Elizabeth Parsons was born in 1953 in Gloucestershire and educated at Cheltenham. After she left school - "trained for nothing", as she puts succinctly - she knew that the only thing she wanted to do was paint. For 10 years she supported herself in a variety of ways including working with horses and gardening. In 1980 she set off for Italy, determined to meet Pietro Annigoni and devote herself fully to painting. "I had always loved painting but at school all that I wanted to draw was horses, and this was not encouraged".
Having arrived in Florence, Elizabeth Parsons called on Annigoni, who kindly agreed to see her but told her that, although he felt she was talented, he was too old to teach her. Instead he sent her to the famous tutor, Nerina Simi. She then spent six years at the Signorina's studio, being thoroughly grounded in the art of sketching and composition. Simi taught her to see the depth and variety of colours in a white wall and shadow; tonal values became incredibly important, especially when she was made to draw for weeks on end with a fragile point of charcoal.
Elizabeth Parsons now has many pupils of her own and finds that the most important part of her teaching is grounding those pupils in the basic skills.
On her return to England in 1986, Elizabeth Parsons sold her work privately and held a number of exhibitions in Knightsbridge, in Cork Street. Her work was also accepted for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. She has sold works to private collections all over England, America, France and Canada.
Following marriage and the arrival of a son, her painting time is at a premium. Accompanying her husband on his frequent fishing trips to Southern Ireland gives her ample scope for painting the faded grandeur of Ireland's country houses as well as on plein-air. "The sky moves so quickly there and the light is wonderful."
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