Art is Everywhere: Elizabeth Martin on Focus, Will and Passion

Anyone attending the Phoenix Rising School Art Auction on June 24th will have an unusual opportunity: to bid on a print by well-known but publicity shy local artist Elizabeth Martin. She has donated copies of five of her most popular paintings, some of which are featured in this article. Here she shares her perspective on art, focus, and pursuing your passions.

Art is a wonderful thing for discovering self and developing focus. It’s all about what you’re interested in. If you just get interested in something, you focus on what you wonder about. You look at a flower and then you look at it a little more, a little deeper. The longer you look at any one thing, the more you see. It’s all I can do to stay in that place, and that’s a focus.

There’s a sense of love about that and appreciation, so it becomes a communion between you and what you’re observing. The whole rest of the world closes down around you and it’s an individual, beautiful relationship between you and what is there. It’s really all about will. The will comes in with your interest. If you’re not interested in something, why would you want to use your will on it? What do you love? You have a right to be interested in what you’re interested in. That should be applauded.

You can get angry at your little piece of what you’re looking at, especially if you’re trying to draw it. You’ll look at your drawing and you’ll say, “Wait a minute: this doesn’t look anything like that.” The first thing you want to do is get discouraged and not bother again. But if you’re more interested in it, you’ll persevere. I just get determined. I do it again and it’s not right, I get disgusted and discouraged, I go away for a while, I come back and I do it again. I have an epiphany while I’m away.

That’s how you begin to learn. You are your own best teacher. You can get praise and you can get criticism, but you are your own most constructive critic. You’ve got to praise yourself. “I did this. I’m happy. But I think I could do this better.”  You just keep looking, and are willing to change what you see in your mind. If you want to make a flat picture of anything, you have to take it apart in your mind.

Teachers are important, but your teachers are going to come and go. If you’re still interested, you’ll go on to the next teacher and they’ll have a different way. It’s you that gets one thing from this teacher, and another thing from that teacher. You need to be inspired and given an idea. That’s what a great teacher does. It’s a great teacher who teaches you to be free.

I had an interesting art teacher. He had us go out and pick up something in nature and bring it back into the class. Then we had to do a pencil rendering of it, like a photograph. Well I didn’t know how to do that.  This was a six week project. We had no idea it was going to be something we would work on for six weeks, so we just went out and picked something. I had a twig. Unfortunately it had leaves on it, and they kept crumbling, so I kept having to change those every day. Now I understand how a leaf dries out. I’ve seen the change, day to day, in a leaf drying out over six weeks. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. This was a simple, good discipline. We would work on that for a good hour every day.

Then we’d do something entirely different. Our next project was, “Bring in a poem that you like.” Then he gave us charcoals and said, “I want you to render the essence of the feeling of that poem on a piece of paper.” That’s totally abstract, so I went from the complete literal to the complete abstract, but they were both an excellent learning. An abstract can change a thousand times in your mind, but you’ve got to keep reading that poem and see how you feel about it, and that changes, too. This is learning how to get your focused intent out. Your intent is to see better. It’s the only intent you really have. It expands you, because you’re really tapping into something. You’ve got to discipline yourself.  Art should be fun, but you need discipline if you’re going to get further. It’s a combination. The reward comes through perseverance.

Art is not only about drawing and painting things. Everybody is an artist, in a sense. I used to just call myself a painter, and no one knew that I was an artist, because they always make that upper in their mind. “I can’t even draw a straight line.” Well, neither can any artist. We’ve got to take art out of this big, goopy, on-a-pedestal place. When you play on a beach and you wet the sand down and built sand castles – that’s art! It’s the same thing. A cook is not an artist? My God, a really good cook is an artist. Art is everywhere.

The Paintings

For the first time, Elizabeth talked in depth about the symbols in her paintings and what they mean to her. “It’s what I see,” she says. “Someone else may see something completely different, and I want them to have that freedom.” Some of her art was inspired by know ledge she has gained at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, a school of ancient wisdom where she has been a student for more than 25 years.  Some of the terms she uses may therefore be unfamiliar to non- RSE students. For more information about RSE, visit

The Violin Player

This one is all about the quantum field and string theory. With the violin player, the whole point is that she’s coming out of an arch. I couldn’t put the quantum field in a good understanding – it was so abstract to me. Then I heard someone say that there’s a point in an arch where it’s going up and then it starts coming down. At that point, they can’t measure anything. There’s no measurement when it stopped going up and started coming down. The keystone is a key. Planck figured out what that missing measurement is and that number is Planck’s constant. At the top there’s a dot that marks the keystone. There are other music notes, but one is not a music note. That’s the symbol  for half of Planck’s constant. The quantum field that comes out of that is everywhere.

If you look at the face, it looks somewhat oriental, somewhat not. If you notice these two strings coming out of the sides, it’s a mask! It highlights the fact that it’s a mask on that face. The Sphinx has the same thing. The Sphinx is hinted at in this painting. The mask over the face is the mystery. The quantum strings in string theory are the violin strings, but when you start to make the music and start to vibrate the strings, they burst out and start creating. In the blue area, I have all these things that are being created from the center and this vibration of the masked violin player.

At the top I have this burst, because out of the center of nothing comes something. That’s why I have that radiance coming out of the head of the masked violin player. Around her neck are the pearls of wisdom of what’s already been gathered. Her waist is cinched because her energy is above it. It’s taken from the heart and above.

I love the fleur-de-lis because it’s a burst of life, and it’s also a representation of the guards of the king’s chamber. I’ve got the serpents crawling up because that’s the energy moving. When you see it in the light, it has a tremendous amount of gold in it.

Horse and Rider

This painting is about cutting the head off of your necromancer. Your necromancer is only a thought – an attitude that doesn’t serve you. I start with colors, and then I start seeing things. Then I step back and I say, “Oh look! There’s the beginning of a horse.” Then I go up and I see this area and I think, “Oh that looks a bit like a lion’s head. I’m going to leave it.” So there’s a lion’s head up there.” I’m looking at the colors and seeing the white horse, thinking, “Isn’t white the symbol of the white light?”  Then I’ve got a blue figure. Then the sword has to be pointed toward the lion’s head. It has just ripped off the lion’s head, because the lion represents my attitude. The eyes are looking up at that attitude with a determined look that it has done it in. The flowers in the hair are all the brilliance that the mind has gathered through its determined focus and intent. That’s what that painting is about to me.

Spring Flowers

I just get excited about spring. I can feel it – I can feel the bulbs. I can perceive them in my body. I recognize that feeling, and I can hardly wait when I go out. I’m thinking, “I can hear you, I can feel you.” Then maybe a few weeks later I’ll see a little shoot. So I’ve always had a great affection for spring flowers, because I can feel them. I know.

Here is an old vase that I had in my house. It looks black on the outside, but if you let the sunlight stream through it, it turns a beautiful purple. So it’s my secret. It doesn’t show in this painting. The vase also stands for the earth, because it’s like the dirt. It’s like a bursting opening when the flower comes out of its harder shell and it peels it back.

So I portrayed that here, and I placed it on a table but the table is actually blue so it’s rather like water, because it needs the earth and the water. The background is the yellow sun color. All of these simple flowers are coming out and they’re emoting their energy and their joy. These splashes around the outside are them speaking. Everyone says, “Well, what’s the egg for?” This is spring; this is a spring painting. What is more spring than an egg? It comes from a chicken – but also a human being. It’s genesis.

Focused Intent

No matter where you look, she’s looking at you. She’s on fire with energy. Her hair is aflame (her nickname is “The Redhead”. Redheads have a reputation for fiery energy). She’s absolutely focused and she’s driving the energy up. You can see the energy in flames coming up from below. She’s moved to the fourth seal and now it’s coming up to the fifth seal. That’s where a ruby is, and it begins to matriculate through the neck and to enliven the head and the eyes.

The eyes are staying absolutely focused, because energy can’t move without focus. It doesn’t move if it’s satisfied by your focus in being wherever it is. It’s an intent. Whatever is in her mind, she’s totally focused on it and the energy naturally moves. Where it’s going is to her head and that point on her forehead with the yellow glow around it is what she’s focused on. That is none of our business, because any of us can be focused on something right there. But we’re looking out. We’re not seeing things, although we look like we’re looking dangerously at something, we’re not seeing them; we’re seeing what’s up there. That’s what’s happening in this painting.

She’s surrounded by the hands of the void above her. It looks like it’s almost part of a cape, with the cosmos all around her. There’s another set of arms coming up that are supporting fire. That’s the fire of initiation, moving it that far. Where her hands are moving, that’s keeping the energy going through the channel.

The Sun

This is the power of the sun. The sun gives everything. This is the colors that come through the atmosphere with the sun, and the glory of the sun within us when we shine – we illuminate things that are barely seen in the twilight. At the very bottom, you will see, if you look very carefully – hidden in the blue mist is a castle. It’s a secret.

Blue Dancer

This is the feeling of moving the kundalini in the body through dance. When you’re thoroughly engaged, when you’re so focused on what you’re doing in a dance, you don’t even hear the music. This is a picture of what it feels like to bring that serpent up when you’re dancing, and how many things you can pluck from the quantum field. The pearls of wisdom are what you’re plucking through your passion, whatever you’re involved with.


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