Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I Do(odle) Now

Sillium © Lissa Banks 2018
I can’t really help it. I need to do something with my hands. So when I’m in a meeting or relaxing in front of the TV and there happens to be paper and a pen or pencil in the near vicinity I inevitably will start drawing. Nothing in particular, though I’m prone to suns and moons and lips.

Circus © Lissa Banks 2018
This past December I decided to start putting this nervous habit to good use. Initially using just pencil, I started concocting crazy images filled with disparate patterns and aimed for nothing really, just a bunch of stuff on a page filling in the spaces of random outlines. The results were quite interesting.

Self Contained © Lissa Banks 2018
Some took on anthropomorphic meanings. Some looked playful, some ominous. Soon I added color and a new line of expression for me was born.

Jelly Garden © Lissa Banks 2018
I’ve haven’t worked in any kind of abstract form for many, many years but I’m finding this a welcome counterpoint to my exacting realism. What fun it is to draw snakelike forms emerging out of and through holes in the universe. And I can indulge my instinct to grab for the brightest green and the most saturated turquoise! It’s fun and freeing.

Nautilus © Lissa Banks 2018
I’ve taken a leap of faith and included them in a submission to a local art center’s members’ exhibition this winter. When I dropped them off one of the director’s remarked. “I didn’t know you did these!”

I replied,” I didn’t either!” And now I do.

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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, January 1, 2018

Jan Theodora

My sister Jan died a little over a month ago.

She was, as all of us are, a complicated human being. In her obituary her son captured the best and the worst of her life when he wrote "Wonderfully eloquent in writing and conversation, Jan expressed herself beautifully and was known for her sharp wit and fabulous laugh. After a severe stroke tragically impaired her ability to communicate over her final 12 years, Jan’s physical limitations never diminished her fierce approach to life."

Jan Theodora © Lissa Banks 2017

That brilliant mind became closed off to us when her stroke left her with aphasia, an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. She could get out a few words, sometimes a surprising sentence  or two but then the sands swallowed up her following thoughts, leaving her silenced.

 When I was a little girl she made me the most exquisite paper dolls. I must have been about five, so she would have been about 15 or 16. They were drawn in the style of the most elegant newspaper advertisements of the day and the dresses were all ballgowns mimicking the fabulous gowns worn by Deborah Kerr in The King and I. I was thrilled and played with them until they were pulp.

The dresses she drew shimmer like satin in my memory. With a keen sense of design she went on to become an accomplished seamstress, a tailor really, whose "handmade" coats and frocks rivaled those bought in stores. Never inclined to do anything halfway, her cooking was legend, her home perfection, her dinner parties always memorable. And she did it all because excellence was of the utmost importance to her.  Woe to the unwarned butcher trying to sell her an inferior cut of meat. I was there once to witness her wrath, as many others did.

So when she recovered as far as she could from the damage done to her, the thought of her, of all people, unable to communicate except in spurts and with gestures, her bright eyes or that disapproving scowl, we all understood how much she had really lost.

She left us with wonderful memories of who she was to us all. To me, a second mother I always said. She was the epitome of style and pride with a large dose of humor and sass. I honor her by naming my most recent painting after her.

  For more about my work follow me on Facebook or visit my website Lissa Banks Paintings to learn how to purchase an original, a print or to commission a painting...or find me on Pinterest. Or you can find  prints for sale at FineArtAmerica.com.