Every good artist knows the value of great teachers. People who “show us the light” and open our eyes to new tools and processes. A little over 15 years ago, I sat on Elizabeth Ratliff’s crusty college couch while she introduced me into the world of painting. I think it’s safe to say that I have been hooked ever since.
Planting seeds for others creative minds to grow is still everyday business for my old friend. No matter if it’s through her art classes she leads at Room In The Inn or at her boozy and fun Corks and Canvas events, Elizabeth is still showing others the light.
Photographer, Elizabeth Ratliff is mainly a portrait photographer who likes to paint. However, the majority of her days are spent wrangling her little kiddos with her husband, and so naturally the artist’s family became her muse.
Her latest personal project, Lynda and Steve is a kid photo comedy series that came about from Ratliff’s best friend Melissa and her always pretending their toddlers were an old married couple. They would make up quirky dialogue between them and decided that it was too funny not to share.
“This has been such a fun way for me to force myself to photograph for pleasure and not just for clients and work. Melissa and I get together with our children at least once or twice a week anyway, so my photography mixed with Melissa's wit... Lynda and Steve was bound to happen.
We throw these together basically whenever we find the time. We've got several ideas rolling around, and welcome requests,” says Ratliff.
WCG: How did you get to be where you are now as an artist?
Ratliff: Photography started as a hobby for me in my school years. About 10 years ago, after seminars, classes and workshops, I realized I could make money taking photos for others. So, I did. It started as a side job and grew to my main gig.
I just love art and creativity. I ENJOY it. Little things can make you feel big things, and this goes for a painting that speaks to you or a song that strikes you, etc. I try to incorporate this into my life wherever I can, whether it be in my Corks & Canvas classes, teaching art at Room in the Inn, or getting together with my best friend to photograph our kids doing funny stuff.
WCG: What does being an artist mean to you?
Ratliff: To me, being an artist means expressing yourself through your creative vessels. Whether you are doodling on paper while on hold with Comcast, photographing a wedding, or designing a mural, you are using that vessel the only way you know how. That way is unique from anyone else's, and there is magic in that.
WCG: What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work?
Ratliff: My ultimate goal is always to be able to provide for my family. My art does that for me. I never take for granted that I do what I love. I can only hope it lasts.
WCG: What two art-related achievements are you the proudest of?
Ratliff: I am most proud of my time spent teaching at Room in the Inn. It's been almost 5 years, multiple times a month. Teaching and creating art with our homeless community has been hands down the most rewarding thing I have done besides being a mom.
WCG: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Ratliff: My best advice for a young artist is to be patient and committed. Your creativity is a muscle you have to exercise, so don't give up. You will continue to surprise yourself.
Ratliff’s closing remarks:
“Send us requests! We want to hear your ideas about what you think Lynda and Steve should do. If you have something clever, please, send it our way.”
Keep up with Lynda and Steve at:
Elle Jackson Photography: