Elizabeth Pratt, Cape Cod Artist

“I’ve been selling my work for 65 years. More than ever, color is important in my paintings. I use it to set up vibrations and to create moods. To enhance the effects of the renowned Cape Cod light, my colors have become stronger and my contrasts greater.

Fluid and transparent, watercolor allows me to spontaneously capture the motion of the waves and currents that surround this peninsula. The expanses of sky, the reflections of the sky in the water, the natural flow of the wind, all lend themselves to the free expression afforded by this medium.

As long as I have been painting, I feel the rush of excitement each time the first colors go down and know I am going to going to discover something new.”

Elizabeth Pratt studied at the Dayton Art Institute and earned her B.A. in Fine Arts at William and Mary. She completed workshops with nationally-known watercolorists and studied the masters of painting in Europe's great museums.

Elizabeth had the first of over 70 solo shows at the Spectrum Gallery in Washington, D.C., where she was a founding member. Ms. Pratt's work has been acquired by many government agencies, courts, corporations and collectors.

Ms. Pratt is a Copley Master and has juried membership in Audubon Artists, New York City and the New England Watercolor Society. She has taught at the Truro Center for the Arts, Castle Hill; the Creative Arts Center; the Cape Museum of Fine Arts; and the Cahoon Museum.

A full-time artist with a spontaneous style evolving as the images develop, Ms. Pratt keeps her work continually fresh and alive in a range of subject matter treated with new techniques.

Her work has been featured in many periodicals including American Art Collector, Artist Magazine, Cape Cod Times, Cape Codder, Arts & Antiques, Boston Magazine, Review Magazine and Cape Arts Review. Her work and techniques have been covered in books including The Art of Watercolor by Charles LeClair, The Best of Watercolor by Betty Lou Schlem and Tom Nicola, and nine others.

Artist's Statement

Since my early training, watercolor has challenged and excited me. For over 50 years, I have worked primarily in that medium. My aim has never been to become more proficient in realism but rather to explore the limits of watercolor's possibilities. I strive to let the paints' characteristics rule, the drips, bleeds and blooms be apparent for visual enjoyment.

The invention of hot press papers in the 1960s expanded the medium's ability to achieve amazing textures. The paint stays on the surface and can be manipulated with various tools as well as with brushes. Color vibrancy, abstract shapes, tactile representations and lighting extremes are enhanced without a preset plan. I let the medium lead me.

The works evolve on the paper through "accidents"-and my imagination. Paintings of fish and birds are ideal for this as the subjects can be woven in during the final steps towards completion of a piece. Landscapes begin as abstracts and the nature I know emerges. If painterly effects appear in jeopardy, I stop and leave the essence. These methods have been transmitted in all my teaching. I stress how to see differently, how to cherish what is developing on the page, how to push it to the utmost.

Even now, having completed over 2,000 watercolors, I feel the rush of excitement when the first colors go down, flowing freely, uncontrolled, meandering in a way more beautiful than I could have imagined. I quickly tilt, drop in more colors, imprint, spray, spatter, continually looking for the direction the painting is taking. It's a game. Of nerve. Of spontaneous decisions. The paint always wins and I am glad to be on its team.

Books

The Art of Watercolor, Charles LeClair, Watson Guptil
The Best of Watercolor, Betty Lou Schlem and Tom Nicolas, Volumes I, II, and III
Rockport Publishers (for all of the following)
Watercolor Expressions
Painting Composition
Floral Inspirations
Places in Watercolor
People in Watercolor

National Juried Exhibitions

Audobon Artists of New York City
Adirondack's National Exhibition
San Diego Watercolor Society National Open
The Face of America, Contemporary Portraits in Watercolor
Academic Artists
Georgia Watercolor Society National
Mississippi National Exhibition
Rocky Mountain National
Montana National
North American Open Exhibition

Solo Shows

The Copley Society
The Art Complex Museum
The Maryland Academy of Art
Spectrum Gallery, Georgetown
Radford University
Stonehill College
Cape Cod Conservatory
Addison Art Gallery
Cape Cod Museum of Art

Group Shows

New Bedford Museum
Guild of Boston Artists
Fitchburg Museum
Berkshire Museum
Johns Hopkins University
Mississippi Museum
USIA Traveling Exhibit Overseas
Copley Society Shows
Falmouth Annual
Annual Northeast New England Watercolor Society
Addison Art Gallery
Cahoon Museum
Greater Washington Invitational
Arts Club, Washington D.C.
Federal Reserve Bank, Boston
Boston City Hall
Harvard Club, Boston

ArticlesAmerican

Art Collector
Cape Codder
Arts and Antiques
Boston Magazine
Review Magazine
Artist Magazine
Cape Cod Times
American Artist Magazine
Cape Arts Review

Permanent Collections

Cape Museum of Fine Arts
International Monetary Fund
United States Catholic Conference
Office of the Director of the CIA
Sperry Univac
Citi Bank
Superior Court of the District of Columbia
National Association of Manufacturers
First National Bank of Boston
Cahoon Museum
Stonehill College
National Society of Professional Engineers

I first saw Elizabeth Pratt's work featured in a newspaper and her brilliant colors just hooked me. I saved the article and 15 years later I got an opportunity to meet and own a few of her works. What a blast! I love the 'textures' in her watercolors and the feeling of contentment I get looking at them.— Kinga Salierno

Articles

Read reviews and articles about Pratt

Process

Pratt explains her unique painting technique