Art Tools of Elizabeth Rickert

In this series of Art Tools and Gears, we have invited guest artist Elizabeth Rickert from the USA to share with us her art-tools and offer some tips for fellow artists.

Originally from Salisbury, Maryland, Elizabeth studied art at Towson University and is now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With 45 years of experience in painting, Elizabeth continues to paint daily as a full-time artist and she specializes in using Oil Paint and Pastel mediums.

Qn: Would you be able to give our readers an introduction of yourself?

I was introduced to art by my mother, grandmother, and aunt, though none pursued art professionally. My talent was encouraged from youth through college after which I developed a personal style and started a body of work. For 5 years, I was a sculptor which then influenced a desire to represent the sculptural forms in nature through drawing and painting. My new medium was pastel, which I did for 30 years. Ten years ago, I switched to oils. My work has ranged from close, detailed impressions of individual plants, grasses, water gardens, marshes, koi ponds, and bird’s nests to distant landscapes. Each switch of series has taken years to research and develop.

Qn: What are some of the most useful painting techniques you have acquired that you could share with us?

Observation is key. Part of my technique is to be around the subject for a period of time in order to observe, sketch, photograph, and paint. Fieldwork is important to me. What does the subject look like in different lights? Will my representation show a scene which is beautiful but also consistent with reality, even if that scene only exists in my imagination? I might add koi to a pond which has no koi. A frond from one photo and a frond from another may make it into the composition of a Grasses painting.

From this point the actual painting begins, first with a layout of pastel onto the canvas. I begin with a loose layer of paint and slowly build many layers over that. I am a slow painter though I paint every day.

Qn: I see from the picture above that you own an impressive collection of brushes – What are the type of brushes that you use?

For layering and glazing, I use, Windsor & Newton Monarch- X long flat, Princeton Art & Brush and Escoda.

For everything else, I use Jack Richeson and Rosemary & Co.- bristle brushes, Ivory & Shiraz.

Qn: What do you use as your medium?

I have used Liquin as my medium but have become allergic to it, so I am trying Liquiglaze Natural now.

Qn: Is that your glass painting palette in the picture above? How do you clean off any hardened stains on the palette after painting?

I use dispensable razor blades by American Line to scrape off hardened stains.

Qn: From the two pictures above, I see that you own many different types/brands and colors of oil paints, such as those from Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, Mussini, Gamblin, Vasari, Sennelier, Willamsburg and Jack Richeson Oil Colors - The Shiva Series. What are your experiences using these oil colors above?
All these brands of oil colors produce good quality results, and I tend to experiment around to seek the best use for each type of paint. For example, a “quinacridone” color is meant to be used over another color as a glaze as it is 'thinner' than most other colors.

Qn: Do you use any alternative other than an easel to support your painting?

When I work on a large canvas, my easel is the wall. I have nails located at different heights so that I can paint flat against the wall, and easily move the painting up and down to eye level. The technique I use for the nest paintings (below), is to remove paint rather than add paint, so the wall gives me a vigorous surface against which to push.

Qn: I noticed from your website that other than oil-painting, you also do pastel-painting on paper. What type of paper do you use for pastel-painting?

I use Rives BFK as my paper when doing pastel-painting.

Qn: Lastly, which other artist/s do you think should be featured next?

Kat O’ Connor and Catherine Kirkwood.

We thank Elizabeth for sharing with us her art tools and paintings. For more of Elizabeth's artworks, please visit her website at

Check out other artist interviewees at


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