Lizzie Connors paints surfboards instead of canvas
Lizzie Connors paints surfboards instead of canvas Patrick Woods

Life's a beach for Coast artist and her beloved seascapes

ARTIST Lizzie Connors could paint seascapes - and many other things - on canvas if she wanted to. And she does.

But she finds pleasure in the labour-intensive process of preparing a surfboard for painting for a surf scene.

"You have to strip all the wax off and sand it off. If you paint over the fibreglass, there's no tooth in it and the paint just chips off," she said.

Lizzie, of Mudjimba, has been painting seascapes on surfboards for most of this year.

She started painting on the boards for something different - for herself as much as potential buyers.

"The art world is a bit of a crazy place at times," she said.

"Everybody struggles for something different but there's not a lot that's different any more.

"I'm not the only one doing this but it was different for me.

"But the bottom line is I've always loved the ocean. I've always loved surfing, and that kind of life happening around it and I enjoy the cleaning up of the old boards.

"I have friends who are board shapers and makers and maybe it's a bit of an insight into their world."

Working the boards gives Lizzie a chance to get to know each "canvas" before she paints on it.

She gets to know the shape of the boards which can influence how she blends colours or marks the horizon.

"There are challenges with painting on the old boards. They are all really different. You can see the compression marks from where they've been used," she said.

"It's not like they're completely flat like canvas."

Lizzie has spent most of her life near the ocean.

She lived on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, the tiny town of Leeman on the Western Australian coast, and near Coffs Harbour in New South Wales before moving to Gympie with her three children in the mid-1990s.

But like a fish out of water, she had to get back to the sea, and once the children had finished school, she moved to the Sunshine Coast to be closer to the beach.

After a spell at Peregian, she moved about a year ago to Mudjimba, which is closer to her two daughters, who are now in Brisbane, and to Go Arty at Maroochydore, where she works a couple of days a week.

Art is something Lizzie has done all of her life and has led her to different experiences, including teaching.

"I was asked to do some public art at Gympie, and my art has taken me into community-based work and I ended up working in flexi-education for quite a few years," she said.

Lizzie formalised her knowledge with a TAFE course and later a degree in fine arts which has stood her in good stead for teaching art, which she enjoys as much as doing it herself.

"Some people like just to a paint a few pictures. I like to ask more of it, but it's the joy of it. I love it and I love teaching.

"If you've got a skill, a gift that you can do really well, the really nice thing you can do with it is share it with people."