Art Form & Inspiration
Light inspires me to paint. I am deeply moved by the change of light at dusk, by fast rivers and the layers of mountains that move back into space, by roads cutting through fields and by porch lights reflected on the cold waters of Puget Sound at night. I’m also inspired by my ideas—I’m currently working on a series of landscapes and clouds viewed from the air.
I work from ideas and observation, from photos, from drawings and then often, while painting, I’ll change the light and it all shifts. There is often a deep emotional memory—or me—in my paintings. Many of my best paintings are of places and times of day that trigger a memory. To me these aren’t landscapes; they’re memories of a moment.
Light—and its interaction with water and land—is the essential element in Lisa McShane’s paintings. She travels again and again to specific areas of her past to study eroded hills and valleys, rivers and lakes and to watch the changing skies.
Her work is increasingly focused above the horizon: the color of dusk, the stars in the night sky. The eroded shapes of the landscapes are often abstracted and graphic.
She works in oils on oil-primed linen, often using dozens of layers of transparent glazes to capture refracted light. Sanding and scraping down to earlier layers is part of the process she uses in order to convey depth. While she experiments with historic paints and techniques, in the end she uses every tool available to convey what she sees.
Her work is in a number of private collections throughout the Northwest and has been exhibited in the US Embassy in Sanaa Yemen and in the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia, Washington. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.