Live Painting the 75th Anniversary of Palm Beach's Civic Association at the Royal Poinciana

by Lydia Marie Elizabeth in


This past fall I was commissioned by the Royal Poinciana Plaza to Live paint a portrait of the 75th Anniversary celebration of the Palm Beach Civic Association. The Civic Association had awarded The Royal Poinciana Plaza with the town’s beautification award for transforming the space into an enchanting place to visit for the county’s elite.
Preparing, as I always do, with what to wear first, I consulted fashion designer Katie Fong based in Greenwich, CT and she outfitted me like a princess for the event, so I arrived in style. Setting up my paints before the guests arrived, I began to capture the setting sun on the white architecture and the joyful palms as they began to sway to the band’s warm up tunes.

“When Mr. John S. Phipps dreamt of The Royal Poinciana Plaza, he asked of John Volk to “design for us a shopping plaza in any style you wish; however, it must endure for fifty years.” John Volk, architect to America’s royal families like the Vanderbilts, DuPonts, Fords and Pulitzers, made this dream a reality.

The Royal Poinciana Plaza stands today with the inherent charm and idyllic beauty retained just as she did more than half a century ago. The glint of this charm can be seen in the curvature of the restored metalwork, the click of one’s heels on the black and white checkered terrazzo, or the warmth of the Florida sun while you sit in a tucked away courtyard.” (you can read more here)

VOILA! the final painting!

Lydia Marie Elizabeth Schrader live watercolor portrait for the Palm Beach Civic Association's 75th Anniversary at the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach

The Plaza has been one of my favorite places to visit while in Palm Beach, with it’s absolutely magical courtyards brimming with blooming flowers and palms dancing in the breeze. The foliage casts sweet violet shadows over the white architecture, and the passageways give way into rich deep indigo shadows causing the colors to pop.
The evening was spectacular, and when I heard from both my friends at the Royal Poinciana and at the Civic Association in Palm Beach that they were going to film the painting I completed for them, I had to pinch myself. Watch the video above to get a little background on the video and to see gorgeous gal Brittany show off my painting!!

I LOVED creating this painting, and had SO much fun at this event. The Royal Poinciana Plaza team knows how to put on a party! After beginning the Live portrait of the event, I started sketching quick portraits in indigos, pinks, and greens of guests throughout the remainder of the evening. It was such fun to be able to do BOTH live painting and live portrait sketches in one event. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to pull it off, but between you, me, and the internet- it was thrilling and went so well!
If you sat for me, Thank you, it was SUCH a pleasure! And Cheers to the Royal Poinciana and the Civic Association for their taste in all things, but most especially art! :)
Click through here for the full article on the Civic Association’s page here.

For more photos of the event click through to the article above or peruse some photographs below. All photographs are compliments of the very talented


January in Palm Beach

by Lydia Marie Elizabeth in

2019 Desk Calendar Illustrations

The Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach

Lydia Marie Elizabeth watercolor of Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach inspired by Slim Aarons for the 2019 American Road Trip desk calendar.jpg

This collection shows off my dainty balance of attention to architectural detail and a loose delight in dramatic light.

Happy New Year!

I’ve been looking forward to this day since May of 2018. This collection of paintings is by far my very favorite set intended for the desk calendar. The collection is greatly influenced by my own happy travels throughout my home country. As a child I regularly traveled up and down the east coast between my grandparents summer and winter homes with my parents. And then, when I was in Middle school we moved to Texas and made a road trip out of every moment of it throughout the south western states. Eventually my dad worked for a company based in Alaska and we traveled far up north West as well.

I grew up watching old movies, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn and even John Wayne’s westerns. And as all the women in my family are members of the DAR, I heard constant stories about our American ancestors. It would be a lie to tell you I was fascinated by American history. On the contrary, I found the Colonial museums I was dragged to the dullest of all. I did like the Estate and Plantation tours we began to do as I got older and moved to Virginia. When I was little in New England, my mother read me stories about Vikings, Sacagawea, and the Laura Ingles Wilder books, and when we moved to Virginia I heard stories from the slave plantations- compilations journalists had gathered of stories from the fields and the homes- perhaps the most fascinating to me of all. And eventually in high school I read Edith Wharton’s social commentary novels, and Jack Kerouac’s prose, and Robert Frost’s deep emotion. And then my art education began forming names behind the artists work I admired on the walls; Edward Hopper was the first name I recalled, and eventually John Signer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, and Willard Metcalf.

My husband and I spend the Winter and Spring of 2018 in Florida working and soaking up the sunshine. Below you’ll see the images which inspire this painting for January 2019. The photographic work of Slim Aarons in Palm Beach depicts the place so well, and my own experience of the sunshine in Florida while I was there. Palm Beach is, in a word, perfect. A friend of mine who I met while down there described it as a make believe place. The real world, she mused, was over the bridge on the main land.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a man known for his embodiment of American extravagance and ability to put it into words, and his description of the main character in This Side of Paradise, “It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.” lingered in my mind as I mused on Palm Beach with fresh and somewhat innocent eyes.

The photograph that hit me to use for this January, is Slim Aarons piece of Donald Leas. The dogs on the car and the bows in their fur. The reminded me of Lulu and the joy of color. Please note the license plate in the final painting. Also thank you, if you voted on the license plate state on instagram- My Connecticut friends won out.

Slim Aarons Photograph Donald Leas in front of the Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach Florida red as research for Lydia Marie Elizabeth  watercolor inspiration
Lydia Marie Elizabeth Flagggler Museum photograph for 2019 American road trip desk calendar research
Slim Aarons photograph The Fullers in Palm Beach used as research for Lydia Marie Elizabeth's watercolor research
Lydia Marie Elizabeth concept sketches for the 2019 American Road Trip Calendar

Casting my mind back over the history of America as I’ve experienced and learned it, it is difficult to summarize the accomplishments and texture without feeling impressed or fascinated. I realize some could think that this calendar in this current political climate is a political statement, but it really isn’t. If anything I see it as artwork and stories that should bring those who have lived and traveled in America together for love of place and shared experience. More than ever before I recognize the brokenness of mankind, and am further convicted of the importance of the command to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. For this reason, my artwork is full of nostalgic sunshine. This collection shows off my dainty balance of attention to architectural detail and a loose delight in dramatic light.

Cheers to a joyful 2019! And thank you SO much for all your support. It’s been such a pleasure painting for you.


Design Crush Tuesday: That Pink Door

by Lydia Marie Elizabeth in

Yep. That's a thing. It's also this week's design crush.

If you ever find yourself living vicariously through lifestyle bloggers with the best destinations and wardrobes- um, I relate. They travel here and there and take gorgeous photos in the most beautiful places and then they FILL our instagram and pinterest feeds with beauty to get us through those rainy days in far blander locals than the Almafi Coast....

I have recently found it interesting that it seems bloggers are surge to the same spot in different seasons. Last Spring in was Palm Beach Florida and this spring it's Charleston. Sometimes I wonder if like, there are invitations and all these bloggers get together with the town counsel and get paid to make their spot "a thing" and the wonderlust of all non-fashion-bloggers.

Either way, That Pink Door house is totally gorgeous. And while I do not find myself usually drawn to modern architecture, let me be clear: there is a time and a place. And Palm Springs, California is the time and the place. I saw a photo of the house pre-Pink, and wow, what a difference. The white wash and subtle blush tone cause this modern design to really pop and feel VERY well done. Bravo Moises Esquenazi, who is responsible for updating the home.  Rumor has it this house is a vacation rental, in case you're interested.

You can take a girls weekend and go all #Misadventure on them.