Despite winning significant art awards from age twelve, I was discouraged from going to art school. I trained as a nurse, but sketched in every spare moment. In 1978 I gave in to the inevitable and became a full-time professional artist focusing on large-scale works. But the 1980s saw me fall in love with miniature painting and in 1990 I exhibited my first miniatures. Two years later I won my first awards. I never imagined then that I would be elected President of the Society of Women Artists or President of the Royal Miniature Society.
Oil is my medium for both miniatures and larger portraits. It is vital to me to spend some time with my subject, to connect and to capture each unique character. My commissions come from celebrated clients worldwide, including HRH Princess Michael of Kent and HRH the Prince of Wales.
I prize the qualities of trust, honesty and humility. I believe that creating a successful portrait takes sensitivity, intuition – and patience. The nature of my work makes me quite solitary, but I also love company and social life and I have a sense of humour, which I have sometimes needed. As well as commissioned work, I make time to paint purely for pleasure, and choose subjects and faces with character from all over the world.
I now let my art take me where it wishes. The journey has always been exciting, rewarding and surprising. I still need to paint constantly. I have the same passion for it as I did 40 years ago.
Awards & honours
The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI); The Royal Academy; The Royal Miniature Society (RMS); the Royal Portrait Society (RP); The Discerning Eye 2017, 2018, 2019. National Open Art (NOA) 2017. Society of Women Artists (SWA); The Hunting Observer, Mall Galleries; Smith Gallery, Yorkshire; Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London; The Barbican, London; Chelsea Art Society; Africa ’97, London; Hilliard Society; Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier; Société des Artistes Francais en Miniatures et Arts Précieux; Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris; National Fine Arts Museum, Valletta, Malta (solo exhibition); British Painters, Tasmania, Australia; Washington, USA; John Noott Gallery. The Seventh View', C24 Gallery, New York City - In Partnership with ING Discerning Eye
Positions of Office:
2000 - 2005: President of the Society of Women Artists.
2004 - 2013: President of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers (RMS).
2005 - 2019: Patron of the Society of Limners.
2013 - Honorary President of the Royal Miniature Society.
2014 - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Given for Services to the Arts
Age 12 Highly Commended by the Royal Drawing Society, London Children’s Award and 1st Prize in Senior Art with the Brook Bond National Travel Scholarships and Educational Awards.
1992, 1997, 2002, 2008: The Bell Award for best portrait, Hilliard Society.
1992, 1994: Runner Up Gold Memorial Bowl, Royal Miniature Society.
1993, 1994: The Suzanne Lucas ‘Best in Exhibition Award’, Hilliard Society.
1993: Gold Bowl Honourable Mention, Royal Miniature Society.
1995: The Gold Memorial Bowl (Hors Concurs), Royal Miniature Society.
1995, 1999, 2004: The Mundy Sovereign Award for the best portrait, Royal Miniature Society.
1999: Best Group Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2002, 2004: Presidents Choice Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2004: Barbara Tate Award, best oil painting, Society of Women Artists.
2005: Peter Charles Booth Memorial Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2006: Daler Rowney Choice Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2008: The Joyce Rowsell Choice Award, Hilliard Society.
2008: The Anita Emmerich Presentation Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2009: People’s Choice Award, Society of Women Artists.
2009: Bonhams Portrait Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2009: Llewellyn Alexander Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2011: The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award, Royal Miniature Society.
2012: The HRH Prince of Wales Award for Outstanding Miniature Painting, Royal Miniature Society.
2013: Arturi Phillips Commendation Award 2013, Royal Miniature Society.
2019: Arturi Philips Commendation Award 2019, Royal Miniature Society.
1993: Associate Royal Miniature Society.
1995: Member Royal Miniature Society.
1994-2009: Member Hilliard Society.
1998-2014: Member Society of Women Artists.
2000: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
2014: Women in the Arts.
2016: Chelsea Arts Club.
The Techniques of Painting Miniatures by Sue Burton (published by B T Batsford, 1995).
The Royal Miniature Society: One Hundred Years by Suzanne Lucas (published 1995).
Who’s Who in Art, since 1996 (published every two years).
Listed in The Society of Women Artists Exhibitors 1855-1996 (published 1996).
Artists in Britain Since 1945 by David Buckman (published 2006).
The Arturi Phillips Collection, a catalogue of portrait miniatures (published 2010).
Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870-1970 by Arturi Phillips (published 2012).
Painting Miniatures by Pauline Denyer Baker (published 2014).
Numerous magazines and newspapers including the Independent on Sunday, The Times (Simon Tait of The Times described the artist as: “The Nicholas Hilliard of the 21st Century”), Antique Collecting, Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide, Artists and Illustrators, London Evening Standard, Art in London, Brighton and Hove Argus and others. The art critic, Anthony J Lester, FRSA, has said of her work: “Elizabeth Meek captures not only her sitter’s in startling realism but also their character with a remarkable penetrating insight.”
Interviewed on radio and television including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC World Service, Radio Essex, Maltese TV and Radio, BBC1/BBC2 Flog It! (2009), Antiques Road Trip and Trade Secrets (2013).
HRH The Prince of Wales; HRH Princess Michael of Kent; The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, London; The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, London; National Museum of Fine Arts, Malta, Cincinnati Art Museum, USA and numerous private collections worldwide.