Elizabeth M. Willey was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1973, but spent most of her formative years in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. She moved to St. Louis in 1993 for college and has made it her home ever since.
Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and graduated cum laude with departmental honors from Webster University in 1997. In May 2010, she attained her Master of Arts degree at Fontbonne University and her Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Painting in May 2015.
Firmly grounded in classical drawing and oil painting techniques under the instruction of Victor Wang and Tim Liddy at Fontbonne University, Elizabeth has also expanded the scope of her work to explore encaustic and mixed media techniques. While much of her early work explored figurative subject matter, her recent experimentation with mixed media process and pattern has lead to more graphically influenced abstract pieces. History, folk tales and complex textile patterns from around the world inspire her mixed media encaustics. She layers patterns and images with an eye to formal design, hinting at narratives that are both familiar and exotic, occasionally appropriating images from art history, antique prints, and other artifacts to add context. Sealing each stratum with luminous natural beeswax, she employs collage, transfer, print-making and painting techniques using ink, oil and spray paints.