In my latest podcast I talk to Elizabeth Whelan a painter and portrait artist; covering everything from art and science, entrepreneurship, representation, diversity, women in science, and art activism. It’s a long one, because the conversation was so, so, interesting and it was impossible for me to edit down. We had a similar length conversation after stopping the podcast recording! I think we could have talked for days.
I had been spending spare minutes over several weeks editing a ‘perfect’ email to send out to potential podcast invitees. But on seeing Elizabeth’s portrait of Megan Carroll on twitter I was drawn to direct message here instantly. That ‘perfect’ email is still in the draft stage, but the excitement of seeing that portrait over took my sensibilities and the need to come across as subject serious whilst being light hearted and chatty, and the message was sent. Perhaps the excitement in my message was apparent because I got a positive response, phew. Sometimes I think you just need to act, overcome those fears and take the opportunities.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it was, or is, about the portrait of Megan that struck home; the focus on the oceanographic equipment, the 'at one' look in the space and place. I don’t know? But it was a portrait that said things to me, that I identified with. The fact that it was one of a series of portraits of Women in Science by Elizabeth then became evident. Each fascinated me; they were each different, but each showed women how I imagined they dressed and worked in their daily lives as scientists. Only on interviewing Elizabeth did I learn about her inseparable exhibition of art and science and the different avenues it took including the Women in Science portraits.
What starts as a conversation about how Elizabeth became an artist and what led her to the Women in Science portrait series, becomes an exploration of life, creativity and indeed taking opportunities, being fearless and finding your way through life by challenging yourself and others. It was inspirational, informative and made me pleased to be alive. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed the conversation.
You can find out more about Elizabeth here http://www.elizabethwhelan.com/
Megan Carroll - Applied Ocean Physics Engineer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Elizabeth Whelan - Women in Science series.