Elizabeth Washburn Biography

Elizabeth grew up in Kansas, about a mile from the state line and 25 minutes from Kansas City, MO. Her mom and dad were both art lovers and often took her to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It was at the Nelson, in front of a Van Gogh painting, when Elizabeth, at age 13, decided she wanted to become a painter.

After graduating from Blue Valley North High School, she headed off to San Francisco to the Academy of Art University where she graduated with a bachelors degree in Fine Arts. After college, she got a job as a painter at a San Francisco mural company where she worked for a couple of years before heading off to New York City to pursue a career as a free-lance artist.

In 1998, a year into working as an artist in NYC, Elizabeth was hired to paint murals for a client in Cairo, Egypt; where she ended up working and living for almost two years. In Egypt, Elizabeth explored the ancient cities of Cairo and Alexandria, sailed down the Nile to Aswan and Luxor, and backpacked in Sinai, camping with Bedouins.

A personal tragedy brought Elizabeth back to the United States in late 2000. Wanting to be near family again, she moved back to California, this time to San Diego, where her brother was living. In San Diego, Elizabeth continued on her path as a painter, exhibiting in galleries and museums throughout Southern California, as well as receiving a Master's degree from Laguna College of Art and Design.

In 2010, Elizabeth founded a nonprofit organization, Combat Arts San Diego (www.combatartssd.org) that specializes in therapeutic art programs for post-911 combat veterans and teens incarcerated in Juvenile Hall. Knowing firsthand how art has the capacity to transform and heal, Elizabeth has grown her nonprofit into a well-known and respected helping hand in the San Diego community.

Today, Combat Arts is a thriving entity that has allowed Elizabeth to turn her focus back on her own art practive. The inspiration for her work combines storytelling from personal experiences with light, color and space found in nature. A Kansas girl at heart, Elizabeth utilizes her painting to escape the rat race of urban life, and finds solace through the end of a paintbrush or pencil.