Born and raised in the flatlands of the Mississippi Delta, Elizabeth Barenis began painting at a very early age. Her parents, who owned a music store, nourished Elizabeth's creative spirit by enrolling her in private art lessons during childhood. Elizabeth completed high school at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, where, although math and science were the focus, she still received a painting award. Art continued to have a presence in her life throughout her college years at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she studied many subjects and techniques, including modern physics and analog photography. In 2004, after graduation and a summer at the Chautauqua Institute for Art, Elizabeth focused her efforts primarily on painting. Since then, she has been working to refine her style and develop her artistic career. She has been living and working in St. Petersburg since 2015.
Elizabeth's subject matter is grounded in reality as it is derived from her photography. She describes her style as “Abstract Precisionism,” through which she generalizes forms using clean and precise lines. This technique, when observed closely, allows the viewer to connect the forms and discover a story, similar to finding shapes in the clouds. Yet from a distance, the distinct lines become less apparent, and the viewer can experience the feeling of the moment as a whole. Up close, it appears that everything is separate and endless stories abound. But from a more distant perspective, we see that each individual shape composes a greater whole and that there is but one story – that of connectedness. With the Emerging Artist Grant, Elizabeth plans to continue her current work of large scale California landscapes while also devoting time to gaining perspective through museum visits, discovering new inspiration through traveling, exhibiting in galleries when possible, and exploring new and grander ways to express the beauty of life through painting.