my modern fresco

fresco noun
1. a painting done rapidly (not so rapidly actually) in watercolor (interior latex & acrylic) on wet (old) plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.
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My twin girls are graduating soon and I’m feeling nostalgic.
I’m not surprised I had a little trouble prioritizing things this week.
I focused on this instead, the other stuff will get done somehow.
Getting up at 4:15 to paint with the birds chirping was pure joy.
Below is the evolution & some details of the painting.
I haven’t felt “painterly” for a long time.
I do now.

Lisa Lillibridge's modern fresco

 

 

Thank you Ruby, Lena & BHS YES (year end studies) program.

I was very inspired talking about art and process.

Please Note:  I’m off FACEBOOK, please contact me through e-mail, not messenger.

Can you imagine a world without contrast?

I wholeheartedly think true beauty exists in contrast.  Without light we’re unable to appreciate darkness?  Without weight, something delicate would be more difficult appreciate.  Without hunger, how do understand being satisfied?

Without sorrow how do we truly understand joy?

light dark delicate sturdy lillibridge

contrast weight light dark light lillibridge

Without contrast our world would be quite dull.  Imagine really trying to understand (or explain) cold without warmth, smooth without rough, delicious without disgusting or loss without discovery. It really can’t be done.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
       ―John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Social scientists (Sherif, Taub and Hovland 1958) studied how much we need contrast all the time to make decisions in or lives.  It’s so much a part of our everyday decision making we don’t really have to ever think about it.  Once I read more I became quite aware of how much contrast is used in retail shopping.

Here’s a link that explains Perceptual Contrast Effect further.

http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/perceptual_contrast.htm

con·trast noun

noun: contrast; plural noun: contrasts
ˈkänˌtrast/
  1. the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.
    “the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine”

These images were shot in Lexington, Kentucky last week at PBS Artist Open Studio during an ecodyeing workshop with Elizabeth Bunsen.  While I was treating my photos I noticed that there was a lot of magnificent contrast. How could there not be when we’re working with rust, leaves and indigo?

Here’s the link to find out about future workshops.

http://www.pbsartist.com/pbsartistopenstudio/

 

A pair of 7buck thrift shop boots…

and a few stolen hours at my studio.

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It was great to be in my studio today…

and I didn’t even turn NPR or music on all day.  I was so happy to be alone with my thoughts, a giant iced tea (thanks to my son) and all of my leathers, fabrics, trims, sewing machines and tools.  I wanted to start working on my accessories for the fashion show (STRUT) on September 12th, in Burlington, Vermont. I’m afraid this bag may be a little dark for the runway.  However, with the right styling it might just work.

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Sometimes we need to take a look back…

to understand some creative processes.  This was the very first bird carving/painting I ever did.  I was attempting to create an original show for my friends, Alison & Andrew at Mirabelles Cafe in Burlington, Vermont.  Someone had cancelled their show that month and they needed artwork fast.  Oh, how I love the challenge of a deadline.  I prefer to show new work so I created this show in about 48 hours.  I went out to the dumpster behind my studio in 2008 and I found some old pallets. I carved the birds on this pallet using a screwdriver because I’d never done this kind of work before and I didn’t have any tools. I created six new pieces and hung the show. It was the beginning of an entirely new process for me.

If you’re ever in Burlington, Vermont—I highly recommend Mirabelles for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea and pastry.  Please tell them Lisa sent you.

http://www.mirabellescafe.com/

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2008 pallet carving/painting

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2012 piece titled, “Community” carved & painted on a counter top piece from a renovation site in a friend’s neighborhood.

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stages of creation

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A word of great relevance and humility.

custodian lisa lillibridge dakota 1966

The word “custodian” is my new favorite word and I want to share with you why.  I was recently in a discussion about why my creative work has any relevance whatsoever in a world that has so many challenges. I always struggle with this.  Should I really paint, write, make jewelry and shoot photographs when so many people are hungry, sick, sad and lonely?

I was then asked two questions:

1. Why were you given these abilities?  2. What could your creative work do to make the world a better place?

As I pondered these questions presented to me the word “custodian” surfaced.  LOUDLY.

CUS•TO•DI•AN

This word to me is a beautiful, humble mantra/prayer to be called upon often—someone who keeps and protects something valuable.  I started thinking about the custodians of my high school when I was growing up—Edith and Andy.  I used to go to school early to do my homework and talk to them as I sat in the hallway finishing up assignments.  They were humble, thoughtful people who kept and protected my school. Custodians…

Being the custodian of our talents is necessary to allow them grow. If we choose to NOT be thoughtful custodians of our talents (whatever they may be) we are not holding up our end of the human bargain.

 

art & process…

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This is a painting I was commissioned to do for a new workout space in Burlington, Vermont.  I wanted to illustrate my process especially how different the piece looks at each stage.  I layer colors to get the desired effect and then sand and paint and sand again until I get the look I want.  I wanted this piece to look like an old sign found under the stairs in a beach cottage—a relic from a hippie summer long ago.

My work has always been about removal and revealing what lies beneath.  I am forced to think a few steps down the road with this process.  I think it keeps me sharp (at least sharper than I would’ve been anyway).  It’s a very time-consuming way to work, but utterly thrilling when my instinct about the layers turns out as I had hoped.

I will post a picture of it in the space when they get it installed.

experimenting with process

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My favorite days in my studio are the days that I let myself just follow and instinct to see how a process develops.  I had a few orders to take care of and I wanted to do some experimenting.  I completed the wallets for a charming shop in Barnstable, Mass called—Mosees.  Sorry, Maura I have owed you these for a long time and I will ship today.  But, then I looked at the pile of leathers all over my studio and wanted to find a way to play with the loads of browns I have.  So, I started painting, distressing and sealing them. I love the architectural, archeological quality of how this bracelet turned out.  It’s not a look for everyone.  It’s a little brutal, which I happen to love.  More to follow in this direction.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mosees/176306892485947

process…

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Here are snapshots of my process. I’ve never really seen these stages and it was interesting to see the evolution. Sometimes I think we get a little too hung up on the outcomes of whatever we are working on and we negate all that we’re learning along the way. Take a pause during your next project and see what you note. I was very struck by how juvenile my work looks in the beginning when I’m just roughing in the shapes. I realize that I basically like every stage along the way, but the carving and then the antique glaze that goes into the grooves of the piece are most satisfying to me. Good Luck with whatever project you have planned for your Saturday.