Noble Beasts

Join Elizabeth for the opening reception of her first solo show “Noble Beasts” on April 5th from 7-9pm at Downtown Books and News (67 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801). There will be music, wine, snacks, and, of course, lots of regal beasts. An extension of her “Birds of War” series, “Noble Beasts” explores the symbolic relationships between historical leaders and animals using zoomorphic transformation of classic portraiture. Guests are encouraged (but not required) to dress in Renaissance costumes, as animals, or as animals in Renaissance costumes. All guests that wear costumes will be entered into a drawing to win a full set of “Noble Beasts” 5x7 Prints (8 total) signed by the artist.

"Lionheart" 24x36 oil on canvas.  King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, ruled England for 10 years, but only spent six months of that time in his country. For the majority of his reign, Richard was off fighting the crusades. His most famous battle was the battle for the Holy Land, where he is said to have fought valiantly against Saladin. His prowess in war earned him the name "Lionheart."  The male lion's primary job is to patrol and protect their territory. Indeed, King Richard took his territory in hand, usurping his father, and fought to not only rule England but to spread the Christian faith wherever his sword would reach. Though he was a hero to Christians and the English, King Richard was likewise a terror to Jews and Muslims.  Unlike the male lion, who is known to be affectionate and loyal to his pride, it would seem that Richard was most concerned with war and conquest. It is said that he even jokingly proclaimed that he would sell London if he could.  Richard found his end when one of his own soldiers shot him with a crossbow, as revenge for killing his family.  Painting inspired by the 19th-century portrait of Richard the Lionheart by Merry-Joseph Blondel.

"Lionheart" 24x36 oil on canvas.

King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, ruled England for 10 years, but only spent six months of that time in his country. For the majority of his reign, Richard was off fighting the crusades. His most famous battle was the battle for the Holy Land, where he is said to have fought valiantly against Saladin. His prowess in war earned him the name "Lionheart."

The male lion's primary job is to patrol and protect their territory. Indeed, King Richard took his territory in hand, usurping his father, and fought to not only rule England but to spread the Christian faith wherever his sword would reach.
Though he was a hero to Christians and the English, King Richard was likewise a terror to Jews and Muslims.

Unlike the male lion, who is known to be affectionate and loyal to his pride, it would seem that Richard was most concerned with war and conquest. It is said that he even jokingly proclaimed that he would sell London if he could.

Richard found his end when one of his own soldiers shot him with a crossbow, as revenge for killing his family.

Painting inspired by the 19th-century portrait of Richard the Lionheart by Merry-Joseph Blondel.

“The Warlock of the Rhine” 11x14 Oil on Canvas.   Prince Rupert of the Rhine was a German Prince and the nephew of Charles I of England. He had a notable military career which began at the tender age of 14. He is most remembered as a Royalist commander during the English Civil War.  Rupert had a sardonic wit and frank disposition that earned him many enemies during the war. He had a reputation for being a particularly ruthless commander but the jury is still out on whether his reputation was earned or manufactured by his enemies. He is said to have burned several cities to the ground on a whim and was accused of executing prisoners of war as a means of “negotiation.” There were also many accusations of witchcraft propagated by the Parliamentarians.  Rupert’s pet poodle “Boy” accompanied him everywhere from 1642 until the time of its death. The dog was widely suspected of being the prince’s familiar. It was said that the dog was a shapeshifter, that it could find hidden treasure, was invulnerable to attack, and that it could catch bullets in its mouth.  Painting inspired by “Prince Rupert Portrayed in Roman Garb” artist unknown, date unknown (probably 1640s).

“The Warlock of the Rhine” 11x14 Oil on Canvas.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine was a German Prince and the nephew of Charles I of England. He had a notable military career which began at the tender age of 14. He is most remembered as a Royalist commander during the English Civil War.

Rupert had a sardonic wit and frank disposition that earned him many enemies during the war. He had a reputation for being a particularly ruthless commander but the jury is still out on whether his reputation was earned or manufactured by his enemies. He is said to have burned several cities to the ground on a whim and was accused of executing prisoners of war as a means of “negotiation.” There were also many accusations of witchcraft propagated by the Parliamentarians.

Rupert’s pet poodle “Boy” accompanied him everywhere from 1642 until the time of its death. The dog was widely suspected of being the prince’s familiar. It was said that the dog was a shapeshifter, that it could find hidden treasure, was invulnerable to attack, and that it could catch bullets in its mouth.

Painting inspired by “Prince Rupert Portrayed in Roman Garb” artist unknown, date unknown (probably 1640s).

"The Maid of Orleans" 24x36 oil on canvas.  Joan of Arc, also known as "The Maid of Orleans," was born a peasant. Her family lived in an isolated area of Eastern France that remained loyal to the French crown during the 100 years war.   At 16 Joan claimed to have seen holy visions, instructing her to support Charles Vll of France and help defeat the English. So Joan set out to get an audience with the King and convince him that she could help save France. She succeeded in getting her audience and managed to become a figurehead of the French forces.   It is absolutely astonishing to me that a 16 year old illiterate farm girl was not only able to convince a monarch that God spoke to her, she was able to convince an entire army that God was on their side when she rode with them. Indeed the tide began to turn for the French when Joan came on the scene. For they believed they now had God on their side.   The English despised Joan, it is said that English soldiers would shout "go back to your cows!" with great vitriol when they saw her with her flag on the battlefield.   When the English captured Joan in 1430 they set their minds to having her executed. They attempted to charge her with Heresy, but she was suprisingly shrewd in the face of their inquisitions.   The court became frustrated and settled on a cross-dressing charge. Joan had chosen to dress in men's clothing, presumably to protect herself from men. At the time this was an executionable offense.   So Joan was burned at the stake for wearing men's clothing and then burned twice more to prove that she was no holy woman. She was 19.  It is interesting to speculate about Joan. Some scholars now say she might have been epileptic or schizophernic. She was prone to outbursts and visions. Things that could be explained away by modern medicine.   Regardless, Joan, a teenage girl who couldn't read or write, a humble girl indeed, managed to convince a king and an entire army that she was a messenger of God. And that's pretty impressive, regardless of her mental state.   Painting inspired by "Joan of Arc" by Albert Lynch (1851-1912).

"The Maid of Orleans" 24x36 oil on canvas.

Joan of Arc, also known as "The Maid of Orleans," was born a peasant. Her family lived in an isolated area of Eastern France that remained loyal to the French crown during the 100 years war.


At 16 Joan claimed to have seen holy visions, instructing her to support Charles Vll of France and help defeat the English. So Joan set out to get an audience with the King and convince him that she could help save France. She succeeded in getting her audience and managed to become a figurehead of the French forces.


It is absolutely astonishing to me that a 16 year old illiterate farm girl was not only able to convince a monarch that God spoke to her, she was able to convince an entire army that God was on their side when she rode with them. Indeed the tide began to turn for the French when Joan came on the scene. For they believed they now had God on their side.


The English despised Joan, it is said that English soldiers would shout "go back to your cows!" with great vitriol when they saw her with her flag on the battlefield.


When the English captured Joan in 1430 they set their minds to having her executed. They attempted to charge her with Heresy, but she was suprisingly shrewd in the face of their inquisitions.


The court became frustrated and settled on a cross-dressing charge. Joan had chosen to dress in men's clothing, presumably to protect herself from men. At the time this was an executionable offense.


So Joan was burned at the stake for wearing men's clothing and then burned twice more to prove that she was no holy woman. She was 19.

It is interesting to speculate about Joan. Some scholars now say she might have been epileptic or schizophernic. She was prone to outbursts and visions. Things that could be explained away by modern medicine.


Regardless, Joan, a teenage girl who couldn't read or write, a humble girl indeed, managed to convince a king and an entire army that she was a messenger of God. And that's pretty impressive, regardless of her mental state.


Painting inspired by "Joan of Arc" by Albert Lynch (1851-1912).

"The Queen of Sacrifice" 24x30 Oil on Canvas. (Originally created for the “Birds of War” series.  In her portraits Elizabeth I of England wears all the trappings of royalty--but these decorations are more than just for show. Every stitch and jewel is symbolic. Elizabethan propoganda. Tudor roses decorate the fabric to prove her connection to the Tudors. Pearls symbolize purity. Red, black, white, and gold, prove her wealth and status. Crosses show her connection to God (she was convinced she had a direct line). And, often, a pelican appears on or around her person.   The pelican symbolizes her selfless love for her people, a mother’s love, because, according to legend, a female pelican would pluck her own breast to feed her dying young with her own blood. The pelican was also a symbol, in the Middle Ages, of Jesus’ crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice, and of the Eucharist. The bird to represent the queen, then, was an easy choice.  Painting inspired by "Queen Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes" Unknown Artist, 1600.

"The Queen of Sacrifice" 24x30 Oil on Canvas. (Originally created for the “Birds of War” series.

In her portraits Elizabeth I of England wears all the trappings of royalty--but these decorations are more than just for show. Every stitch and jewel is symbolic. Elizabethan propoganda. Tudor roses decorate the fabric to prove her connection to the Tudors. Pearls symbolize purity. Red, black, white, and gold, prove her wealth and status. Crosses show her connection to God (she was convinced she had a direct line). And, often, a pelican appears on or around her person.

The pelican symbolizes her selfless love for her people, a mother’s love, because, according to legend, a female pelican would pluck her own breast to feed her dying young with her own blood. The pelican was also a symbol, in the Middle Ages, of Jesus’ crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice, and of the Eucharist. The bird to represent the queen, then, was an easy choice.

Painting inspired by "Queen Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes" Unknown Artist, 1600.