Interview with Painter Lisa Armstrong Noble

Interview with Painter Lisa Armstrong Noble

We asked Lisa Armstrong Noble about the beautiful painting she donated to The Medusa Project fundraiser shop. We haven't seen a miniature painting come across our threshold so we had to ask her all about it.

 

  1. How did you come to painting miniatures?

What I love most about painting is its powerful illusionistic qualities. The engineering of paint can convince us that we are seeing something that simply isn’t there—our brains are forced to make sense of it all.

I wanted to challenge myself by finding a way to get closer to that aspect of the medium and I had been working on larger canvases for some time. I was thinking in terms of extremes so the idea of working at a miniature scale was a natural step into something different.

 

  1.  How do you prepare a canvas for such a tiny painting? Do the rules change because of the size?

Each miniscape begins as a hand cut piece from archival rag board scrap that was kindly donated by my local framer. I apply layers of gesso and then toned gesso to achieve a colorful matt surface with some texture to it. From there it’s pretty straight forward.

I just get to work and paint little landscapes.

 Working at a miniature scale requires a completely different set of rules. Only the smallest of brushes can be used, and even then a single brushstroke can have a profound impact on each tiny scene, sometimes destroying it and forcing me to start over.

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your technique.

Each miniscape is a snapshot of a memory from when I grew up on the prairies. My technique is a combination of reflection and execution. I’ll sit quietly and conjure up a mental image of something from my past. Then I work quickly to get the idea down in paint—first with the sky, then the ground, then the other details so that through the brush work I can capture the essence of that moment before it leaves me. Once I have the basic landscape in place I can slow down and begin to refine and rework until I feel that each piece has qualities that are distinctive and special.

 

  1.  What else do you want us to know?

I think it’s important to know that while I did study painting in art school, it wasn’t until the start of 2017 that I allowed the medium into my regular studio practice. I paint every day and I follow the idea that it’s all about showing up and getting to work.

Successes and setbacks are a regular part of my day and I continuously learn from them. Painting has become such an important part of who I am that I cannot imagine living without it.