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Work Samples

Lead the Way

trees, landscape, gathering, relationship, clear skies, beauty, purple, blue, contemporary landscape, path
This oil painting is about following the good path. Symbolically, it is the path of life. The trees are made to appear as though they can join the walk. The trees represent people surrounded by beauty and all things good. Although they stand independently, they are not alone.

And the Two Shall Be One

watercolor, forest, trees, path, contemporary, landscape, painting, family, marriage, horizon, stream, path, union
This commissioned watercolor painting is about family. Symbolically, it represents the union of two, in marriage, as family members look on. The trees represent the key figures. To the left you can see a set of parents, entwined from their years of growth together. The two center trees, just to their right, represent the newly united couple. they, too, have begun to entwine as they start to grow as one. To the right, the three trees represent the siblings and wedding party, gathered to celebrate this union.

Six of A Kind

trees, orange, contemporary landscape, stream, gathering, family, oil painting
This oil painting is about family, all so similar yet different in their own way. They gather by the water to enjoy life together. Safe in their sturdy, vertical placement, the trees which represent human figures, share the same space. Beyond them lies the beauty of life to behold.

Five in a Row

trees, landscape, gathering, relationship, blue skies, symbolism, contemporary painting, family
This watercolor painting is about close relationships. Whether they be friends or family, they share similarities that make them close. The trees represent these people. It is a happy scene, they gather and they share the same space. Beyond them lies the beauty of life to behold and a bright horizon or future.


About Elizabeth

Howard County

Elizabeth Sumner's picture
Born and raised in Washington, DC, I now live and create in my Howard County home and studio.   I work in a variety of media but the bulk of my work is in watercolor, oil, or ink. Other works are completed using acrylic paint, colored pencil, encaustic wax and any combination of these, along with etching and relief printmaking. Many of my works are in private collections throughout the United States.   I hold a Master’s Degree in Art Education, with an emphasis on studio work from Towson... more

outdoor images, trees

Inspired by one of my favorite activities, hiking through nature, these works represent my feelings and most vivid and magical memories from those experiences. As I hike, I observe my surroundings both with my own eyes and with a camera. As I observe I contemplate, running ideas through my head and through the camera’s lens.

Although they are primarily images of trees, these works are about relationships, both relationships of the trees to the outdoors and human relationships in the world.

  • The Road Home

    outdoors, oil, painting, blue, green, open skies, horizon, contemporary landscape, trees, path
    In this oil painting, the trees line the path, guiding the viewer to the bright horizon. The Road Home is intended to be a happy escape where light bathes the surroundings and provides a sense of hope.
  • The Gathering.jpg

    trees, landscape, gathering
    Watercolor. The trees standing together in this painting represent a family gathering.
  • Stick Together

    birds, outdoors, oil, painting, blue skies, community, stick together
    Oil painting on canvas. These birds on a branch represent community sticking together to make the best of all that they experience.
  • A Hike with You

    landscape, woods, trees, path, oil painting, green, water, stones
    Oil on wood, all the best parts of taking a hike are in this painting: lush greenery, stones to cross a creek, bright skies, shaded walkways. The viewer is invited to follow the path into this oasis.
  • Two of a Kind

    trees, landscape, forest, two, couple, blue skies
    In this watercolor painting. the two trees in the forefront represent a close, happy, couple. Seemingly open arms, they prepare for an embrace.
  • Lotus

    watercolor, woman, trees, mother nature, lotus, water lilies, flowers, strength, purity, enlightenment
    In this surreal painting, I have combined real tree bark with traditional watercolor techniques for the trunk of the tree. This tree has the face and arms of a human female. Her braids are the limbs of the tree, her trunk is the tree's trunk. She presents the lotus blossom, a symbol of strength, purity and enlightenment, to the viewer.
  • Where They Meet

    path, woods, forest, trees, blue trees, acrylic, meeting,
    Acrylic on wood, this painting uses blue trees to represent human characters gathering to meet and talk outdoors. There is an intimacy as they lean toward one another.
  • Step into the Light

    watercolor, field, trees, path, contemporary, landscape, painting, friends
    This watercolor painting creates more of a fantasy image of texture, color and light. The trees bathe in the light together, much as sunbathing friends at a beach.

tiny paintings

All works in this collection are smaller than 6 inches in any direction and as small as 1.5 inches in height or width. They have all been created during the Covid19 pandemic as I isolate with my husband. The quiet and singularity are a constant theme that appears in these works.

  • Broken Fence

    fall colors, orange, house, broken fence, hope, alone, shadow, contemporary art, acrylic, painting, small works, mini painting, broken, fence
    Inspired by the fall colors of Maine, this piece is completed in acrylic paint. Created during the covid19 pandemic, there is great emotion in the fact that this house sits alone, shaded by a dark mountain yet presented with the field of color and beauty. The broken fence tumbles, off track yet still stands in part.
  • A Slice of Heaven

    fall colors, orange, house, broken fence, hope, alone, shadow, acrylic, painting, small works, mini painting, heaven, yellow grasses, contemporary landscape
    Our one solace, aside from each other, is to get outdoors and see the wonderful colors of nature that seem to ignore this pandemic and, instead, revel in the absence of humanity interfering with nature. Outdoors, pandemic or not, always an inspiration to me and my senses. In this small acrylic painting, I capture some of the colors that make me marvel at nature.
  • A Space of Our Own

    canoe, canoeing, river, boating, couple, alone, quiet, peace, water, landscape, outdoors, ink, watercolor
    Created during the pandemic, and in the midst of isolation, it is more a dream mixed with a memory of canoeing on the water with my spouse rather than stuck in a house with limited ability to be out and about. Being out on the water with nobody else around was a favored idea until we were given no choice but to be on our own with nobody else around. Completed in ink and watercolor, I show the peace and tranquility of having a space which we can call our own.
  • A Cloud Hangs Over

    farm, open field, house, singular, clouds, contemporary landscape
    A Cloud Hangs Over illustrates the feeling of being lucky in this open, outdoor environment but, inside that singular house, a cloud looms. This cloud, of course, represents the pandemic. Completed in ink and watercolor, it stands less than 2 inches high.
  • The Path Home

    path, sheep, field, gathering, house, isolated, ink, watercolor, contemporary landscape
    In this tiny painting which is a mere 2 inches high, there is a larger story of what is going on in American society during this pandemic. On the left, they gather as sheep, on the right, they isolate quietly in their home. In the middle is a path between them that is to be navigated during this pandemic. It is a straight and narrow path to be followed without veering too far in any one direction off of the path that will bring us home safely.


These works represent my feelings and most vivid and magical memories. I observe my surroundings both with my own eyes and with a camera. As I observe I contemplate, run ideas through my head and through the camera’s lens.

These works are about relationships, both relationships with nature and human relationships.

  • Persea

    leaves, evergreen, face, contemporay painting, mythology, Egyptian, Greek, plant, face, male
    The title of this acrylic painting “Persea” references both the plant leaves and the figure in the painting. Persea is both a genus of evergreens and references the "persea" tree of Egypt, considered sacred. It is thought that the name Perseus, the Greek mythological hero, is derived from this plant name, persea.
  • Remembering

    female, flower, thought, loss, gerbera daisy, orange, girl, light, window, hope
    "Remembering" is a watercolor about loss. The Gerbera Daisy stands for innocence and purity, some of which we lose when we lose someone very close to us. But the Gerbera Daisy represents beauty and cheerfulness, as well. Those memories, remembering a great love lost, are beautiful and can bring some cheer to a sad heart. The light in the window, also, provides a sense of hope for brighter days, as the girl sits stoicly, accepting what has happened.
  • Innocence

    child, relationship, pink bear, teddy bear, hug, eyes, security, embrace. girl
    This watercolor painting is that of a mother and child. Or is it the mother? The figure behind the child is comforting, with hands embracing the child, if not the mother than a mother figure. The innocent gaze shows trust in the comfort being given.
  • Pansée (Thought)

    reflection, female, relationship, thought, self reflection, pansy, pansée
    This watercolor painting is about self reflection. The title, Pansée, is French for 'thought'. A play on this word is used in the creation of the flower behind the two figures, a pansy.
  • The Meeting

    covid19, coronavirus, camaraderie, comradery, friendship, meeting, forbidden, trees, purple, shadows, watercolor, painting
    This watercolor painting was created during the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic. The idea of meeting up with a friend seemed so taboo, I created a painting out of the longing to meet with a friend. Hidden between the trees, these two figures join in the shadows for a moment of camaraderie as the trees watch on.
  • Buddies

    cat, boy, relationship, hug, portrait, pet painting, entwine
    This watercolor portrait shows the close relationship between a young boy and his pet cat. Their bodies entwine and seem to meld together in their closeness.
  • She

    reflection, thought, relationship, woman, women, self reflection, relief print, printmaking, watercolor, handpainted, orange, light
    This relief print, handpainted in watercolor is illuminated in bright colors of self reflection. It's about looking at yourself and seeing the best and brightest reflection back.