Erin Libby Artist

About Erin

I started showing my work at 14, in the Chicago Street Fairs. Growing up with my mother Colleen Libby, who was a portrait painter and society photographer in the 1930's and 1940's, put me in touch with art very early. When I was 8, I won a scholarship to the Museum School of the Gallery of Fine Art in Columbus, Ohio. I was fortunate to have excellent training in fine art from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, Mexico City College and the University of Chicago.

My first national juried show was in Sarasota, Florida in 1954. I trained as a K-12 teacher at Roosevelt University in Chicago, and I kept my day job as a teacher while working steadily as an artist. By 1966, I was showing in Paris, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Then, I got a divorce and a job at Mattel Toys in Los Angeles. I am proud of my 38 year career creating lovable dolls for children. Many of them were quite famous and successful.

I moved to Bellingham, Washington and returned to my fine art career. I am delighted that my work can be seen at the Blue Horse Gallery in Bellingham and various shows, see below.

Influences in my work include Hieronymous Bosch, Gustav Klimpt, Arthur Rackham, Persian miniatures, mediaeval Celtic art and Mata. The early Netherlandisch art, which I studied with Herbert Kessler at the University of Chicago, had a profound effect on me. I feel a kinship with the women Surrealist painters, in particular Elinor Carrington and Remedios Varo. Their mixture of laughter and magic speaks to me. Lately, I have been enjoying outsider art.

I studied film animation at the UCLA Film School in the 1970's. While I did not go into animation, it influenced my painting. I often catch my subject, real or imagined, in motion.

My best, most creative thinking is done on my lap, looking out over the bay, curled up on the couch with an assortment of pencils and pens tumbling about. I like the intimacy of working small, and I like to capture the energy of the natural world. These sketches sometimes turn into complete drawings. Sometimes, I use them as studies for oil paintings.

When I paint in oils, it is all more formal. I stand at my easel. I call upon the muses of Mary Cassatt and Mickey Mouse to help me share my world of fantasy, whimsy and irreverence.


Formal Credentials:

Master of Art Education, Western Washington University

Master of Fine Art, University of Chicago

Bachelor of Art, Roosevelt University

Various honors, scholarships and prizes, far too tedious to list here.



Erin Libby with camera
Erin Libby