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Work Samples

The Air was fresh and newly formed.

This image is part of a series of drawings, which scroll past a viewing window. This drawing is on rose colored paper, and drawn using ink and gouache, applied with a stick and brush.

The End

The End and the The Beginning, when the dark and light are redistributed and all is well again. Gouache and ink on Orange Paper 30.5"x 20.5" 2017

Rising August Sun

Deity hovers above the sunrise. Ink and Gouache on blue paper 30.5"x20.5" 2017

Shooing Away, Calling Back

The dark faced mother is the magnet of all walking, crawling and flying beasts. She repels us and draws us in. 30.5"x 20.5" Gouache and Ink on blue paper, 2017


About Liz

Baltimore City

Liz Downing's picture
E. Elizabeth Downing graduated from Auburn University in Alabama and then the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she studied painting under Grace Hartigan. Elizabeth has created musical performance art, toured plays and concerts, painted theatrical sets and costumes and has created film scores for experimental film makers. Her visual images arise from the landscapes of the Tallapoosa River in Alabama, which was dammed in the 1920's, flooding ancestral graves. Her focus is light upon this water... more

Dream Images

This group of work is from a series of ink and gouache drawings which illustrate dreams. These dreams, which have had a profound effect on my life, I have collected and experienced at pivitol points of upheaval and change. This work is created upon large sheets of deeply colored paper. Each dream is illustrated in 6-8 drawings and taped together, end to end. These drawings, I put on a scroll and roll through a viewing window, in a device called a Crankie. I accompany these scrolling drawings with songs, which I hope further illuminate the meanings.

  • Baptist Church Steeple came flowing, bell ringing

    In this dream, womb waters had just broken and sent a flood down the river, sweeping away church steeples and household items.
  • Winter Chalice

    In this Dream, there was a Chalice on the table and I was told not to drink from it or I would receive unwanted information. I was repelled and enticed in wave like motions, back and forth. All the while I was admiring the ancient cup.
  • Air Newly Formed

    The Air in this dream was like Air that had never before been lived in or breathed.
  • Bear on the train

    This Bear was always riding the train in my recurring dream. He would get off the train deep in the woods and head toward my family home. I knew he was coming and was always, in the dream, trying to relocate my family from the couch and recliner, so they wouldn't be crushed by the bear's footsteps. The Bear grew larger with each step and I grew smaller as he approached.
  • Lace and Flowers and Everything Beautiful

    Lace and Flowers painted with gouache and colored pencil on deeply pink paper.
  • Wistful Moon, ever falling

    Drawing, Ink, Surrealism
    Moon longs for her Mother, the Earth. This piece is made of ink and gouache on orange paper, with puppet hands.

The Sun and Moon Series

These pale colored papers of Cerulean, Robins Egg and Blush, allow the transparencies of the sky, such as the motion of the clouds and the faces of the Deities, to be seen. Using gouache and ink, I can draw with liquid lines, the silhouettes of pines, whom I love. How better to conjure water than with another liquid. Dots and lines of white gouache are capable to describe light on water. All these things make it possible for me to relay the beauty of the land and water and calm the angst for a little while.


These Ink and Gouache drawings are 30.5"x 20.5"on deeply colored papers of Orange and Tangerine, created in 2017. The series is for a Crankie/Silhouette Puppet piece with a sound track and live singing. The story grew from a single wooden puppet whose beautiful glass eyes and slightly cracked head mesmerized me. This was a puppet from the Punch and Judy story and I began researching other wooden puppets from the play and began to draw them trying to capture the life in the wooden faces. The story these puppets historically portray is an unsavory story and needed some growth and updating, though the violence remains. As the images scroll by, portraits of the puppets, I interact with them using silhouetted figures. I sing the characters pleas and exaltations to the audience.

  • Judy and baby

    Judy is thrilled, as she has just saved the baby, thereby saving the future. Punch had come home exhilerated from killing the policeman, the holy man, the executioner and the devil. Punch began to toss the baby about.
  • Policeman, giver of law and order.

    The policeman is called to check out the disturbance. Judy and Punch are quarreling loudly. Punch was caught chasing Pretty Polly, who didn't like it. Niether did Judy.
  • Executioner and Eternally Crying Companion

    Punch tricks the Executioner into killing himself, thereby killing Death. Devil becomes impatient, receiving no new souls, and goes up to see what is the matter.
  • The Sparkling and Triumpant End

    Sparkling Peace, Judy Saves the Baby
    This is the final piece in the 20 piece scrolling Crankie. At this point, Judy has fed Punch and all the other characters, except the Baby, into the sausage machine. Judy feeds the sausage to the people, redistributing good and evil, light and dark. The accompanying music is Sparkling Peace.
  • Judy saves Baby

    Ink and cut paper
  • Punch

    Punch thrills at Chaos and his Bullying Stick. Too much power, he accumulates and then Judy must hypnotize him and turn him into sausage.
  • Babylonian women Dismember the Devil

    Gouache and Ink on Tangerine Paper
    This piece is on Tangerine colored paper, 20.5"Wx 30.5" tall. The title is Babylonian Women Dismember the Devil. This taken from a historical basrelief and placed into my refigured Punch and Judy story.

Venus, Take a bite of my cake.

This group of Gouache and Ink drawings , 30.5"x 20.5", were created for the Crankie Festival at the Creative Alliance, January 2017, and inspired by Immanuel Velikovsky's "Worlds In Collision". Velikovsky studied ancient civilizations to validate his theories on cosmic cataclysmic events and how they affected Earth's history and ancient people. My favorite story of his, thus the song that accompanies the Crankie, is this:
In 1500 BCE Venus was ejected from Jupiter and became a comet which crossed the Earth's path every 50 years for many centuries. Women of the Sumerian and Babylonian villages would stand guard on their roof tops for the entirery of the year lifting up cakes of worship the the Queen of Heaven, Venus.

Piggly Wiggly

These ink drawings were created for illustrating a song. The drawings will be put on a roll and cranked to roll past a viewing window as I sing their story. This group of drawings was created for the Crankie Festival at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD in 2016

Me and Mama went to town
To the Piggly Wiggly, to the Big Bear
grocery stores with animal names
grocery stores filled with poison creme
like creme horns and creme puffs
like the creme filled check out lady.

Shape Shifters on the Tallapoosa River

These are paintings on canvas using oil and are mostly involving the action which occurs when matter is transforming.
The air and the glow from within the beings of these paintings are engaged in a song, humming vibrations which I strain always to hear.
This work was created between the years of 2011 and 2015.

  • Ancestor

    This oil on canvas is of the ancestors whose burial ground is under the lake. This lake was created by damming the Tallapoosa River. The resulting lake flooded many small towns and burial grounds.
  • Stuffed Doll with Eye Portals

    stuffed doll
    The guide on the doll's shoulder will lead you into which ever eye portal you wish to enter.
  • Bottle Tree for Haints

    Bottle Tree
    There is a tradition in Alabama of hanging bottles in a tree just outside the door of a newly deceased person. The newly dead will try to enter the old home place but will be sucked into the bottles instead. Releaving the living inhabitants of the problem of haints.
  • spirit animal reflection

    Reflections in the water
    Looking deep into the water you will find your true reflection.
  • Spirit underneath, ready to rise

    spirits underwater, oil
    Just before dawn, the spirits rise from the water and float around the fields until the dew falls again. This painting is oil on canvas.
  • Cloud Spirit

    Impish cloud spirit, waiting for the proper moment to spring. oil on canvas
  • Spirit rider

    Ghost hat, worn by a horse person, when attending a cloud stirring ceremony.
  • Stag on Pink

    This oil on canvas is of a Stag in August.
  • Doll stuffed with Clouds

    This oil on canvas is a portrait of a stuffed doll that I stitched with needle and thread, against a cloud filled sky.
  • sky ceremonial headdress

    I painted the sky years ago and waited for someone to come inhabit it. One morning in the still darkness, I began to stitch with paint this hood and then the ties for the deer head, not knowing from stitch to stitch what was about to appear.

Gourds, Moths and Silhouettes with Visitors

These oil on wood and canvas paintings are of organic forms of wings and wood grain. I also included in this series a story painting of the cart driver and the maiden. The cart driver would take the maiden to visit her lover ever night, from the shore to his hut. One night the cart driver arrived early to retrieve the maiden and saw her climb up from the shores out of the dark lake. Since he had seen her, he had to take her place in the water and become a maiden who lived in the lake and visited her lover every night in his hut. This painting was created on the bottom of an antique drawer. It is 15"x 15", oil on wood panel.

Woven Dolls, pinecones and reflections

small oil paintings on canvas
I made cloth dolls with fur hair and button eyes and cloth lips all created using stuffing and whip stitches. These dolls have riders on their shoulders who are guides. This is the last stage of their creation, to make paintings of them so they might live in spaces between.

Gnosis and Needle Work

These are paintings on wood which I am working to encourage the glow from within the images to be seen by human eyes.

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