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We’re lucky to have some talented friends in the Fairfield County area … and we’re even luckier that one of them happens to be a fabulous artist who agreed to sell some of her beautiful work through The Local Vault. The glorious pops of color you may have noticed around the site are courtesy of artist Lisa Warren, a longtime professional painter. We recently chatted with Lisa about the inspiration behind her gorgeous work, her time at RISD and Yale, and how her latest love is influencing her art. Here’s what she had to say.
You’ve been a professional artist your entire career. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started.
I loved art class as a child. I can remember childhood drawings of trees, flowers, birds, frogs and nature. I would say that my style evolved into mixed media but wherever I was along the journey, I always loved the process of creating — Painting, collage, photography, music or theatre, and more recently, Yoga. As a kid, I wanted to be an actress but my Dad did not like that idea. He insisted that if I did go into acting that my path was through school. I do not recall wanting to go to college at the time, but he agreed that he would go along with my acting career if I went to Yale school of Drama. Twenty years after that conversation I evolved into an artist- a visual artist and attended The Yale School of Art and earned an MFA. Before Yale I attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and earned my BFA from RISD-Rhode Island School of Design. What an amazingly inspirational place that was! To be surrounded by so much creativity, that was when I was very driven in those years before I had children. I have two daughters and my focus has since shifted a bit.
How has your art evolved over the years?
My early work was deeply personal and narrative. I would say that I changed styles because I became a mother and simply wanted to explore another path. My work was very autobiographical and somehow just letting it all hang out did not fit with my lifestyle. The nature series you see on The Local Vault is inspired by meditation and walking in nature. I wanted to express my fascination with light and color while focusing on something other than narrative or poetry. I felt that I was taking a break from thinking too much. Currently I am practicing Yoga in Riverside with Be Shri Yoga and studying with Karen Rider’s 200 RYS hour teacher training course. I gravitated to yoga because the process gave me a similar “Bliss” that painting gave me.
Your art is largely inspired by nature. Why do you gravitate toward it?
The Nature paintings were inspired by long walks in nature. I walked in Riverside, at Todd’s Point in Cos Cob, Back Country or Turks and Caicos. Basically I love to walk anywhere but especially where light or the detail of moss, blades of grass, or ivy catch my intrigue. The paintings were not inspired by Greenwich or Connecticut itself–nature is interesting anywhere–but we do live in such a beautiful place and I do feel so lucky for that! I am so inspired by loving yoga right now that it is hard to separate the two. I want to paint with an open heart the way I practice yoga. This summer I will see how that unfolds with a new series.
What are your favorite places to go in CT for inspiration?
Art Galleries that I visit in the area are The Flinn Gallery, The Bruce Museum, The Katonah Museum, The Yale School of Art and the British Museum at Yale in New Haven. I also go into NYC and love the MoMa, The Whitney, and The Met.
As an artist, you must have a very defined aesthetic. How does that translate into the design of your home?
As a visual artist, I have a very eclectic aesthetic and that eclecticism has translated into our home. I like to mix modern furniture, modern paintings with old paintings of fields and oceans. I may juxtapose a naïve outsider art painting of a deer next to pottery that my kids made beneath a big glass cube sculpture hanging from the ceiling, while across the hall hangs a cow painting resting above a large a Buddha candle; it’s very eclectic.
Last but certainly not least … What’s your favorite piece currently on TLV that’s not from your collection and why do you love it?
I have two! The first is the GG Dining Room set of 10 Pale Blue Lee Industries dining chairs. I love the pale blue color! I crave that color this time of year- so serene and refreshing. I also gravitated to the Rug Company Smarties wool rug. It’s such a fresh pop of color! Both of these pieces just simply make me happy. I would probably combine these items in an eclectic mix of traditional, antique and modern because how many of us really are just one style anyway?