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Washington Voices

Former graphic artist has eased into freer style

Thu., Feb. 9, 2012

Lisa Waddle is a graphic designer turned painter. Her work began controlled and has since evolved into a style of loose brush strokes. The idea of “releasing control” has opened her up artistically. (Colin Mulvany)
Lisa Waddle is a graphic designer turned painter. Her work began controlled and has since evolved into a style of loose brush strokes. The idea of “releasing control” has opened her up artistically. (Colin Mulvany)

Lisa Waddle is an emerging artist who has been emerging for years. It began in her youth when her grandmother bought her large boxes of art supplies for Christmas. Waddle loved how her senses were aroused by the colors, the smells of the paints or clay, and the textures of the different media. As she experimented, it seems, her fate was sealed: She was to become an artist.

Waddle, 39, earned a degree in graphic design from Spokane Falls Community College and worked in that field for a while. She and her husband moved to northwest Spokane neighborhood about 11 years ago, and she began earnestly painting again. Working as a graphic designer left her work more controlled than she would have liked, but in time it began to flow.

“My control-freak, graphic-design nature was spilling into my paintings for so very long,” she said. “Everything was planned, sketched, colors thought through, like I was laying out a magazine spread. And yes, if something happened that wasn’t planned, it was a mistake, a disaster. But now my ability to embrace the mistakes, to let go, has come from motherhood, age, reading Buddhist books, practicing yoga and accepting nonperfection. Perfection is an illusion, of course.”

Her ability to “let go” has led her to more instinctually created works. She will apply a background to the canvas and shapes will emerge. Whimsical and unexpected, the final product exudes a lack of fear, a “letting go” represented in curious imagery. She describes one instance when she photographed one of her paintings, transferred it to her computer and blew it up in Photoshop to make sure it was in focus. “There was this creepy ghoulish face staring back at me. So I ran back to my canvas and painted him in, and the image was totally in context with the rest of my painting. It was one of those meant-to-be moments.”

As a wife and mother, Waddle paints for herself. “It is the one selfish thing that I must do to stay sane. Life is so demanding, and painting is an emotional release,” she said. Her goals are to become more involved in the arts community and to find more time for creating her art.

Waddle has shown her work sparingly in Spokane, Walla Walla and Newport, Wash. A couple of years ago, she became involved with RiverSpeak, a nonprofit arts organization that seeks to collaborate with local artists, organizations, and venues to organize local arts activities. Through art, the collective hopes to enrich and strengthen the local community.



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