Whatever you see can be an inspiration,” artist Lisa Tureson says, and a tour of her home and studio in Oak Hill, Virginia, illustrates the point. Murals of outdoor scenes covering the dining room walls were inspired by trips to Italy. The bark of a tree near the front door prompted a rough-textured painting underway in her studio. As a focal point in the study, a fluid abstract painting borrowed its glowing hues from fish swimming in a tank across the room. “Being alive is inspiring,” the artist asserts.
Tureson’s ability to turn any view or idea into an alluring piece of art has made her a prized source for custom commissions. Her work is shown regularly at Touchstone Gallery and the Washington Design Center’s AmericanEye in DC, and at Broadway Gallery in Alexandria and Great Falls.
She is best known for her peaceful landscapes, softened by clouds of mist and an aura of mystery. “That place on the horizon where you don’t know what’s around the corner intrigues me,” notes Tureson, who grew up near the water in Ocean County, New Jersey. In those formative years, she actively explored different types of art with her mother, an art teacher and interior designer. After a successful business career that sharpened her skills in problem-solving, Tureson pursued art full-time, first building a decorative-painting business that widely served the interior design community in the heyday of faux bois, mural painting, gilding and architectural coatings. About seven years ago, she turned her focus to fine art in mixed media. “I love challenges,” says the versatile artist.
Interior designer Barbara Hawthorn, who purchased one of Tureson’s paintings for her own art collection, has been commissioning pieces by Tureson for years. Recently, the designer requested a triptych of paintings based on Tureson’s mixed-media series titled Scribble. “You can tell Lisa exactly the effect you want, and she translates that onto canvas,” says Hawthorn.
While acrylic paint, canvas and hardboard are the artist’s primary materials, she works in a broad range of media. “I’m a painter,” she says. “I’m also very curious, and I like working with plaster, collage, different textures.”
Hundreds of brushes are stashed below and atop the wheeled worktable in her studio, and in an adjacent storeroom. Another table holds samples of gilding with metal leaf on glass, made in a process called églomisé. She treats glass in other ways too—dropping and shaping jewel-toned inks onto the surface, then fusing the image to the glass with a blowtorch or heat gun. Her designs on mirrors go a step further. After she etches and oxidizes the silver backs of mirrors, those artworks become the tops for hand-forged iron tables, custom-fabricated at Salvations Architectural Furnishings in Silver Spring. A number of Tureson’s creations are available in print and sold through Z Gallerie and other retailers. “I’m a firm believer that art should be accessible to everyone,” she says.
Outside the studio, Tureson has found a way to apply her art for a larger purpose: volunteering with young patients in treatment at Children’s National Health System. As part of an art therapy program, she helps the kids create a gallery of art, which will be on view for the second year at the annual DC Design House (September 30 to October 29) and available for sale to benefit the hospital.
One day while Tureson was pulling off tape that held a canvas painting to the wall, her eagle eye fell on the accidental patterns that occurred where the paint overshot the canvas. “There were so many interesting paintings within one little section of that tape,” Tureson recalls. She started saving and reusing the tape in mixed-media artworks. “The tape was always there, but that day I saw it,” the artist remembers. “All kinds of things reveal themselves if you just look.”
For more information on the artist, visit studioartistica.com.