Artists in the Garden: Liz Nobles

 In Art, Environment, Tips & How-Tos

There seems to be a bit of a tradition of NBG Tour Guides creating beautiful art! Enter Liz Nobles.

Spirited, effervescent, and multi-talented. Liz is currently creating garden inspired art featuring butterflies, flowers, and insects.

Liz Nobles is a Tour Guide at NBG. She creates garden inspired art & works for Visit Norfolk as well! Thanks for all you do Liz.

Tell us a little bit about your art?

I focus on realism, I’m really into still life and capturing the moment. Especially when it comes to my nature inspired pieces. It does make it a little hard sometimes. . .especially when doing it in real life time. . . because, ya know the light changes and everything like that, but I always try to incorporate some kind of nature into my art. I love bright colors. I love multiple shapes and I love to make it really kind of flow you know, got a flow going. 

I love drawing bugs! Cicadas, dragonflies, and butterflies, I love the details in the wings. The wings are so beautiful and a challenge. I also love to draw dung beetles. I don’t know why.

How long have you worked at NBG?

I’m in my third year now. And before that I volunteered here for a few years.  I was a spring and summer counselor and I also worked in the library and in the WOW Garden. 

Does the garden inspire your art?

Always! My morning walks to the tram give me so many ideas and I use a lot of pictures from the garden as references for my art as well.

Favorite things you’ve seen here as a Tour Guide?

The animals of course! I saw a very small snake the other day. It was adorable. It was curled up and curled up, it was only an inch long! It was adorable! 

So definitely those animals. I’ve seen spiny nose soft shell turtles lay their eggs on the shoreline before! That’s always a little magical. I’ve seen the bald eagles around – animals all the way! I’ve seen the fox and the puppies before. Red fox. A little family. Owls, I’ve seen hawks of course, one time a red tailed hawk sitting on the stairs over there by these steps. That was interesting. 

Do you have any favorite art here?

Right now this collection out in Baker Hall (Janice Gay Maker and Susan Werby) is really nice – I really like that! And ever since I was young I’ve really liked the painting of the sculptures down in Rose Garden Hall and the ones of the two white egrets on the tree by the water. Those have always been my favorite. 

So you’ve been coming here for a long time?

Yes. My first visit at the garden I don’t think I was even a month old yet. I’ve been coming here for 25 years – I used to come here after school to do my homework! This was my dream job growing up. 

Any tips for art making?

Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Don’t be afraid to look a little sloppy sometimes. It’s ok. 

Favorite plants here in the garden?

Let me tell you what I love those pitcher plants, those Virginia native plants that we have in the Virginia Native Garden.  I love those a lot. I also love coral honeysuckles and pineapple guava.

Any favorite books or podcasts about flora, fauna, or art?

I did recently pick up a book called The Diversity of Life – that was a pretty interesting book to read.

I do follow a lot of TikTok accounts about plants and gardening there is one guy that is my favorite –

Does he pollinate with a paintbrush?

No, he talks about all the plants. His handle is @theplantprodigy! He’s an autistic man and he gives replies to any video he sees of people asking for help with their plants. I also enjoy @natureofnow – he makes plant music! and @hanginghouseplants is great too.

Where can we find your work?

@Lizardness2 on TikTok.

Words of wisdom for other local creatives?

Get involved with your community. I think that’s the most important thing: you need a strong community behind you.

It pays to make connections with people especially locally because that can open a lot of gateways for you.

What about during pandemic times?

Definitely invest in trying to make prints of your work and doing virtual galleries. It’s good to get exposure especially since you can’t get out there in the public. Make sure you’re posting your stuff online. Make sure you’re using those right hashtags to describe your work to attract the audience that you want and you know make sure you’re promoting yourself as much as you can! I’ve connected to local and national galleries this way.

Do you think that helps you find an online community?

Yeah it definitely, definitely does. I’m part of the Hampton Roads Art Forum. It’s a Facebook group and all the local artists are sharing different events, opportunities for everybody, and sharing their own art. 

What is your ultimate goal as an artist?

To have my own gallery. I have not done that yet! One day I’m going to have all my stuff up whether it’s at McArthur Mall or even if I get my own building. . . I’ve always wanted to have my own space so I can help other people too. There are a lot of things that people don’t realize. . . there’s a lot more that goes into it than just painting – you’ve got to have the funds and the support. Look into grants or scholarships and . . . make your art worth something to other people too. 

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