Elizabeth Luallen, Artist
Elizabeth Luallen (1935-1995) was an American artist of the 20th Century. The daughter of a Texas oilman and a South African opera singer, Elizabeth Luallen was born in New York City 2 August 1932 as Elizabeth Lena Compton. Graduate of the New York Drama Academy, Luallen began her career as a commercial artist in the Ohio Valley in Kentucky in late 1950s. Her early work centers on pen and ink drawings of historic buildings of Kentucky and Virgina which she penned from 1961-1979. By the end the 1970s, Luallen had begun work in her own medium similar to Encaustic, using colored inks and wax melted onto handmade Italian papers in a mixture of oil pastels. She entitled this medium, Endless Summer. In 1980, she relocated to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia USA where she continued her drawings of historic buildings, in addition to her new medium of melted wax and pastels. In 1985, she opened a gallery in Alexandria, Virginia devoted exclusively to her original wax paintings.
Unique Medium of Ink, Wax, and Heat: Endless Summer
In the medium she pioneered, Luallen created an ink drawing which she would then overlay with wax pastels under heat. The ink bleeds through the wax pastel colors giving a ‘batik-like’ effect, as well as rendering the work as if it were in oil. The work shares qualities of both pastels and oils. Her style is reminiscent of the Neo-Impressionists, such as Maurice Prendergast, however with American Folk tones. The subject matter of her works varies from interpretations of early 20th century photographs to indistinct figures that border on the surreal. Her works are rare, but can be found in various private collections around the world.
Historical Depictions of Colonial America
Aside from her later wax paintings, Luallen devoted much her life to the illustration of Colonial America as well as historic buildings of Kentucky.