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Q&A with Award Winner Lisa Neher

This month’s group exhibit, “Bedtime Stories,” focuses on narrative art. Juror Judy Greenberg chose three award winners, with second place going to the painting Beloved: The Young Babar by Lisa Neher. Greenberg said that the vibrant brush strokes and a strong composition contributed to making Beloved an excellent piece. The animal subjects engage the viewer with “a sense of soul,” she said.

We asked Lisa to tell us more about the painting, her thoughts on the theme, and her artwork in general.

What was the inspiration for Beloved: The Young Babar? Since this month’s theme was narrative art, is there a story behind the painting?
Lisa: I don’t work well to themes. Beloved was painted because I love animals and find they are much like humans in their emotional lives. When I tried to consider the theme, I remembered the story of Babar.

What would you like the viewer to come away with?
A sense of relationship — of being in the presence of other earthlings, sentient or not, but all born of this beautiful and precious planet home of ours.

"Beloved: The Young Babar" by Lisa Neher

Is it part of a series? If so, how has the series evolved since it began?
I always paint animals, and hope they speak to those who see the paintings, as they speak to me. If that is a series, so be it.

What draws you to painting?
Wow. That’s hard! It’s all about communication, I think. Painting allows me to communicate something about my vision of the world that goes beyond what is possible with words. That’s when the painting is successful, of course.

What is your artistic process like? How do you keep your work fresh?
I try to be very demanding of my work. If a painting doesn’t quite make it, and I am unable to fix whatever is wrong, it can nonetheless continue to live by participating in a new painting that is layered right over the top of the old. Whether in texture or in chunks of the first image, the old painting still can live on in the new.

I try to shake things up. When I get stale, I look for new inspiration by driving, reading, using different techniques (I have just recently begun to use a palette knife and scrapers of all kinds) and visiting museums. I am part of a wonderful critique group that is a great help.

Is one technical element most important in your work — color, composition, line, etc?
I don’t know. My work must imply motion and life. That can come from anything.

Where do you see your work going next, or what are you working on now?
Fooling around with musicians on paper – check out Artomatic! My website: www.studio18b.com.

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