrait in progress by elizabeth r. whelan

The studio: summer & winter

  • image A small north-facing window and daylight bulbs make it possible to work day or night in this workshop studio.

    Cool north light in summer

  • image A good day painting finds the artist 'in the zone'. Paint strokes flow effortlessly and time slides by unnoticed.

    Elizabeth at work

  • image Your studio is wherever you want it to be! A field in summer with birdsong all around is hard to beat. This pochade box on a camera tripod is handy and durable.

    Have paint, will travel

  • image In the colder months a small room in an insulated building makes all the difference! A wall easel makes good use of the space.

    A wall easel in winter

  • image Can an artist ever have enough brushes? A variety of bristle types and styles, and yet there are some definite favorites. Visit Elizabeth Whelan's blog to learn more.

    Tools of the trade

  • image When the winter winds are blowing, the warm light from the sun in south-facing windows is filtered by light fabric and balanced with some well-placed bulbs.

    Winter warmth

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From Elizabeth Whelan's Blog

Odds & Ends

  • Read Me +

    Here are some recommended reading and gift ideas for the artists in your life. These titles have earned their places on Elizabeth's bookshelf. Check out a selection of her favorite reference books about art, illustration, painting, design, marketing and branding, freelancing and more by reading these posts on her blog.
    Send us an email and let us know what your favorite art books are!
  • Interview with Elizabeth Whelan +

    Elizabeth Whelan has selected questions & answers from various interviews, including her thoughts on art schools, advice for freelancers and more! Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for a complete list of interview questions.
    Please note: Many students have contacted Elizabeth with interview requests to fulfill assignments for their classes. Unfortunately she can not reply individually at this time, and hopefully this Q & A page will provide the needed information. Thank you!
  • Make a gift of a portrait +

    A painted portrait in oil on canvas makes an excellent gift for a loved one or family member, as a retirement gift, for commemorative purposes or as a gesture of recognition. A popular option is to reserve a sitting by purchasing a gift certificate for a portion of the portrait fee. An elegant gift certificate will be sent to you to present to the recipient. Contact Elizabeth Whelan to discuss your portrait gift idea, and see the Process & Fees pages for more information!
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