Crossing over the threshold into a creative space can be daunting at times – it often takes me an hour or more to really leave the world behind and lose myself in my practice. But if I allow myself to play before tackling a painting in progress, I can enter into a joyful headspace that allows my creative energy to flow more quickly and freely. I begin all of my paintings in play mode – experimenting with collage, drawing with crayons and laying down fields of color. As I connect these random shapes and marks – a narrative slowly begins to emerge and I’m on my way.
Little Tremors ~ Lisa Onstad, 2018
Acrylic, 24 kt gold leaf on panel, 12 x 13 inches
Little Tremors, a piece from my new body of work Earthquake Weather is hanging this month at Waterstone Gallery. During the month of June I’ll be exhibiting 21 new paintings at the gallery. These vibrant acrylic paintings were inspired by a trip I took to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument last fall. I was struck by the rich, natural palette of reds, ochres and blues of this majestic and mysterious landscape.
Finished – 30″ x 40″ acrylic painting on museum board mounted on wood panel. Whenever I am starting a new series it’s always a struggle to get the first painting finished. I am often unsure of what direction I want to go in and there are many starts and stops. I am excited to keep working and see where this painting leads me.
I’ve got ten big panels prepped and one painting finished for my upcoming show in August. I’ll be showing paintings at the West Linn Public library and I have a big space to fill. I optimistically planned on finishing three paintings a month during the next 6 months. Ha! My process is SLOW…first there is the underpainting. Next, progress with pretty colors and shapes, then a destructive phase to mess-up all the pretty. And lastly, a fix-it stage (more about my process later). Oh, and besides my process, life gets in the way too. Realistically, I’m hoping for 9 finished pieces. Wish me luck.
My art group is reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which has been described as a “manifesto of sorts for anyone who makes art”. Hyde talks about the importance of inner gifts becoming visible, shared and accepted, but not as a commodity. The gift must pass through many hands – be on a continuing journey, in order to retain it’s power to touch and move people. I sent this little painting out into the world recently, as an anonymous gift for someone I’ve never met, who is going through a hard time. In his book, Hyde retells many folk stories all with a common theme – giving, often spontaneously to those in need, which keeps the cycle of giving in forward motion. Although I don’t know how my gift was received, I do know that I have already been rewarded with the gift of art, many times over since I gave away that painting – I connected with some like-minded artists in a recent workshop, saw a truly inspiring show of paintings and sold a painting. It doesn’t hurt to make a little money with your art!
…is good for making stripes!
Head down south this month and see my painting Wire in the 11th Annual All Around Oregon exhibit at the Corvallis Arts Center. I’m very happy to be included in this show which was curated by Bonnie Lang-Malcolmson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer curator of NW Art at the Portland Art Museum. The opening is this Friday from 5:30-7:30 and the show will run through November 9th. This summer Wire was also included in 50 Squared an exhibit at the Lake Oswego Arts Festival and I won a Blue Ribbon!
I often find inspiration for my abstract compositions in urban environments. I photographed these images near the OSHU tram, along the Willamette river. I love the bold graphic shapes, color and line.