How did you start and then develop your career?
Lisa Gleim: While at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), I gravitated toward figure and cast drawing, the practice of seeing three-dimensional objects and depicting them in two-dimensional work. And it may sound surprising; it was at PAFA I first used oils and got into painting. These experiences shaped a plan to become an oil portraitist, which I was the first 15 years of my career. Pastel, however, is the medium I ultimately turned to and I have never looked back.
Joanette Egeli’s captivating, pastel portraits were a springboard to my own professional style of minimalist realism depicting only the subject. This would change when a client commissioned a painting of a dog swimming. The addition of landscapes and wildlife coincides with my passion for these subjects and provided elements to expand the setting, the storytelling potential of my finished pieces. The outside changing values of light and atmosphere never cease to intrigue and challenge me. And in water there are the stunning reflective qualities, often movement and many streaks of colors. I think a sense of motion gives a two-dimensional work added depth. Needless to say, from portraitist, I expanded work genres.
In terms of business success, I stick with the basics. I work diligently toward long and short-term goals regarding quality, consistent production, and having well-respected, active gallery representation. This requires entering shows, being active in prestigious, progressive professional associations related to art and my subject matter, such as American Women Artists (AWA) and Artists for Conversation (AFC). With good, well-maintained connections, frequent exposure and strong branding, collectors take notice. Those who become patrons contribute word-of-mouth promotion and repeat sales.
How would you describe your current body and style of work?
In my newest wildlife series, I expand on a narrative realism wildlife approach I debuted in 2020 in an AWA juried museum show at the Booth Western Art Museum. The exhibited work, The Secret Keepers, was acquired by the museum for its permanent collection.
Now I set subjects against various ephemera, including vintage national park maps. These subtle backdrops add historic information are additional story elements. The animals and birds themselves are a mix of wild and domesticated, indigenous, and imported species. I am truly delighted by the reception this work has immediately received and honored it is represented by McLarry Fine Art, Paderewski Fine Art and Montana Trails Gallery.
How do you describe success?
Achieving measurable business goals is one way.
Creating timeless work is, to me, the especially rewarding achievement. I hope viewers will initially pause, linger and ponder the subjects beyond the particular framed moment and later, return repeatedly to note nuances, never tiring of the scene.
How do you find inspiration?
Inspiration finds me every time I step outside! I travel extensively, but my most frequently visited locations surround where my family and I make our homes: along the coastal regions of the East Coast and in the mountains of Montana. These are my “happy places!”
What is the best thing about being an artist?
It’s not always easy, but directing and pursuing a journey following my passions is priceless. I hope my fascination with my subject matter, keen observations and skill of mark making, layering pastels is tangible, inescapable, undeniable and resonates with something special for a viewer.
Who do you collect?
Work by fellow contemporary artists whose work is different than mine…and I like! The list includes, but is not limited to Burt Silverman, Christine Lefuente, Stefanie Lieberman, Bhavani Krishnan, Marc Hanson, Felicity House, Ott Jones, Abigail McBride, Duane Kaiser, Lynne Cartlidge, and John Moyers.