Saturday, February 16, 2019

Aglow

I met Alicia online. As in an online dating app. But I wasn't looking for a girlfriend, I was checking out the competition.

After countless profiles of women my age in v-neck dresses looking lovingly toward the camera with alluring smiles and dreams of Mr. Right holding hands on the beach at sunset, I came upon her profile. I laughed out loud and had to tell her what a great writer she was and to wish her luck, so I did. That led to a meet up which turned into a friendship. Shortly thereafter she met a great guy and eventually I moved across the country.

From Alicia's Eye © Lissa Banks 2019

Now we are Facebook friends. She posts pictures of her remodel. She posts pictures of hummingbirds at her feeder, her brooding plumeria and moonlight over Los Angeles making me a little homesick. I salivate at the chicken mole she memorializes at a local spot. She's still in love with her man and I'm happy for her happiness.

Then one day she posted a photo of some cut citrus and I asked if I could use it for a painting. Being the generous soul that she is, she said yes. And so I painted it.

There are people that come into our lives and move right on through, like ghosts through a wall. Most of the men I met online were that sort. Others stay and have long lasting influence, both good and bad. And then there are the Alicias whose bright light shines like a beacon now and then, as bright and tart and sweet and aglow as the fruit in her photo, and now, hopefully in my painting. 

Thank you Alicia first for your turn of a phrase and now for your eye for something extraordinary. Please keep sharing that moonlight.


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  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Heading For The Barn

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark and it was raining.

We had been wine tasting down in the Willamette Valley on a cool autumn day, our teeth stained gray by the luscious pinot noir we'd tried. After a prudent break in the action, and a meal to fill our stomachs, we headed back north to Portland. I sat in the back seat.

The best place for me is always in the back given my penchant for dramatic air-driving to assist the actual driver from steering us into certain death. From there I can mutter exclamations, grit my teeth and hold tightly onto myself in phobic peace. On this drive there was little to see. It was pitch black even on the major highways as we hurled home.

Dark Driving © Lissa Banks 2019

When I was at camp--a horsy kind of place, just right for this little tomboy--we rode trail horses of all colors and sizes. And also of personality. First year campers were given the older, more experienced horses who were slow to rile and, well, just all over slow...with one exception.

At some point in the ride they knew, having traipsed these trails much of their lives, that home was nigh. So with the scent of the barn in their nostrils they perked up their ears and picked up their pace. We were warned to not let our chargers break into a trot, let alone a gallop, lest we newbies loose control. So we plodded on. How we all longed to let them go for it and make like Annie Oakley along with them.

Gone are those days for me. I'm sure that when we parked the car and dashed inside, I didn't even think twice about the intense fear I had experienced just moments before.  As annoying as my fear of being a passenger is to my fellow travelers, and I know this because they tell me, I long for those days of casting caution to the wind and spurring on the steed, wind in my hair and rain on my cheeks.


I invite you to visit my website where you can sign up to receive now and again emails that will keep you up to date with where I’m showing, when I post these musings, and when I am offering special sales and promotions! My site is secure and I PROMISE never to sell your information.

  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.

Monday, November 26, 2018

What Linda Said

Linda said, "Well, it's either going to be really fabulous," she paused, "or really gross." She was talking about the trip to Costa Rica I would be chaperoning along with two science teachers, both men. I was told the school wanted a motherly influence to go along with them. What Linda and I were both a bit leery of was the fact that all of the students who had signed up turned out to be boys. High school boys.

Douglas - On The Road To Monteverde - © Lissa Banks
It started rather inauspiciously when, on our way to our first destination our van clunked to a stop along the road. Light was waning as our driver searched for a wrench to fix the tire. No luck. As we waited for rescue, Douglas climbed on top of the vehicle, his camera always at hand. Below him lay the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. Behind him, to the east, lay the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde.

On that trip we climbed hillsides as the looming volcano popped an occasional boulder out of its caldera. We zip lined through clouds, soaked in scalding hot springs, and explored murky waterways while caimans slithered off the bank next to our low slung vessel. We even nearly killed ourselves whitewater rafting for which we unapologetically celebrated our survival with a taboo beer at dinner.

Roaches the size of your hand, hordes of mosquitoes, poisonous vipers, ants whose pincer bites mimic the pain of being shot by a gun, testosterone fueled iguanas and the random gecko found in one's pillowcase (mine) were much more serious threats than any high school boy.

I made that trip three times in total and those boys were my favorite charges. Not gross at all, totally fabulous.




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  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Positively

I can count on my left hand the number of times I can remember her throwing a fit. Her mother will likely disagree. But I find this child one of the most positive people I've ever known...granted, I've only known her a little over two years, her being two years old after all.

Charlotte © Lissa Banks 2018

She's a bit of an old soul in that body. I suspect she is reincarnated from someone who in some way was denied the life they wanted and has been born into this one determined to relish each and every moment...the good and the bad.

While visiting her the other day we sat on the floor of the sunroom, the rug strewn with crayons and markers; boxes and paper marked with abstract figures (her specialty) embellished with a constellation of stickers. She proudly showed me another of her masterpieces, this done with pink pen on the white painted furniture. I tried my best to give her a disapproving scowl but I was powerless against her twinkle and her smile.

One day she may become a surly teenager or a busy woman, too busy for her old Grandma. But at least I'll have this memory of her, radiant, victorious over chastisement. Positively perfect.


I invite you to visit my website where you can sign up to receive now and again emails that will keep you up to date with where I’m showing, when I post these musings, and when I am offering special sales and promotions! My site is secure and I PROMISE never to sell your information.

  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In Praise of Pretty

What's not to love about lovely? Why not want to surround yourself with beautiful things?

A while ago an influential individual in the local art scene remarked to me about an artist we both know. He said that their work, up to fairly recently, had been among the sort of "pretty pictures" that he often sees across his desk, but that recently the artist had "upped their game" to a new level. While I agreed that the artist had indeed matured in their medium, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth as I walked away from the conversation. What's wrong with pretty?

Death of Marat by Jean Louie David
Yes, there's a morbid beauty in David's Death of Marat, along with a healthy dose of political  commentary. And there is no doubt in the emotional impact Edvard Munch brought to the canvas with The Scream, especially now. I feel that way when I turn on the news these days.

The Scream by Edvard Munch
There are countless other noteworthy examples: Picasso's screaming bulls' indictment of war in his awe inspiring La Guernica, Michelangelo's pathos laden Pieta and just about anything by Francis
Bacon or Heronimous Bosch. All beautiful in their power and ability to elicit strong emotion.

But sometimes, actually most times, I prefer to surround myself with things that please me like a vase of dahlias or a bowl full of tomatoes or a cat purring on my lap. I thrill to the mastery of John Singer Sargent's palette.
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent
Or the meditative calm of Mark Rothko's intimate yet monumental canvases.

Blue Green and Brown by Mark Rothko
And I am calmed by the serenity of Jan Vermeer's interiors. I have not visited the Met if I haven't spent a few minutes in front of this painting.

Young Woman With a Water Pitcher by Johannes Vermeer

So please forgive my flowers, my happy children and the cloud filled skies of my landscapes. I rather like pretty.



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  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Empty Nest

Whenever I see an abandoned birds nest I inevitably pick it up and find a place for it in my home. Some are fragile, loosely constructed with twigs and air. Others tightly woven from horsehair plucked from a nearby paddock. They connote to me hope and sadness...and utility.

So when a friend of mine approached me after having watched my foray into figurative work and asked if he might commission a painting I was pleased. But all the more so since the subject would be his daughter, who was just entering her first year in college.

Elise © Lissa Banks 2018
I always worry about the image I might be working with when I work on commission. People are rightfully in love with their conception. In this case, I understood completely why Joe wanted this image memorialized, who wouldn't?

Joe and his wife Amy invited me to their home to discuss options. I showed them a number of compositions and dimensions. I explained the limitations of the image itself (remember .bmp files?) and came to an agreement.

I approach these projects with no small amount of trepidation. After all, I'm trying to capture the essence of someone I may hardly know or don't know at all. How can I do justice to their emotional attachment to the image let alone the person?

My children are all grown and have lives of their own. I'm fortunate to live close to one, but the other two live very far away. I have a wall now with all my favorite photos of them from babies to adults. These photos fill my empty nest. I hope that Joe and Amy feel Elise's presence, or at least her four-year-old self when they look at the tumble of hair and the little clutching hands. And that they remember how she filled their nest and how she will soar in years to come.


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  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original. You can purchase prints for sale at  FineArtAmerica.com.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tulip Field Fantasy

Before all things went to hell in a hand basket there was this moment when I managed to get one of the boys to stand still long enough for a quick snapshot before he ran off with his brother to wreck destruction on a good number of tulips. I'm certain, given the number of children at the tulip picking field, the farmers factor this into their overhead but their mother wasn't too happy with their behavior.  Being a grandmother I get to shine these kinds of things on somewhat, though I helped with the roundup and parceled out my share of hairy eyeballs to the miscreants.

Tulip Field Fantasy © Lissa Banks 2018

William loves all things nature. He will caress a newfound earthworm friend, gorges on kale straight from my vegetable garden and giggles with delight at kittens and puppies, newborn lambs and strutting chickens. And of course, there was that night we were all eating lobster that created for him his first existential crisis. So although he hardly stood still long enough to have noticed a single monarch that day, I imagined him surrounded by them in that moment of innocence...before the downfall.




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