Artist Liz Gribin’s work on view at Gorse Mill Studios holiday show
After stumbling upon Liz Gribin’s paintings while visiting the Hamptons, Newbury Fine Arts gallery director Liz Novick said, “It was an emotional experience for me. … I just was completely floored by (Gribin’s) work.”
When Novick returned to Boston, she did some research to find Gribin, and the Newbury Street gallery has been carrying her work since 2003. By 2005, “We plunged into a one-woman show,” said Novick.
While she is represented by multiple galleries, Gribin’s workspace is at Needham’s Gorse Mill Studios. She moved from the Hamptons to Needham in 2010 to be closer to her family.
Gribin describes her style as “figurative with abstract elements.”
Most of her paintings feature images of women, although she has also created works of her grandsons playing musical instruments. Interestingly, she neither painted a self portrait nor a picture of her husband of 54 years, Nat.
“When you’re an artist, there are times when you’re on and times when you’re off,” said Gribin. “Sometimes you paint things and say, ‘How did I do that?’”
Describing how she created the image “Variations of Vermillion,” Gribin said, “When I painted that, it painted itself.”
An artist’s beginnings
Gribin was born in London but moved to the U.S. in 1939 after her father made a sudden decision to get out of Europe in the shadow of World War II. In fact, her uncle had to pack up their home and ship their furniture since Gribin, her parents and two older brothers unexpectedly left for New York during a vacation in Switzerland.
By age 7, Gribin started taking art lessons. Asked when she realized she wanted to be an artist, she said, “I think I always knew.”
Eventually she enrolled at BU where she was one of only five painting majors. Members of her class were able to paint from nude male models, but the professor ended up giving one some money to buy a jock strap to wear in class.
About two weeks after graduation in 1956, Gribin married Nat.
“It was love at first sight,” she said.
Unlike some men in that era, Gribin’s husband encouraged her work.
“He was the most supportive (husband) you could ever imagine,” she said.
He made sure she had a studio in their house that they built in Hamptons with a window that looked out on a lovely view.
Gribin credits artist Paul Wood with helping her explore her abilities. He helped her break away from more academic oil painting and explore an abstract, freer style.
“Without him I would never be where I am (today),” she said.
Some day she hopes her pieces will be accepted into a museum. In the immediate future, she will be participating in Gorse Mill Studios’ annual holiday show and sale.
Gorse Mills Holiday Open Studios will take place Dec. 2-3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 31 Thorpe Road, Needham. For more information, visit https://www.gorsemillstudios.com/events.