Elizabeth Cope in her studio at Shankill Castle

Irish Artist Elizabeth Cope was born in 1952 in Co. Kildare. She currently lives and works in Co. Kilkenny.

Her art has been exhibited in galleries all over the world during the past 20 years and is found in many important public and private collections.

“Painting for me is a way of life. I was seduced by the smell of oil paint when I was nine years old: my sister came home from Paris with a box of paints.

The act of painting is like doing a post mortem. You are involved emotionally and yet detached at the same time. This means that the act of painting is dispassionate as well as passionate. I think that the painter has ‘an inner eye’. When I was a child I wanted to be a nun and become a saint, like St. Therese of Lisieux. I soon realized that this would not happen, but perhaps becoming a painter has allowed me to become a ‘second- rate saint’. The dedication of a painter allows a spiritual freedom and I see painting as a kind of prayer that lifts the spirit beyond mundane life.

Like many of the artists I admire I begin with a struggle. Without the struggle occurring in making a painting, I feel that the process of trying to paint a painting is not wholly alive. It is the struggle that counts. In painting there is no resolution; it is an ongoing act.

I paint through the chaos of everyday life, if I were to wait for a quiet moment I would never paint. I believe that painting should also be like dancing and that the real ‘work of art’ is not so much the canvas when the paint is dry, but rather the physical rhythm of the process of painting it.”

ELIZABETH COPE
Shankill, Ireland – March 2012

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