Elizabeth Darlington, known by her family as Beth, was born in October 1968. She was delivered by her father at home; a converted rural railway station near Ellesmere, Shropshire.
She was the fourth of five children who were locally known as The Railway Children.
It was a wholesome upbringing. The home became a small holding where they reared livestock and kept an assortment of pets. They were reasonably self-sufficient, growing their own fruit and vegetables as well. Beth became a self-professed vegetarian by the age of 10.
She was a very shy, quiet child, learning to express herself through pencil drawings in which she immersed herself for many hours at a time.
Beth’s artistic skills were recognised by her Primary School teachers from an early age. She had an intricately detailed portrait of on old man selected for exhibition, age approx. 9 years, where it went on display at The National Gallery. Much to her disappointment, this drawing was never returned.
A fascination in Space Exploration developed around the age of 9-10 years, and by the time she left Primary School, she declared she was going to be an astronaut.
Her art became more expressive of how she sees our (human race) place in the Universe. The connectivity between us and all living things began to obsess her. The concept that we are all made of star dust, and that we all influence the existence of each other, became inherent themes in all her work.
Over the years, she experimented with a variety of media including soft pastels, oil pastels, acrylic paints and inks, oils, encaustic wax, poured acrylic medium and texture gels. One of her favourite materials to work with is gold leaf – this is representative that all gold found on Earth (and in her paintings) was once an exploded star, billions of years ago.
Salvador Dali was her favourite artist during her teenage years, but studying the Great Masters at A Level and for her Degree, she became particularly interested in Leonardo da Vinci – more so in his life story and his artistic processes than a lover of his paintings; the geometry, the genius of his concepts and his ‘disappearance’ which, upon his return, later resulted in his extraordinary inventions that still influence science today.
Beth has had ‘visions’ since as far back as she can remember. She finds herself ‘journeying through the Universe’ – just like the astronaut she said she would become – but all through the power of her mind. Many paintings have begun in a trance-like state. Visualisations of her experiences have imprinted her mind with extraordinary colours and energy that she finds difficult to portray in 2-D paintings. She began working with the very fluid medium of poured acrylic, tinted with vibrant acrylic inks, overlaying the paintings in as many as seven different layers.
Words have energy. Words are very much an inherent part of her creations. Many paintings start with words embedded onto the canvas, before she starts painting over them. These words are symbolic and emotive. They are never seen as part of the finished work, but their energy becomes part of the work as they are the intentions and emotions felt during the initial creative process.
In 2014, Beth opened an art gallery in Llangollen which showcased her own work as well as that of touring artists. After just 12 months, she had to close the gallery to overcome cancer, and get her health back on track.
There have been several times during her life when Beth has had near-death-experiences. These have been poignant moments that have resulted in particularly frequent and powerful visions. One such event was during childbirth of her daughter, in 1994, the day before her own birthday, when both nearly died during labour due to pre-eclampsia.
The most recent of these events was in August 2021, when she suffered severe complications of the Delta variant of Covid, which developed into pneumonia and sepsis, and caused almost complete organ failure. During her time in ICU, she experienced many visions and feelings of hope and healing, during the long dark nights in isolation. She has been endeavouring to portray these visions in her artwork during the globally turbulent times since her remarkable recovery. She believes the works of art now are not solely for her own pleasure as an artist, but are to be shared with others who find themselves drawn to the images for their own benefit.
“Each picture is providing the connectivity with nature, each other, and the wider Universe, that so many need right now,” says Beth. “When people look at my work, I hope for them to feel something; something good; something wholesome. I want to remind them of forgotten aspects of themselves, and open doors in their minds to everything that they need, right there within themselves.”