A peak behind the canvas


As a child of the 60's, I view life through music and as a series of rhythms; all aspects are connected revealing images, paths, and choices. I explore depths of life inspired by music and communicated through my art in bold, dynamic, vibrant abstracts. 

                                                                          -- Liz

Performance art, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, drawing, charcoal, Elizabeth D Schafer

Artist Biography


Exhibits I’ve Taken Part In

As a professional artist, my work has been showcased in over 70 solo exhibitions in galleries and museums, most notably in the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street program, William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, and Meridian Museum of Art.  

Prizes and Awards Won

I am also a recipient of the Any Warhol Grant, National Endowment of the Arts Grant, and Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship Grant.  

Collections, Private and Public 

Public art works include Art Across Arkansas for the Clinton and Thea Foundation in select locations throughout Arkansas; New Orleans Festival of Fins, New Orleans, Louisiana; Landfill Art Project, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Leo Seals Bay St. Louis Bridge; and Time Whorp, Orh-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi,  Mississippi.

My works reside in private collections at Florida Tech, Melbourne, Florida; Meridian Community College, Meridian, Mississippi and Omni Royal Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana.

I have been published in the books, “Katrina Reflections on Mississippi Women,” and “Walking on Water,” and also in the documentary film, “The Art of the Storm.” Along with inclusion in the following publications: Art in America, Art Gulf Coast and the New Orleans Times Picayune.

I am a member of the Mississippi Art Colony and National Museum of Women in the Arts.


Art is a language, a visual form of communication that entices your mind and engulfs your body and soul. 

                                        -- Liz

My Journey

Abstract, charcoal, performance art, Elizabeth D. Schafer

The balance between art and science has been a recurrent theme throughout my life.

Early Years

I was born on Friday the thirteenth, setting the stage for my life... embracing struggles, thinking outside the box and striving to be original. 

I grew up in the mid-west where I learned the foundations of hard work and good ethics which has served me well throughout my life.


I fell in love with art as a child. Fortunately, my parents recognized my talents and in those early years enrolled me in art classes at the Evansville Museum of Art and in my teenage years at the University of Evansville. But at the age of 13, I found an additional love for science and math and turned to focus on that path.

I grew up traveling with my Grandmother all over the United States visiting family and learned of a whole big world that awaited me.  Yearning for more knowledge and experiences, I left the Indiana cornfields for the Florida beaches in search of a different life.


I chose to pursue an Oceanography degree, after a trip to visit family in Key West.  It was on a deep sea fishing trip I saw the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet forming a striking line between the bodies of water -- the deep dark blues and the tropical greens.  I was transformed by that rhythm. 

Several years later I landed in Melbourne, Florida. where I pursued a college education at Florida Tech and received a B.S. in Geological Oceanography graduating with high honors.  But in my senior year I found myself needing a break from the rigorous structure of math and science courses.  I turned to my love of art and enrolled in several adult art classes at the Brevard Art Center and Museum in Eau Gallie, Florida and found a much needed creative outlet while pursuing my degree.

My education in the arts has been mostly self taught -- a personal pursuit.

Lemon Cream Pie

“If life deals you lemons, go make lemon cream pie.”

                                                                            -- Liz

I have experienced many life-altering changes at many points throughout my life, thrusting me into a new chapters. I'm not alone with finding challenges in life -- most of us have this experience. 

But during each of these critical points, I dug deeper into my faith and God, and clarity was found and a greater understanding of my purpose along with a reinforcement of my faith, passion for art, and purpose in life. 

In 1991, I gained more of a clarity and vision on a path moving forward after a series of events including the loss of my job, a diagnosis of cancer and divorce all in the same week left me devastated and in turmoil.  It was at this low, desolate point when I knew I had a limited time on this earth and must pursue my gift in art and began looking at painting seriously. I left Florida and moved to Mississippi to pursue my two dreams, art and a career in Oceanography.  In Mississippi, I found that God had placed me in the perfect spot to mature my gift and hone my skills.

But in 2003, I again experienced many life-altering changes simultaneously. I moved my home and studio, faced a critical illness and nearly died.  It was at this time I realized that not only did I have a gift, but God revealed my calling and use of my gift.

And once again In 2005, I endured the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, returning  home after evacuating to a destroyed community, home, studio, the loss of 200 works of art prepared for upcoming shows, and the death of my mother and grandmother. But I still had my abilities, photos of my works, creativity, and absolute determination to rise above and walk on water. 

As I had done with each crisis, I hit restart once again. When life gives you lemons I chose to make lemon cream pie! And lots of it. And at each point my artwork has transformed, becoming more enriched, revealing rhythms and a path forward.  Now i understand that I am to use my gift and my story to help others find their rhythms and path forward along with a joy for life.

Life and Music

Since moving to Mississippi, I  have grown artistically over the years through sheer determination, perseverance, passion, and faith. It is here where my loves (art, music, science and life) became intersected with rhythms and grew, 

In the south music is a large part of the culture; it envelopes life, in Mississippi - the birth of the blues and in and around New Orleans - the birthplace of jazz, I found though divine intervention found a huge well of inspiration and a home.  I landed here for a reason....

I chose music as my muse because I was passionate about it.  I wanted to learn more, obtain a greater understanding of how music weaves us through life, and bring a visual dimension to it.

And as life’s experiences change each of us, it has changed me positively as a person and as an artist.  I am amazed and humbled at where my journey has brought me, and with bittersweet memories always remembering where I’ve been. 

Additional Resources

EDSchafer Brochure (pdf)


Elizabeth Schafer Bio and Resume (pdf)



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