It’s no secret that paying for graduate school takes a lot of money, which is why Elizabeth Flood applied to be a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) fellow. Flood, an artist from Charlottesville, was accepted as one of four artists to receive the prestigious award for painting in the 2017-2018 Fellowship Program at the VMFA. In total, 28 artists across a wide variety of artistic mediums received fellowship awards for this year’s program.
Flood mostly works with oils and paints based on her observations of the landscape scenes around her. “It’s kind of where I find the most inspiration,” she said in an interview with RVA Mag. “I also do some drawings from charcoal, as well, but the majority of my work is definitely oil paints.” She also eloquently describes working with charcoal as “the painter’s pencil.”
However, it takes a lot more than just painting to pay for grad school. Flood plans on receiving a Master’s of Fine Arts from Boston University, after graduating from University of Virginia in 2014. At UVA she was taught by Dr. Phil Geiger, who recommended that she apply for a fellowship from the VMFA.
Flood has always been interested in painting, but she also has interests in more esoteric fields, majoring in history and religious studies. It was only later that she realized that she wanted to make a career out of her art. This led to an intensive landscape painting program at the Mount Gretna School of Art after she graduated from UVA.
“It’s a six week program where you’re with all these other students who are just recently out of undergrad or grad school,” said Flood. “And you just paint all day, every day for six weeks; and it really just got me into this working mindset to always be painting and learn though painting.” Since then, she’s continued to paint based on her immediate observations, many of which come from her hometown of Charlottesville.
Flood plans on making painting her career and permanent form of income in future. For the time being, however, she is focusing on honing her craft and saving up for graduate school.
“And as a way to financially sustain [my art career], I would love to teach at a college level, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m going to grad school, so I can have that degree and be able to teach in college,” said Flood. Given the opportunity, she has decided that she will teach both painting and drawing and pass on her experience to students and the next generation of up and coming artists.
“A lot of my background in painting is very much observational…we looked at the figure, we looked a lot at landscape, and I think that’s a really valuable tool to teach,” said Flood in conclusion. “I’d love to pass that onto some students.”
While this is the first grant that Flood has received, she has applied for more while taking her place as a VMFA fellow. She has, however, been featured in several art shows and galleries, including group shows in both Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as a solo show called Heavy Air in Charlottesville’s Kardinal Hall.
Over the past year, Flood’s life has been filled with applying for graduate school. Now that she has selected Boston University, she said, “I can back into applying for shows.”
*Cover painting by Elizabeth Flood, Covenent