2017 solo show at Sierra Arts Gallery

Lisa Kurt

My latest solo show, Somewhere in the desert there’s a forest, is now showing at the Sierra Arts Gallery and is up until January 27th. There is an artist’s reception on Thursday January 19th at 6pm that is free and open to the public. This is one of my largest shows to date and includes new paintings, installation elements, and a large scale mural. I’m really proud and excited by how this show came together and even more thrilled to share it with everyone. Sierra Arts has been wonderful to work with and extremely supportive every step of the process. For more information and gallery hours, please visit their website here: http://sierra-arts.org/

My dear friend Elspeth Summers is going to be playing at the reception as well. She recently released a new album as well as a special video and song in support of Standing Rock. You can view her work here on her website: http://www.elspethsummers.com/music 

For a bit more information on this show, below is my artist’s statement and I hope to see you at the reception!

This exhibit is a series of paintings by Lisa Kurt, in which the artist has crafted miniature narratives of human fascination with nature, particularly animals, and animal-like creatures. Lisa continues to develop her own world that expresses the fragility, vulnerability, and personality of life. Inspired by the New England woods of her childhood, the wooded and damp world of North California and the Pacific Northwest, and her home in the high desert mountains of Nevada, she integrates elements of these landscapes into her works in various ways. Tumbleweeds in particular have become a new obsession; both novel and commonplace, these objects have become characters and hold a certain magic for the artist to explore. There is a focus within her work on the relationships and/or emotions of the characters within this world. Many of the characters within this work are an allegory; they often represent a secondary meaning such as a childhood memory, a story, an emotion, or a dream.

Lisa Kurt works primarily with acrylics and mixed media on canvas or wood panels; her work integrates maps and other ephemera within her paintings. She has also explored and experimented with gouache, watercolor, and acrylic inks.

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book release: Sarla in the Sky

lisa kurt's illustrated book sarla in the sky

Sarla in the Sky has arrived! The first published children’s picture book I’ve illustrated in my hands. I’m shaking a little bit. Indulge me for a moment while I share something personal….When I was little I used to make little paper and cardboard books- binding and all. I made art books and poetry books & a cardboard version of Penny’s book from Inspector Gadget. I made lots of art and had met picture book artists and wanted to be just like them. I dreamed of making books and art when I was tiny and held onto that dream for a long time. There was a point in my life where I began to let go of it- I heard myself say, “it wasn’t meant for me”, “I’m not good enough”, and “it wasn’t meant to be” I chose other paths and yet….here I am in this moment. In this moment holding my book!! I have dreamed about this moment for as long as I can remember- holding a book I made with a story I really believed in from an author I believed in. I’m so proud and so grateful. Anjali Joshi is a wonderful author and storyteller; I feel so honored that she and the Bharat Babies team believed in my work and art and chose me to bring the visual part of Sarla’s story to life. I am so thankful for this team!

And thank you to everyone who helped me along the way- there are so many of you out there! I’m so grateful for all of the people who have supported me, went to my art shows, sold work on my behalf, bought paintings, bought prints or products, picked me up when I was low, encouraged me when things weren’t certain, cheered me on when things went right, and in general were good to me when I needed it. It’s real! It’s here! Yay!!

You can order a copy of Sarla here: https://bharatbabies.com/products/sarla-in-the-sky?variant=16819772097 and there are still limited editions prints of Sarla available as well (only 50 total- all signed and numbered so get one while you can and support Bharat Babies so they can make more of these beautiful books!)

I know this will be the first of many books I illustrate and eventually I want to both illustrate and write a published book so stay tuned….there is more to come!


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artist profile video


The past weekend, Tweaking Reality Studios came to visit me in my studio and one of my favorite magical places while they made this stunning artist video of me. It is not always easy to share as an artist- there are pieces of me that are difficult to convey, emotions run high, and a vulnerability that breaks you open and leaves you exposed. It might seem dramatic and it certainly feels that way when I immerse myself in making a lot of art. Once I finish a large art-making run- I often feel a little like I’m coming out of another world altogether; I wasn’t even sure if I could do this video because I felt so drained, vulnerable, nervous, raw. Fortunately for me, these fellow artists captured me in video in a way that only fellow artists can; they understood me and that is such a lovely lovely gift. Thank you so much to you Elspeth, James, and Luke for seeing me and my art and for creating a time capsule for me and my son and my art. I’m so grateful.


Artlist Profile: Lisa Kurt from Tweaking Reality Studios on Vimeo.

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Fortinbras show // hands + objects

Reno Little Theater Fortinbras

During the month of April, The Reno Little Theater will be presenting Fortinbras, a delightful sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As a companion project to RLT’s Fortinbras play, I’ve created a solo show of small paintings hanging in their beautiful lobby. I was inspired by the objects in the play and using hands as portraits so I crafted a series of small gouache paintings on paper maps. All of these paintings are for sale for $60 each and can be purchased through the Reno Little Theater. The box office information is here: http://renolittletheater.org/box-office-info/

Back to how rad this play is…did you ever wonder what happened within the walls of Hamlet’s castle after Hamlet? I don’t want to give anything away but this play is so much fun. I got a sneak peek of one of the rehearsals and the cast is completely awesome and hilarious! The playwright, Lee Blessing will be attending opening weekend and is doing a talk back on Sunday April 3rd. The play opens this Friday April 1st and I’ll be there- so come join me, please say hello, watch this wonderful play, and check out my latest work- it’ll be so much fun!

Buy tickets here: http://renolittletheater.org/events/event/fortinbras/

RLT gallery1

RLT gallery2

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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

photo 1

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.

photo 2



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.

photo 3

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.


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!



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.


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.

photo 5

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.

photo 2 copy


photo 4 copy

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.

photo 1 copy

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.


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.


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



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!!

Greetings from Saint Mary’s Art Center

I arrived a week ago to Virginia City and the beautiful old Saint Mary’s Art Center. This is the view from my bedroom- I’m staying in the cutest attic room- which has provided lots of inspiration for stories and art itself. This was taken right before a snowstorm arrived.



And here is a photo from when the storm began- it didn’t take long for the hills and mountains to disappear. It was fun being up here during a storm- the wind was blowing but I was cozy in my studio and looking out the window every so often.VCpm

On the other side of the building the view extends for ages- it’s known as the 100 mile view and it is just amazing.


This building has so much character and charm and it did not take me long to get settled and start making art. I’m currently working on another solo show that will be in June at the Holland Project so most of what I’m making is for that at the moment. I’m really excited to show this group of work since I’ve been working on it for over a year now. Here is a photo another artist took of me as I was working. This space is just amazing to paint in- I love it and am enjoying every moment while I can. When I was 17 and just starting art school I would dream about my future where I was painting away in a studio like this- it’s hard to believe this is really happening for me!


Last weekend a lovely group of artists held their retreat up here and they were generous to include me in their activities and dinner. It was fun to see some people using the printmaking facilities and also see others diving into their process and taking advantage of the unique space up here. Dinner was homemade by a good friend who was part of the group. Sitting around the kitchen table for dinner with a friendly bunch of artists and enjoying their company was something I haven’t had in a long time and I so enjoyed every minute.

The wind is blowing again- though it is sunny with blue skies today. Time to get some coffee and get back to the studio- keep following along on my SMAC adventures! xo!



artist residency at St. Mary’s Art + Retreat Center


SMAC photo taken from their FB page


Next month…just a few more days away…I’ll be one of the resident artists working out of St. Mary’s art + retreat center. This will be my first residency and I am so excited. I’ve been working away to prepare and pack and next week I should be setting up and making more new work- hopefully hitting the ground running.

If you don’t know about this historical and magical place, it used to be a hospital opened in 1876, that has been since converted into an art and retreat space. It’s located in Virginia City, NV which is an interesting and quirky place to visit and explore. To read more- check out their history page.

I’ll also be part of the SMAC exhibitions opening reception on April 25th 1-4pm. I’ll be showing new work and I’m thrilled to share I’ve got a good chunk of my children’s picture book put together. I’ll be showing some finished paintings from that as well as preliminary sketches, character sketches, storyboard work, and early concepts. You’ll get to see the inside guts of what a picture book is really made of and the work involved- I hope you’ll join us for a fun day. The events at St. Mary’s are always a treat and the other artist’s showing are exceptional- I’m so lucky to be showing with them.

I will be blogging my experiences throughout the residency; I don’t know yet how often, but check here regularly starting next week to see photos, works in progress, and updates.

trying something new: sculpture

Despite having a pretty full plate, I’ve been itching to experiment a little bit and try something new. I haven’t really done much sculpture before and it’s such a different thing for me so I figured I would give it a shot. I love animation, sculpture, and set design so it’s somewhat related to that. I don’t really know that I’d ever make animation myself (super crazy time intensive) but I really do enjoy stop animation like the Box Trolls and Wallace and Gromit. I have a lot of ideas for 3D things and so I bought some bricks of Sculpey and some sculpting tools and I’m slowly learning how to make things. Here is a picture of my first attempt at a character sketch/design as an exercise for my picture book and some teeny little sculptures I started with:

Lisa Kurt //sculpture // http://lisakurt.com

and here they are after baking in the oven…not too much different but less shiney:

Lisa Kurt //sculpture // http://lisakurt.com

Making them was a mixture of fun and worry for me. I was worried about them breaking in the oven, I worried they wouldn’t look good, and I did have to redo a couple parts because of the way I held the pieces as I was working. It gets me thinking about how I should build them in the future and how to work the details in next time. The next step for these is to paint them, which will be a completely new experience for me to paint sculpture, but I’m looking forward to it since I love to paint. I also want to make a larger piece but I need to study how to build armatures first so it doesn’t fall apart as I build it. Wish me luck!!

upcoming classes winter-spring 2015

Lisa Kurt's class at the Nevada Museum of Art

I’ve been plugging along teaching pretty regularly since the start of the new year. Thank you to those who have come out to take a class with me! I’ve really enjoyed meeting so many new people and seeing familiar faces as well.

A number of people have asked me to post my teaching schedule so here it is as it stands right now. I’m sure I’ll be adding more classes and as I do I will post the updates here on my new teaching schedule page. The classes usually run based on attendance so if you really want to take one of my classes- sign up to make sure you don’t miss out! Thank you!

February through June 2015:

[sold out] Animal Illustration (kid’s class) Wednesdays, February 25 – March 18 / 3:30 – 5:30 pm [NMA*]

Creating Image Transfers Tuesday, March 10 / 6 – 9pm sign up here [NMA*]

Children’s Book Illustration March 27 through March 29th 10am- 4pm each day sign up here [SMAC*]

Creating Image Transfers Thursday, May 14 / 6 – 9pm  sign up here [NMA*]

Creating a Personal Sketchbook, June 25 / 5:30 – 8:30pm sign up here [Atelier*]


*NMA: Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV

*SMAC: Saint Mary’s Art Center, Virginia City, NV

*Atelier in Truckee, CA