Lisa Moore is a Georgia-based artist, whose work is currently part of the Form, Figure, Gesture exhibition at the Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery. The painting above titled, ‘Every Moment a Lifetime’ was my absolute favorite from the exhibition, and I knew from the moment I saw it in the gallery that I wanted to learn more about the artist behind this stunning piece.
In this interview, Lisa shares what it was like growing up in a community of artists, how she decides on a color palette for a new piece, and what she enjoys the most about preparing for an exhibition at the Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery.
You grew up in Northwest Georgia in a community of artists, educators, and free thinkers. When did you know that you wanted to become an artist and how did the community around you influence your decision?
I’ve always been a painter and an artist. I was in the corporate world for a long time and my ability to apply creativity and confidence to solve challenges served me well. Those two traits were fostered by my parents and other family members. We were allowed to solve our own problems and praised for doing so. No one came behind me and “redid” my work or critiqued my drawings. I was given college-level anatomy and figure drawing book by my artist aunt when I was 10. I found the human form to be so beautiful. I was taught if I wanted something like being a majorette, or making an A, I had to do the work. So work ethic and creativity were fostered. Confidence has to go hand in hand with creativity and I was given a lot of responsibility early on so I gained the confidence in myself to try new things and be ok if it didn’t work out. Just keep solving until the challenge is met. Growing up in a small town, for me, was a fantastic foundation for being an artist. There is so much community around you when you are in school. So many people supporting you. I was lucky.
To be an artist is anyone who can look at any type of work and solve the problems presented to them in a creative manner. That is where being allowed to think freely and do things how I wanted to work for me. My parents being both public educators and closet hippies focused on the outcome and not how I got to the outcome. Of course, I had to conform to some processes and rules much like painting. You have to mix the mediums with the paint the correct way or your work will not last, but to push those boundaries. Learn the rules then use them to your advantage was what I was taught. Use your mind. You may find a better way.
So in short, I am not a painter expressing any kind of pain or angst. I am a part of the lucky few who had support pretty much for anything I wanted to do. But, neither my undergrad nor master’s is in Fine Art. I am drawn to so many things and had a hard time choosing a major. I took my talent for granted and pursued it as a hobby until I was 40. I then found the space in my life to have my own business creating my own work. So for two years, I have been doing this 42 ?… just kidding 15 years..55 ?.
I am inspired by… The beauty of the figure both human and horse in motion or at rest. The feeling of love and joy when watching children at play and the history of old worn out buildings.I love capturing the essence of those people, places or things and bringing their soul forward to view and feel.
My hope is that through my art, viewers will choose to tap into the feelings of joy, comfort, and happiness that stem from the simple things of everyday life … holding a child’s hand, feeling the warmth of an animal, or remembering a place or time that holds meaning. – Lisa Moore
I always enjoy hearing why artists prefer either oils or acrylics. Have you always painted with oils over and what is your preferred brand of paint?
Oil is my favorite because of the level of forgiveness it has. Acrylic is not forgiving enough to me. It is so final when it dries quickly. Acrylic can give a good foundation to build on, but it is like stacking, adding to, or erasing it… whereas oil for me allows me to shape and reshape it modifying as I go. You can always take a “mistake” and make it into something beautiful with oil keeping the good and correcting the not so great …not erasing… kind of like life.
Usually, I get a great start and the painting goes quickly then I fall in love with it and stop before it is finished. This can be the death of a painting. I will move it off the easel knowing there is something there and I need to let it rest for a bit. Many times. I start a new work or go to another that has not been resolved. And so it goes, one painting after another. At times, the magic will happen and I will be gifted with expressing what I am going for. However, most paintings are the result of letting go and pushing through. Having the courage to paint away from the part I love because it stifles me and moves forward to create a whole work that I love is my challenge. Many times it can take me weeks to have the courage to do this so I have about 8 or more paintings at a time going on. Especially if I need to change what I am thinking or feeling. I am a recovering perfectionist so I have to constantly remind myself “Perfect is the Enemy of Great.”
After viewing the current exhibition at the Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery one of the things I noticed first were the beautiful color palettes you used for your work. How do you decide on a color palette for a particular piece?
I choose the color based on mood. Sometimes I use very softly muted colors and other times bright and bold. I am kind of loving green and red right now.
Are there artists who inspire you?
Of course, for me, Degas is a strong influence on my work… HOWEVER, currently, Brian Rutenberg, Jenny Saville, and Alex Kanevsky are ringing my bell.
All are very different in their approach and philosophy. The common denominators are their skill and talent are exemplary, they do not follow the crowd and their work stands on its own merit.
Tell me about a typical day in the studio.
The hard thing is after all this time, I still have not created a process that always produces what I want. I am not very good at routine even though I know that is a key to success… I get bored easily. However, my process is not entirely random. I like for my work to evolve and show me where I need to go. I think this makes a painting interesting and unique. I want my works to be one of a kind and stand on their own. That being said here is my “non-process.”
Gratitude is my Foundation for work. I TRY to begin my day in a state of gratefulness thanking my creator for all the wonders and challenges of my life. Usually, as I am meditating my mind will wander into one area and an image of that feeling or scene will pop into my head. I will do a quick sketch and take it to the studio. Translating the feeling into the emotion I am trying to capture with a figure is my challenge. Sometimes that figure will be a woman, sometimes a horse, sometimes a child.
Your work features several genres from horses and animals to figures. What was it about these genres in particular that drew you to them?
I wish I had some extraordinarily intellectual line about this but I do not. I can only say, I have been sketching the female form my whole life. (It is what I did instead of listening in my higher math classes.) I am addicted to the line of the female form. I stay in awe of the power of our bodies and the beauty. To me, the females of every species have this strength that is masked by vulnerability. I find this intriguing paradox lovely. The horse and the female form are the same things for me. One can express our power and strength the other our vulnerability and nurturing way. I use both to capture these feelings.
It is in my figurative work where you find me. For some reason, my figures connect more to the viewer. I guess the figure chose me more than I chose it. It is what I am supposed to paint and express. I am still searching for the painting that is trying to get out. Hopefully, it will be a while before she shows herself as I am loving the quest to find her.
As a lover of ballet and other forms of dance, I’ve noticed that several of the figurative pieces feature dancers. What is it about dancers that inspire you?
I was a dancer as a little girl. I LOVE tap dancing. My undergraduate degree is in Exercise Physiology and wellness. I absolutely love the human form. How our muscles work together and Dance is a graceful way to show that form.
Out of all the pieces in the exhibition was there a particular piece that is a personal favorite, or holds special meaning to you as an artist?
Right now I am in love with my small nudes. The reason is how I am moving towards abstracting the form. I was pleased with how those paintings turned out.
What did you enjoy most about preparing for the Form Figure Gesture exhibition at the Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery?
I think choosing the pieces for the show is my favorite. Working with Anna and others to put together a cohesive meaningful show. I loved seeing how the show was hung and how my work intermingled with the other works in the show!