Place of Residence: Vancouver, BC
I discovered printmaking relatively late in life, and found that stone lithography is alternately
challenging and rewarding. The drawing process can be a meditation, but graining stones and
pulling prints by hand can also be extremely physical, particularly with large images. Each print
is a personal journey, but it is also a journey largely done in a studio setting where collaboration
with other artists can broaden and enrich the creative process.
Stone lithography remains the best medium I have found for drawing, which is my strength and
my passion. The process gives me the opportunity to explore this part of my psyche. The subjects
of my prints are taken from nature, something that is universal. I am fascinated by the play
of light on a landscape or seascape, by storms and changes in the weather and by the progression
of the seasons. The exquisite detail to be found in a bird’s feather or its nest, in a stand of
birch trees, on a deserted beach, are all a delight and a challenge. Nature is unpredictable and
though we share the same environment, we have no way of knowing exactly how another person
With an image drawn from nature comes the question: “Should this be presented realistically or
in abstract form?” For me, there is no choice. I find a carefully crafted image that is easily appreciated
by a wide audience gives me immense satisfaction.
Elisabeth Sommerville was born in Calgary, Alberta and graduated from the Alberta College of
Art in 1963. She then moved to Vancouver, B.C. and worked as a designer before setting up her
own award-winning graphic design studio. Except for one year spent in England working as a
corporate design co-ordinator for British Airways, she has lived in Vancouver. In 1995 she
became interested in printmaking and began fine arts studies at the University of British
Columbia and Malaspina Printmakers Society, where she found her drawing skills worked well
with stone lithography. Her years of hands-on experience with graphic design, done before the
introduction of computers, helped to hone her skills as a printmaker. She continues to draw on
and process the flat stones used in the printing process and pulls her own prints by hand on a
Her childhood in Alberta and her Métis heritage combined to give Elisabeth a respect for nature;
something visible in her sweeping prairie vistas and, more recently, equally-sweeping seascapes.
Her images, land or sea, experiment with the moods evoked by natural light, weather and
changes of the seasons. For the past 12 years, Elisabeth has worked as an active member of
Malapina Printmakers Studio, where she has taken part in many exhibitions. As well, juries have
selected her work for exhibitions in Canada, Japan and the U.S. Her work is in collections in
Canada, Europe, Australia and the U.S.