Elizabeth Downer Riker is an American realist painter who lived in Oaxaca in southern Mexico for many years. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Elizabeth moved to Paris while still a teenager and was raised on a barge on the Seine. She was exposed to the world of film by her mother, the documentary filmmaker Heidi Draper, and worked alongside her on several projects including a film celebrating the epic singers of Mongolia. Elizabeth received her BA in History from Georgetown University and went on to study film at NYU’s graduate film program, where she made the award-winning short “Home,” about the legacy of Native American children adopted into non-native homes.
After graduating, Elizabeth began work as a film editor and teacher in New York City and there discovered a new love in painting. She began to study at the Art Students League in Manhattan, happily escaping the editing room for the freedom of the paint brush.
In 2004, Elizabeth moved to Mexico with her husband and two young daughters. Inspired by the Impressionists use of light and color and the beauty of the Oaxacan countryside, she began to paint en plein air. Elizabeth worked on a series of paintings of villagers planting and harvesting their land. She went on to teach painting workshops in the villages where she painted.
In 2011, Elizabeth returned to New York City with her family where she began work on a series of paintings of the rooftop farms. She had a solo exhibit of these paintings in 2017 at the Ceres Gallery in Chelsea, which was mentioned in the New York Times. She participates in several annual group shows, and is currently represented by Ceres Gallery. She is an Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club. Her paintings have been exhibited in the United States, France, Switzerland and Mexico.