She was fighting a 35 year depression, and by taking that art class she cured her depression and changed not only her life but the lives of many. In the art class, Elizabeth learned contour drawing which she developed into her unique form of artistic expression.
In contour drawing the student, fixing their eyes on the outline of the model or object, draws the contour very slowly in a steady, continuous line without lifting the pencil or looking at the paper. The student may look at the paper to place an internal feature, but once they begin to draw it, they do not glance down, but follow the same procedure as for the outline.
It is said that what distinguishes Elizabeth Layton's drawings from others is their breadth, their freshness, and their expression of hope. Few artist have depicted such far reaching social concerns such as capital punishment, homelessness, hunger, racial prejudice, AIDS, aging and the right to die.
“She is almost through the magic gate to the cosmos. The gate opening up broke a thorny branch off the rosebush - the sting of dying. Behind her are ties to the earth - loved ones, wonderful worldly things, good and bad - her life. We can’t see yet what she sees but the look on her face is joyous.”
Today, I shared her art with my art therapy client, an artist who is no longer verbal or creating art due to Parkinson's Disease. How I wish she could have shared her thoughts with me regarding Elizabeth Layton's art and writing.
For more paintings by Elizabeth Layton, please visit her website.