A friend of mine recently introduced me to an exceptional local Oregon artist. The moment I viewed her rich work I knew I needed to share it with my readers. The exquisite way Lisa Sofia captures Oregon’s beauty is both fascinating and exhilarating to the soul. In my interview below, the artist discusses her background, artistic process, and how her art breaks through the boundary of words, creating a rich textural language of its own. It’s a grace to welcome Lisa to the magazine this month.
Q: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
A: I have been a professional photographer and oil painter for over 20 years. When my husband and I relocated to Seaside, Oregon, I fell in love with the scenery on the coast! I made the decision to officially quit my “day-job” and I’m pursuing my artistic pursuits full time.
Q: What inspired you to focus on Oregon as your subject matter?
A: As a photographer, I could never quite catch the magic of Oregon’s beautiful scenery, with a camera. When you step outside and see such beauty, there is an “intake of breath” which happens as you are surrounded by magnificent vistas, lush textures, and vivid colors. I attempt, with my art, to capture the feeling of those moments. There is an unlimited supply of beauty in our wonderful state. I truly believe it is the most beautiful place on earth!
Q: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
A: I combine my vast experience as a painter and photographer into a digital creation. I have developed my own unique process of digital painting, utilizing a kind of collage mixed with underpainting. This gives me a level of control I never achieved by oil-painting alone. I then have my digital work printed on the limited-edition canvas where I apply a slow drying acrylic paint and texture to each one; making each canvas unique in its own right.
Q: Do you have a favorite Oregon location that most inspires you?
A: The entire coastline of Oregon is incredibly inspiring for me. It must be my heritage from Scotland. I also love the vast bridgework all throughout Oregon.
Q: What piece of artwork would you like to be remembered for?
A: Boy, that is a tough question. I think other artists will agree that their favorite painting is the one they are working on right now. My goal as an artist is to create visual images which are emotionally significant to my collectors. While I am in the creative process, I am not attempting to create something important, I am just attempting to create emotions. I use color, texture, and line to do that. I hope people are emotionally moved by my unique vision of our world.
Q: What visual references do you draw upon in your work?
A: I work from numerous photographs of a subject. While I am photographing a subject, I also pay close attention to the atmosphere around me. I try to capture that feeling.
Q: How would you define Oregon’s beauty?
A: I am a visual artist because I am not able to describe my world through words. Oregon’s beauty is overwhelming. It overloads the senses.
Q: Do you have a favorite photograph or painting, which inspires you?
A: Maxfield Parrish was a cousin of my grandfather. I have loved his colorful, mystical paintings. He has a painting entitled, “Ecstasy” which has always appealed to me.
Q: What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?
A: Visual artists see the world through lines, shapes, colors, patterns, and contrasts. Along with musicians, they bring raw emotion to their audience. Creating art is not essential for human survival. However, the absence of it starves us of our humanity, our compassion, our connection. If you pursue art as a career, you must realize the importance of your gift to the world. There are much easier ways to make money, but few ways to make more of an impact.
Lisa Sofia Bio
Lisa’s work is a constant search for the best way to interpret ideas of who she is and how she sees the world. The visual arts break through the boundary of words, creating a rich and textural language of its own.
The artistic endeavor has long been about pushing boundaries. Lisa’s Grand Uncle was Maxfield Parrish who, in his own right, broke the boundaries of traditional artists. Lisa embraces this freedom of nonconformity and uses bold colors, sharp lines, and lush paint strokes as her hallmark.
Working as a professional photographer and oil painter for decades, she found these two art forms rich in experience. However, Lisa became frustrated by a sense of limitation. Photography can flatten a breathtaking scene robbing it of its true color and energy. When she worked in oil painting, she found she was unable to change details or ranges of color without the possibility of ruining what she had already created. Because of these restrictions, she never felt satisfied that her finished product captured the rich vision within her mind.
By marrying the two, using a digital multi-media approach, Lisa is able to combine the energy, color, texture, and nuance of line which creates her vision of the authentic nature of a subject. She is thrilled to be able to share her vision of the world with an appreciative audience.