Posts from the ‘painting’ category

a little love letter to Reno

photo 3 copy

Where to begin…this spring has flown by and June is moving in the same manner it seems. The opening for my solo show, A Tender Spark, was a success- more than I ever imagined it would be. It really was a dream to see so many people come out to support me and my art. Before I get into the details of the work, the show, and the opening, I’m very pleased to announce that the show has been extended until Wednesday July 1st 2015 so there is still time to see it all in person if you haven’t already. The Holland Project gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 3-6pm or you can give them a call to make an appointment outside of those hours by contacting Alisha alisha@hollandreno.org

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I admit that this show is/was a really big deal for me both professionally and personally. I’ve never had a solo show this large before and it was truly years in the making of it. I stopped painting and illustrating for about 10 years so if you told me back in 2002 that I would be living in Reno, NV as a working artist with my own solo show- I would never have believed you! Back then my art studio was my kitchen and it was really small….really really really small. To make a very long and complicated story short, my life was kind of a mess back then and because of lack of support and frustration I quit painting. I’ll have to elaborate on all that one day but trust me when I say- this show, this moment, this group of work that I made is a big deal for me.

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deer_web

girlotter_web

This spring was also an unexpected challenge for myself and my family. It absolutely impacted my work in many ways and my heart was just broken on repeat. I listened to Sufjan Steven’s newest album Carrie & Lowell obsessively- maybe because I was dealing with death and loss, it was sort of comforting to paint to it and just lose myself in the work.

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When the show opened on June 11th and so many people came out to see what I painted- I can’t even describe how surreal and amazing that felt. Reno is a pretty great place to be an artist and I felt incredible support from so many people. I’m not saying our art scene is perfect or couldn’t improve in some ways, but I love that in general, most people want to see others thrive here and the community feels genuine. There are so many extraordinary artists here and it’s growing really fast. There is a lot of work being done on several levels to make Reno a vibrant and thriving art city- everyone seems to be “pulling on the same rope” as my friend Tod would say.

ATSpark_talk

I was overwhelmed by all of it and I had to give a talk which I was more nervous about that than anything else I’ve given a public talk about because this was so much more meaningful and personal to me. Even more intimidating than the time I gave a talk to hundreds of computer programers about graphic design. Here I’ve spent so. many. isolated. hours. painting. struggling. painting. painting. drawing. painting. And suddenly my paintings are on the walls and people are excited to see them in person and talk to me- it’s crazy and awesome. I always feel a little socially awkward after working so long in the studio but I was so overwhelmed and incredibly happy!

ATSpark_vinyl

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Setting up the show was an amazing experience and I could not have done it all without the incredible Alisha Funkhouser- she made the whole process go smoothly and was so encouraging and supportive right from the beginning. Thanks to Patrick, Denali, and Meghan for the hanging help too- it was a lot of work that went fast with all of you. Thanks to Archer for helping me with some finishing touches and being such a good help to me. The Holland Project is a special place and they are essential to the Reno community; what they do here is so important and that is personal too.

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Many of my paintings are off to lovely new homes with such wonderful people. I can’t thank those of you who purchased work enough- whether it is a print or an original painting, this is what enables me to keep making new work and pay the bills so thank you. I know these words aren’t even really adequate enough to express how grateful I am to you all and how lucky I feel that I can do this.

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Tony Lillios, a friend and a collector of mine, purchased “Is that you?” above. Tony has been supporting my art for some time now and I’m always happy to see what he thinks of my new work.

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Even the mayor came to see my show and she bought the painting, buffalo + cetus for her sister, Amanda Sanchez. She let me know she might stop by and I’m so glad she did; it was very exciting to see her enjoy my work and to talk to her about Reno, art, and many other things.

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So much happened the night of my opening that I never got a photo of just me with one of my paintings so here is one Alisha took of me when I stopped by later.

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Now that things have slowed down a bit- I’ve been reflecting on the show and the work I made and thinking about what I need to make next. I have some paintings that are dying to be painted and I’m pretty much the worst at relaxing so I need to really take some time and force myself to rest before I jump onto my next thing. I’ll be participating in ArtBlast in September and I have another solo show here in Reno in October (it may be my last for a while as I have some other plans in the works) and I’ll be in a group show down in LA that month but for right now I’m just trying to enjoy this feeling. I kind of need to soak it in and maybe process what the heck happened this spring and stay in this state of bliss for a little while.

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Supporting artists comes in so many forms- whether it’s attending a show, buying a painting or a print or some other item that artist created, or sending an encouraging word and simply enjoying their work- all of it helps more than you know. All of it keeps me going and though it can be hard at times to be a working artist- the hustle and constant pushing can be exhausting- it is a very very lucky life. I know how lucky I am. Thank you everyone.

And of course, I couldn’t end this without thanking my spectacular little family- thank you to Will and to Archer. I sure could not do any of this without the both of you, your love, and encouragement. <3

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A Tender Spark: new paintings by Lisa Kurt

Lisa Kurt solo show announcement

I’m really pleased to announce my upcoming solo show, A Tender Spark, at the Holland Project Gallery! The opening reception is June 11th at 6:30pm. I started the work for this show back in 2012 and I’ve longed to do a show at the Holland Project for years. All of the paintings have never been shown before and many are brand new – painted this year.

There is a special preview starting at 5:30pm for those who are part of the Art Patrons Program- it’s similar in nature to an art collector’s preview. There is a little write up on the Art Patrons Program here if you are curious about what it is: http://www.hollandreno.org/about/artpatrons/ And you can find out more how to become an art patron and get in early to be the first ones in to see my new paintings by contacting Alisha by email: alisha@hollandreno.org, or call Alisha or Britt at 775.742.1858.

I’ll have both prints and original paintings for sale at the opening. I have some really nice surprises as part of my show, so you won’t want to miss it- it’s been years in the making!!

Upcoming Friend or Foe? show

lisa kurt friend or foe? show

Get excited friends!

My last solo show of 2014 is here…
I’ve been painting up a storm in the studio this last month and I’m so excited to share my newest paintings and drawings with all of you. The show will be at the lovely NeverEnder Gallery in Reno, Nevada (119 Thoma St, Reno, Nevada 89501) from November 10th through December 6th.
There is an opening reception this Thursday November 13th from 6-8pm, all ages are welcome and it is free to everyone. This gallery throws a really fun show, there is free food and beverages, along with their adorable shop and the new Mixed Messages Zine shop and gallery inside as well. I’ll be selling both originals and prints so there is something for everyone. I hope you’ll join me!

Into the Woods and Golden Hour commissions

On occasion I take on fine art commission work and over the last few months, I had the pleasure of two such commissions with two very lovely and wonderful families.

The first one was for the Lemaire family and was a Mother’s Day gift with a fun portrait of their three kids.

Lisa Kurt painting of Into the Woods

The second was for the Casey family as a birthday gift with a cute portrait of their sweet daughter.

Lisa Kurt's portait, Golden Hour

 

These are the last I’ll be doing for this year- I only make about 2-4 a year because of the time commitment but it is something I enjoy creating for people. The happy reactions really make it worth doing- so thank you to the Lemaire and Casey families for picking me to create these fun paintings!

 

Reno News and Review Best Of Issue

aliens roasting marshmallows

Many people know that I had been working on a secret illustration project through June and July, though I couldn’t really share what it was I was working on. Well now I can because it hits news stands today!! I created the cover and inside illustrations for the Reno News and Review’s Annual Best Of Issue, which was so much fun and you can check it out online too. Working with the editors, Brian and Brad, was a real treat; they were excited by my ideas and easy to work with. Together we came up with the theme of Nevada mythological creatures which I couldn’t have been more excited to do! It was a pretty fast paced turn around but I’m pleased with the paintings I created and it was just the right illustration project for me at the right time. Brad also interviewed me for the project as well and it was so nice chatting with him about how much we love Reno. That is also in the Best Of issue.

I’ll also be having my first solo art show through all of September of these paintings for this project at Hub Coffee Roasters at the Riverside location. We’ll be throwing a big reception too with a few surprises so stay tuned for the date- I’ll announce it here, on Instagram, and Facebook so follow me in one of those spots to keep up to date.

Here is a little preview of a couple of the images and I’ll get them all up on the website soon, but please, if you’re in the area, pick up an issue and enjoy as soon as you can! If you can’t wait- here’re the link again.

And one last thing- a big giant thank you to all of you who have supported me and my art and illustration over this past year. August 16th marks my one year anniversary into this new adventure and so many of you have been absolutely instrumental to my success. I wouldn’t have landed here a year later with this cool project, among others, if several people hadn’t prompted me to present about art, share my work, offer me projects, offer volunteer and/or teaching opportunities, and the list goes on. I hope you know who you are- I’m so grateful for you all and to be in such a rad community in real life and online.

xo,

Lisa

aliens

Area 51 aliens

waterbabies

Pyramid Lake waterbabies

sasquatch

Verdi Sasquatch

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Imaginary friends

One of the series I am working on in my studio is imaginary friends. There are lots of sketches but not many finished pieces just yet but today I did complete another one. It’s called finger trap and yet again, another creature was abandoned with no one to play with…

bunny friend with finger trap

No fingers and no friend who conjured him….wonder what this little bun will do to occupy his time. Maybe if enough imaginary friends get together they can have a party….or something. We’ll see.

You might remember this other little friend:

abandoned imaginary friend I

 

This little is Abandoned Imaginary Friend I and this piece was part of the Small Works Show at the 440 Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in December and January. I also created limited edition prints for the Holland Project’s Holland Editions.

440 gallery small works show

 

I’ve been having some fun with these little beans….you’ll be seeing many more in the future. I’m excited to see how their adventures will unfold.

Broken Hearts Collide Show

ghosts connected to heart

 

For the month of February this piece is hanging in the Broken Hearts Collide group show at the NeverEnder Gallery in Reno. It’s a good show with some really strong work – you should all go check it out while you can! Art shows are typically free to see and opening and closing receptions are as well; it’s a great way to spend an evening, meet some new people in your community, and view and maybe even purchase some local art. All the pieces at the Broken Hearts Collide show are for sale- including mine- consider supporting your local artists! 🙂

buffalo + cetus: the first process post

One of my goals this year is to share my process even more and give people a better idea of my process and how I put a piece together. Anyone who makes anything is in a constant process of learning and it helps to share with each other how to do things.

I did go to art school (yay MassArt!) which I think really helped me focus and immerse myself in making art for four years- I wish I could do that again! But you don’t have to go to art school to make art or be an artist. Sometimes I miss the critiques and peer review that art school provides.

In general though, I have always learned a lot just by looking at art and I don’t mean a quick glance in a book, online, or in a museum. Those are all great resources but by looking I mean studying a piece I admire- staring it down and taking in all the little nuances that make it what you see before you. I’ve also learned a lot by experimenting and watching others make things. In the spirit of all that, I give you my first full process post. This is a sort of step by step of my latest painting and how I got from point A to B. I hope you like it!

I usually paint on canvas or wood panels- in this case I used a wood panel. I start with prepping the surface- sanding, laying layers of gesso, and laying down layers of collage. Once the surface is completely dry I draw in the composition with a pencil.

do the work

The next part is to start the underpainting. I always do an underpainting – usually with a single color to start and then build layers from there. I use acrylic paint and the way I paint, the layers are really important to build up.step 2

As I work on the underpainting, I block in some color after a while- this is kind of the ugly stage and keeps getting more ugly until the layer build up enough to start looking good again.

step 3

Next, I start to focus on some of the details, I don’t like to wait too long because I know these will need layers too and if I fear part of the piece- that’s the part I want to tackle next. There is always at least one point in creating a new work where I sincerely think it may not work out and each time I push through and fight and discover that it does work out- and the world has not ended. I always learn something as I go through that as well.

step 4

At this point I keep adding layers and building the piece up. I go back and forth between detail work and the larger chunks. I try to move around the canvas- working all of it up together as much as I can so that there won’t be any piece that stands out as not belonging. If I focus too much on one section and don’t step back and work the whole piece- I could be off with colors, drawing, or any element that connects the elements together that make up the whole painting.

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Here is a detail of the buffalo closer up. To get the hair to look soft, it was building many layers of various colors up and using a couple of different brushes (some larger) to apply the different sections of paint. For really fine details I use a very small brush- I think it’s a 0/3. I also made sure to get the background right before delving into the buffalo- since he’s in front and I wanted him to be soft- it was important to get that background looking the way I wanted and then parts of the buffalo- particularly the edges with paint over the background.

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Here is the finished piece- it really is a matter of patient layering, letting layers dry, layering more, adding details, looking close and stepping back now and then. Often when I think I’m done or close to done, I’ll stop for the night and sleep on it and then look at it the next day. Many times that break away from the painting (and I will do everything to avoid looking at it for several hours) you come back with a little bit of a refreshed eye and can catch things I might have missed or something that still needs some problem solving.

buffalo + cetus

I hope this gives some insight into how I paint. There are many ways to paint- especially with acrylics- the best advice I can give is to play, watch some tutorials or get some books on technique and you’ll be surprised how much you learn. Even after many years- I feel like there is always more for me to learn and try.

The Biggest Little Art Show, Icons of Nevada

Sarah Winnemucca

I’ll be participating in the upcoming Biggest Little Art Show, “Icons of Nevada”. The opening reception on Thursday December 5th from 5-7pm is a free fundraising event. It’s a tiny works group show – all pieces are sized 2.25″ x 3.25″- the size of a playing card; all work will be for sale and 50% goes right to Sierra Arts.

My piece is titled, Sarah, and the subject is Sarah Winnemucca; she was a Paiute princess and an activist. She was somewhat controversial but nonetheless an incredibly interesting person. Come see my tiny painting in person- it really is just 2.25″ x 3.25″- hard to believe until you see it. 😉

There will be some really great art to see along with some tasty food from Wild River Grille. I hope to see some familiar faces for a fun night and a good cause!

ETA: There is a really lovely write-up of the event here: http://thisisreno.com/2013/11/biggest-icons-nv-little-canvas/