LISA McSHANE - Smith and Vallee Gallery



Meet & Greet:
Saturday October 2nd, 2021
3-5 pm

To view the 360 Virtual tour, CLICK HERE

Artist Statement

First, thank you for coming to see this work. At a time when leaving the house feels like a risk equation, I value that you chose to see my work. Here’s some background on this show. My paintings tend to be a map of my life and my thinking, and these are what I spent my time doing during an odd time in our history.

My last show opened March 7, 2020. For many of us that was the last time we were together indoors in a large group. I treasure those memories.

Within two weeks we were under a Stay Home order to reduce the spread and in early April I began to mail out drawings, a poem, and a note to friends, family, people I wanted to thank. I sent out over 200 drawings. The Pandemic Drawing Project brought me joy and took all the creativity I had during that period.

Except for one painting, this show was created in 2021. Painting during the pandemic – like a lot of things – was challenging. For me the pandemic combined with the election, the lies about the vote fraud, the attack on our democracy – it was hard to turn away from the relentlessly bad news. So I focused on health, family, friends, and witnessed as history unfolded around us.

Here’s how I found my way back to my work. My studio is on Samish Island and the Skagit Land Trust purchased a beach on Padilla Bay near my house. I started going there nearly every day at the end of my run or walk to see what was up with the water and the sky that day. I bought muck boots and so I started to venture out onto the tidelands to have a better view of the water flowing over sand and rocks. I’m especially interested in reflections and when I’m ankle deep in water I can see more, and more interesting, reflections. Especially sky and cloud reflections.

This show began with muck boots, standing ankle deep in salt water, watching the patterns of water and ripples of fluid reflections. It brought me joy and hope.

What’s next?

I am beginning a painting project I’ve thought about for 11 years, and carefully mapped out. I plan to paint the Columbia River from the estuary to the headwaters.

I’m inspired by the two series that Jacob Lawrence painted and his approach is my lodestar. He painted the great migration and American struggle; I’ll paint the river, the places I love, the places my family lived, and the stories of impact and struggle that I want to convey.

Those paintings will be one body of work. It’s fair to say that as I dive into the research and the painting I’ll produce fewer oceans. These are some of my favorite of all my paintings; I’ll miss having my studio full of reflections.