by Lesley Samms
What’s the Story? – Artists and Gallery Owners talking about their unique journey
For this Spring edition we speak to artist Liza Mackintosh. Liza will be exhibiting in a solo exhibition at the Curlew, Bodiam, East Sussex from 8th January until 4th May 2022.
Liza was born in Katoomba Australia and moved to Sussex as a small child. Having family in both Australia and Canada she was lucky to spend lots of her childhood in both these beautiful countries. She would visit the Blue Mountains and go for long walking adventures through the Rocky Mountains in Alberta Canada.
“Growing up in an artistic home I was continually exposed to art and gained a lot of joy in painting and creating from a young age. My mum would frequently take us to exhibitions and some of my earliest memories of engaging with the art world come from trips to London as a child and experiencing the wonder of the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. Most notably Olafur Eliasson’s glowing orange sun from The Weather Project in 2003 and Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture ‘Embankments’, 2005.
“As a child, engaging with the arts by drawing at home or at museums and galleries were some of my happiest memories. Today I love seeing what my artist contemporaries are creating. Seeing their work online and in person is a huge inspiration and influence on me and my artistic practice. Having a community of other artists is so important for artists to strive as well as to challenge and develop their own work.”
Liza always knew she wanted to pursue a career as an artist, and therefore from a young age chose to specialise in art subjects at school. At A Level she had the chance to select Art as a Double Award in Art and Design, meaning she could have more time to really focus on her passion.
She completed her Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Falmouth in Cornwall.
“This year was an amazing experience. I left home for the first time and spent a year in the beautiful art studios in Cornwall where I discovered all manner of artistic pursuits. This included book binding, drawing large scale drawings on the local beaches, clay and wood sculptures, printmaking and, most alluring for me, painting. The diversity of expression with the medium of paint has always fascinated me and therefore I followed the path that led me to painting.”
Once completing her Diploma at Falmouth, she began a Degree at Wimbledon College of Art, being one of the only universities to have a Fine Art course that specialized in Painting.
“Organising and initiating my own artistic practice and allowing the paintings to direct the ideas behind my work were all key learning points from my degree. As well as being exposed to the wealth of museums, galleries and artistic culture that studying in London offers an aspiring artist.”
Liza’s artist practice consists of creating uplifting and calming abstract paintings inspired by the landscape around her. The sky, weather and evolving seasons influence her choices in the studio.
“The colours I work with, the marks I make, and the feel of the painting all derive from my direct experience from walking in the landscape and the memories that I have from it.
“The paintings are created by many thoughtful layers, building up on the canvas, wood, or paper in an intuitive and organic way much like the landscape they refer to. I work in oil and acrylic but lean towards oil for the richness and versatility that this wonderful medium offers. I hope my paintings can transport the viewer to the hinted places that inspired them and evoke their own personal experience from looking at the paintings through the expression of my own.”
Alongside the landscape her muse is the act of painting itself, how gesture and mark making – the process of painting itself – can express memories and thoughts that evoke the feel of a landscape.
“The simple pleasure of exploring mark making in paint, mixing colour and being creative in the studio are huge motivators for me as an artist. I strive to capture a feeling and energy in my paintings that can be allusive, overcoming this challenge when a painting finally comes into its own is the best feeling. As my paintings take place intuitively, I never know how a painting will end up when it is complete, and this journey keeps me on my toes during the painting process.
“Outside the direct process of making my work, connecting with those that admire and identify with my paintings always brings me a lot of joy. Hearing how my paintings bring calm, happiness and love into a collector’s home means so much. Owning an original painting that you really love is a particularly special addition to a home. I am motivated to continue creating work that can ignite a feeling of connection and happiness in my collector’s lives.
“‘New Moments’ is an oil painting on wood that has a light and upbeat energy influenced by Spring. Blossoms were beginning to appear as well as a feeling of hope that was palpable as we came out of our third lockdown. With a pop of vibrant pink and a range of green tones, the painting captures that fleeting energy of spring. The painting has a fluidity to it, the paint has moved organically during the process of painting which I found successful and really enjoyed painting this piece. ‘New Moments’ has now found a home which I hope it can bring that beautiful fleeting feel of Spring to.
“As an artist I aim to continue pushing and developing my artist practice, encouraging my paintings to evolve over time. Therefore, the paintings I am most proud of tend to be the pieces I have finished most recently. This October I painted a series of small oil paintings on paper, capturing my local landscape through the change into Autumn.
“As I was able to work on the series of paintings simultaneously, I could explore multiple colour palettes that I was seeing around me without overloading one painting. I am proud of the collection of paintings that came out of this project capturing those earthy tones and movement in the landscape. Many of these paintings have been selected and sold through the Highgate Art Gallery in London in their postcard exhibition and shipped off to join private collections across the UK. I created a film of the process of painting these smaller works on paper that can be seen on my Instagram account: @lizamackintosh
“The best thing about being an artist must be spending most of my day being creative. Seeing how the work develops on the canvas or surface I am working on. I just get lost in the process and often lose track of time, creating paintings is truly a magical process. I also love meeting new collectors and hosting exhibitions where I can share my work in person once a body of work has been completed. All the hard work that goes into its creation can finally be celebrated and that is a wonderful feeling.”
If you are an ambitious and motivated artist seeking to grow your artist-based business, get in touch and book a free 30-minute discovery session. Email: email@example.com
pictured at top: Liza Mackintosh, ‘New Moments’ (detail)