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  Featured Artist

Elizabeth Bogard in her Placitas studio

c. Elizabeth Bogard

Untitled Green, painting, by Elizabeth Bogard

Elizabeth Bogard: painting phenomena 

—Oli Robbins

Leonardo da Vinci once wrote that there is “such an infinite number of forms and actions of things that the memory is incapable of preserving them.” The Renaissance master believed that one key to understanding the world around us is observing and recording the many moments within it. For before us, in every instant, there are glimmers of the human condition—and most of the time, they come and go like flashes of light. Placitas artist Elizabeth Bogard likewise memorializes passing moments. She studies the nuzzles, the smiles, the caresses, the concerns, and the instincts that people subtly display. “The phenomenon of the moment is a frequent theme in my paintings,” says Elizabeth, who usually depicts “one or two persons captured in a moment of time.”

Elizabeth references the discipline of phenomenology, in which the components of subjective human experiences (phenomena) are studied. She moves to present such phenomena by reducing and simplifying the human figure, thereby emphasizing the elemental. Since a fleeting moment becomes an entire subject, the surrounding environment must become subordinate. Elizabeth begins by taking a photograph of a potentially interesting scene. She then scours the photograph for quiet or hidden pockets of human experience. “I’ll notice a certain moment, like two people embracing on an elevator in the background... I study the photo compositionally and use my imagination to construct a story around the phenomenon. Essentially, I step into the photograph and live that moment.” She then sketches that “phenomenon” several times, and further reduces the scene by completing value studies in black and white, finally composing a mixed-media collage and/or an acrylic painting. “Once my brush touches the canvas,” says Elizabeth, “the painting becomes instinctive and always from the heart. That’s the magic and excitement of painting.” Usually, the final collage and painting are devoid of the noisy or distracting background found in the original photograph. Says Elizabeth, “abstracting the figure can be a lot more personal and universal than realism... The more personal your painting becomes, the more universal it becomes.” Indeed, artists from Kandinsky to Matisse (Elizabeth’s “artist hero”) to Rothko maintained that moving away from the “material” world and toward the abstract also means approaching the collective and fundamental.  

Elizabeth and her husband were charmed by New Mexico in the Eighties, when they had a vacation home in Santa Fe. It was then that Elizabeth began her art collection, became acquainted with upcoming and established local artists, and was introduced to “the beauty and rich culture” of the state. But it wasn’t until 2013 that she moved from Texas to Placitas. Elizabeth appreciates the artistic support she receives in Placitas and finds herself getting more and more involved in the community. 

Despite Elizabeth’s apparent artistic instincts and virtuosity, she began art-making just 14 years ago, and didn’t become a “serious” artist until 2004. Born and raised in Stamps, Arkansas, Elizabeth recalls being creatively inclined from an early age, but focused on singing, piano, and marimba. She went to college in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she first majored in Music Theory and Vocals, and even pursued acting on the side. While she continued to study music throughout college, she eventually decided to pursue a degree in Marketing, which would later land her advertising jobs in Dallas and Houston. In advertising, Elizabeth worked alongside graphic designers, and perhaps without knowing it, she was slowly exposed to principles of art and design. 

In the 1970s, Elizabeth underwent heart surgery. This significant event prompted her to reevaluate her life and her passions. She enrolled in an Art Administration Graduate program at S.M.U., Dallas, and began studying art history intensively. She would leave the program after one year and return to advertising, but her eyes were opened to the world of visual expression, a world to which she would later return. The 1986 “oil bust” in Houston demanded that Elizabeth discontinue her Marketing Consulting partnership, in which she had sold graphic design services to major corporations. With time on her hands, she decided to tour Europe, seeing many of her favorite artworks firsthand. When she returned to the states, she embarked on another career path—though still not in the arts—and went to graduate school for a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She worked in that field until retirement and loved it. She found fulfillment in creating training and curriculum for adults in the corporate world. 

It wasn’t until the year 2000, when Elizabeth experienced the loss of a loved one, that the arts reentered her life. During a time of great emotional suffering, Elizabeth found solace in artistic expression, and discovered the emotional capacity of painting. “I felt the need to express myself somehow... I found painting to be very therapeutic. Those works are very primitive, but they have the emotion in there. I can feel the emotion—they’re so personal.” After this experience, her drive to create grew stronger. Says Elizabeth, “this little nagging thing started.” She began with classes in assemblage and drawing, and in 2009 transitioned to art full-time, primarily studying collage and figure painting in Dallas and later the Netherlands. Elizabeth’s early training in collage/assemblage was cathartic. “That work was personal and introspective... it was totally instinctive — I didn’t think about what I was doing, I just did it.” Even in her current paintings, an element of collage remains; her figures are linear, and the works are comprised of broad fields of imagery and color. Says Elizabeth, “As a painter, I strive to progress toward more abstract personal expression and to master color, composition, and medium.”

Elizabeth’s work can be viewed at the Hillside Art Gallery in Santa Fe. This August, her work can also be seen in Placitas at the Placitas Community Library and at Anasazi Fields Winery. Visit to view her paintings, collages, and artistic process (from start to finish). You may arrange an appointment with the artist by calling 214-542-2192 or emailing her at

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