Sunken Treasures and a cover

My painting, Tahoe Gold, is still up for the duration of the wonderful Sunken Treasures and Ghost Ships exhibits at the Tahoe Maritime Museum near Homewood. The exhibit is a combination of history and art with all kinds of really cool artifacts related to Lake Tahoe maritime history. Because of this exhibit, my painting was also chosen to grace the cover of Perspectives on Arts summer 2014 issue which was such a nice surprise. They even did a little write up about the painting and me on the inside cover. If you're in the Tahoe/Northern Nevada area- check them out! giant Lake Tahoe goldfish

The River Washes Away All My Sins Group Show

Things have been mega busy this summer- I'll catch everyone up soon with some of my activities and work I've been doing. For now- I wanted to share that there is a really nice group show up at the Neapolitan Gallery in the Ampersand Bar called The River Washes Away All My Sins but it's coming down soon (July 31st is the last day). I have a painting in this show as well which you can see below (though it's always better to see paintings in person!) woman drowning


I hope you're all having a lovely summer. More soon! xo


The River Washes Away All My Sins Group ShowThe River Washes Away All My Sins Group Show

Universe: the Art of Existence at Modern Eden Gallery

UNIVERSE-The-Art-of-Existence I am so pleased to share that this month one of my paintings is hanging in the group show, Universe: the Art of Existence, curated by Michael Cuffe of Warholian.

girl holding heart and strings attached to fox

My painting, "We shall need each other" is 12"x12" acrylic and mixed media on a wood panel.

I'm excited and honored to have my work up at such a lovely gallery as Modern Eden, alongside so many amazing artists as this show provides. Michael's vision was to give all 60+ artists the theme of the cosmos and quickly turnaround a new piece for the show which has been a great success.

universe opening

The opening for the show was in April and it was amazing! Seeing the work up close and in person is well worth the visit as was meeting so many great people. There is a great write up with lots of terrific photos all by Michael Cuffe of the opening on the Warholian site.

Lisa Kurt Universe show

There are still a few days left to view the show, it is up until this weekend, May 3rd with a closing reception this Friday May 2, 2014 6-9 pm. If you're in the Bay area please get out there and see some awesome artwork!

If you're not in the bay area but are interested in viewing the show or possibly purchasing a piece, take a look at Modern Eden's online collection of the Universe show. (All available works are available for online purchase)

Thank you!

*The first and fourth photo are by Michael Cuffe



Curated by Michael Cuffe / Presented by Modern Eden Gallery Opening Reception: Saturday April 12th, 2014 6-10 pm Exhibition Dates: April 12 – May 3rd, 2014

Location: 403 Francisco St, San Francisco, CA 94133


Imaginary friends

One of the series I am working on in my studio is imaginary friends. There are lots of sketches but not many finished pieces just yet but today I did complete another one. It's called finger trap and yet again, another creature was abandoned with no one to play with... bunny friend with finger trap

No fingers and no friend who conjured him....wonder what this little bun will do to occupy his time. Maybe if enough imaginary friends get together they can have a party....or something. We'll see.

You might remember this other little friend:

abandoned imaginary friend I


This little is Abandoned Imaginary Friend I and this piece was part of the Small Works Show at the 440 Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in December and January. I also created limited edition prints for the Holland Project's Holland Editions.

440 gallery small works show


I've been having some fun with these little'll be seeing many more in the future. I'm excited to see how their adventures will unfold.

Trying new things, story two

photo 5 Last month I wrote about learning new things and an experience that maybe wasn't the most successful, but where I still learned some good lessons from doing it, including to laugh at myself a little more. This time I want to share another story about learning something new where it was very positive and though I still made some mistakes- I was still able to produce some respectable results and still not take myself too seriously.

In February I took a class at the Nevada Museum of Art in Linocut Printmaking. I've taken printmaking classes before but it's been years and I've never tried linocut before. I went in excited and ready to learn- ready to implement some things at home and experiment with this new-to-me art form.

The class ran once a week for four weeks which was great because it gave us a lot of time to try a few techniques and work with a nice press which is hard to come by!

photo 1

The teacher was Elizabeth Ferrill, she is in town for a limited time while she teaches at UNR and St. Mary's Art Center in addition to the NMA. I highly recommend taking a class with her, as she explains the process well and lets people really try different things and offers great feedback. She was very encouraging and made the class fun.

photo 2

The class was a mix of experienced printmakers and students totally new to printmaking which also made it great. Everyone had really interesting images and brought a variety of ideas which I think always gets me more engaged in the process of art making.

The class overall was a busy but relaxed atmosphere- everyone really got into the zone making prints and carving images into the plates. It was nice to take little breaks to walk around and look at what others were producing; I wish I had taken some photos because there were so many really nice prints. My favorite part of the process was carving- it's almost meditative as you carve lines and shapes into the material and build your image.

photo 4

I played with different color inks and the way that I applied them to the plate to see what textures would come out when run through the press. I'm not going to lie, operating that press was super fun too and so satisfying to see that print come off with a new image. Even the same image will yield many different results depending on how you apply the ink and what kind of paper or fabric you print on.

photo 3

This class was just what I needed to get out of my comfort zone, learn some new things, and see things in new ways. This way of printmaking got me to really think and plan a bit ahead for what I was going to make, allow for some surprises, and embrace mistakes as positives. I also got lots of new ideas from the whole experience which is exactly what I love most about learning.

Trying new things, story one

One of the things about me is that I really enjoy learning new things. I think that because I tend to be someone who gets super focused on something- it's nice to pull back now and then and do something fresh just for fun. It helps me lighten up and reminds me why I'm an artist in the first place. Don't get me wrong- I struggle and sometimes get really frustrated when I'm trying a new thing but there is something really satisfying when or maybe if I start to get the hang of it. There was one time when I had taken a crochet class. I was totally excited because I had never crocheted before and I really wanted to make some cute stuffed animals. I had dreams of making a cute little lobster and I thought little bunnies would be fun. The bar was set high in my mind and I thought I was going to pump a whole bunch of new things out and have a blast! When I arrived, the class was pretty full but there were two instructors so I was pumped! People in the class were really friendly and everyone was excited. I think I might have been the only one without any experience in crocheting but I was ready to learn. Anyway- we each had our materials and the teachers gave a demo and then we all jumped right in. At first I thought- "yeah, I'm crocheting!! It's happening!" After a bit of time though- I realized something wasn't right. I ended up taking it all apart and starting again. I was more careful and asked for clarification to get started and thought- "okay- shaky start but we got this now." Well....that happened about 6 more times until the end of my 3 hour class. As everyone else was finishing their cute little animals, stuffing them full with batting and securing eyes and details on, here I was still just trying to get anything that resembled crochet. I was frustrated and it was the first time in a very long time that I had been the VERY WORST in the class. I was a little embarrassed and bummed but as I walked home from the class I started laughing to myself- how funny was that?! I mean- yes I walked away not learning how to really crochet and with nothing to show for the time and money spent on the class but I learned some things about myself for sure. When I got home my husband asked me how class was and I told him "it didn't work out so well." He felt bad and asked what happened. I told him and then said..."do you want to see what I made?" He said yes and this is what I showed him....BEHOLD the THUMB HAT!

thumb hat

And then we laughed for about 10 minutes straight. I haven't tried crochet again since but it doesn't mean I won't! I still carry those dreams of creating cute little forest animals and sea creatures. And what a fun story to tell...because sometimes what I need is to laugh at myself more and take myself seriously less.

Broken Hearts Collide Show

ghosts connected to heart  

For the month of February this piece is hanging in the Broken Hearts Collide group show at the NeverEnder Gallery in Reno. It's a good show with some really strong work - you should all go check it out while you can! Art shows are typically free to see and opening and closing receptions are as well; it's a great way to spend an evening, meet some new people in your community, and view and maybe even purchase some local art. All the pieces at the Broken Hearts Collide show are for sale- including mine- consider supporting your local artists! :)

buffalo + cetus: the first process post

One of my goals this year is to share my process even more and give people a better idea of my process and how I put a piece together. Anyone who makes anything is in a constant process of learning and it helps to share with each other how to do things. I did go to art school (yay MassArt!) which I think really helped me focus and immerse myself in making art for four years- I wish I could do that again! But you don't have to go to art school to make art or be an artist. Sometimes I miss the critiques and peer review that art school provides.

In general though, I have always learned a lot just by looking at art and I don't mean a quick glance in a book, online, or in a museum. Those are all great resources but by looking I mean studying a piece I admire- staring it down and taking in all the little nuances that make it what you see before you. I've also learned a lot by experimenting and watching others make things. In the spirit of all that, I give you my first full process post. This is a sort of step by step of my latest painting and how I got from point A to B. I hope you like it!

I usually paint on canvas or wood panels- in this case I used a wood panel. I start with prepping the surface- sanding, laying layers of gesso, and laying down layers of collage. Once the surface is completely dry I draw in the composition with a pencil.

do the work

The next part is to start the underpainting. I always do an underpainting - usually with a single color to start and then build layers from there. I use acrylic paint and the way I paint, the layers are really important to build up.step 2

As I work on the underpainting, I block in some color after a while- this is kind of the ugly stage and keeps getting more ugly until the layer build up enough to start looking good again.

step 3

Next, I start to focus on some of the details, I don't like to wait too long because I know these will need layers too and if I fear part of the piece- that's the part I want to tackle next. There is always at least one point in creating a new work where I sincerely think it may not work out and each time I push through and fight and discover that it does work out- and the world has not ended. I always learn something as I go through that as well.

step 4

At this point I keep adding layers and building the piece up. I go back and forth between detail work and the larger chunks. I try to move around the canvas- working all of it up together as much as I can so that there won't be any piece that stands out as not belonging. If I focus too much on one section and don't step back and work the whole piece- I could be off with colors, drawing, or any element that connects the elements together that make up the whole painting.

step 5

Here is a detail of the buffalo closer up. To get the hair to look soft, it was building many layers of various colors up and using a couple of different brushes (some larger) to apply the different sections of paint. For really fine details I use a very small brush- I think it's a 0/3. I also made sure to get the background right before delving into the buffalo- since he's in front and I wanted him to be soft- it was important to get that background looking the way I wanted and then parts of the buffalo- particularly the edges with paint over the background.

step 6

Here is the finished piece- it really is a matter of patient layering, letting layers dry, layering more, adding details, looking close and stepping back now and then. Often when I think I'm done or close to done, I'll stop for the night and sleep on it and then look at it the next day. Many times that break away from the painting (and I will do everything to avoid looking at it for several hours) you come back with a little bit of a refreshed eye and can catch things I might have missed or something that still needs some problem solving.

buffalo + cetus

I hope this gives some insight into how I paint. There are many ways to paint- especially with acrylics- the best advice I can give is to play, watch some tutorials or get some books on technique and you'll be surprised how much you learn. Even after many years- I feel like there is always more for me to learn and try.

Hello 2014!

do the work Happy New Year everyone! I'm motivated for this year to be BIG...bigger than 2013 with a huge focus on making a lot of new art and as you can see above I have wasted no time in getting started on my latest painting. With that, there will be some changes for sure and I'm still working out what that means in terms of priorities. I'm still planning on writing regularly here and sharing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So follow along with me in those places if you don't already.

One thing I'm changing here is the weekly sketches. I'll still be sketching pretty often and making art every day and every week but scanning, editing, and posting the sketch weekly disrupted me a couple times from concentrating on the art I was working on and that is what I love best. For me, art needs concentration, diligence, and momentum. My favorite thing is to let go and lose myself in the work. So- you'll definitely see a lot more art here but the hope is it'll be a little more organic and closer to what I really do when I make art. I have several projects in the works that I'll be sharing including a glimpse into my art process- I'm very excited to share that. I also have a number of events and news to share coming up. So stay tuned and welcome new year- I am so excited for all the possibilities!

Thank you sale! 20% off!

promo_sasquatch Why wait for Black Friday? Why leave the house!? Let's celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season early!

I'm so thankful for all of the people who have shown support in one way or another for my work, this sale will offer 20% off in my Etsy store and will last 6 whole days!

Starting Wednesday 11/27/2013 through Monday 12/2/2013. Prints are a great gift and I am even adding new prints in my store today in time for the sale.

Use the code THANKS13 upon checkout for 20% off your order!

If you are holiday shopping, my shop will close Wednesday December 18, so be sure to get your order in before 5pm that day to ensure delivery by the holidays (international customers should order by this week).

Thank you all!!

The Biggest Little Art Show, Icons of Nevada

Sarah Winnemucca I'll be participating in the upcoming Biggest Little Art Show, "Icons of Nevada". The opening reception on Thursday December 5th from 5-7pm is a free fundraising event. It's a tiny works group show - all pieces are sized 2.25" x 3.25"- the size of a playing card; all work will be for sale and 50% goes right to Sierra Arts.

My piece is titled, Sarah, and the subject is Sarah Winnemucca; she was a Paiute princess and an activist. She was somewhat controversial but nonetheless an incredibly interesting person. Come see my tiny painting in person- it really is just 2.25" x 3.25"- hard to believe until you see it. ;)

There will be some really great art to see along with some tasty food from Wild River Grille. I hope to see some familiar faces for a fun night and a good cause!

ETA: There is a really lovely write-up of the event here:

Latest pieces at Noble Pie

buffalo + cetus This month, I have three new pieces in the group show, Sensory Impressions. The show will be hanging at Noble Pie Parlor through the month of November so check it out and get one of their Thanksgiving calzones (so. so. good.). Each piece is a 5"x 7" graphite drawing on 11"x14" archival paper. All three pieces are part of my ghost series that I've been working on. The above piece is called buffalo + cetus. Each piece represents a story of childhood.

elephant + ursa minor

The piece above is titled elephant + ursa minor. The animals in each work represent a ghost and each also relates in some way to the constellation within the piece.

moth + lepus

This last one is titled moth + lepus. I don't like to give too much away in terms of the stories wound into each work because I feel like it tells the viewer what to think, instead of what to imagine. So I'll keep a bit of mystery to these for now.

The originals are for sale at $100 each, so let me know if you are interested in purchasing. (lisapisa77[at]



The Stranger Show at Holland Project

Holland Project Stranger Show The Stranger Show reception last week was hopping and it was fantastic! As I mentioned before, I'd been collaborating with a high school student during the month of October to create a piece for this show. 16 students and local artists were paired together for this project and we were tasked to create something under the theme strange, hence the Stranger Show. The Holland Project has been doing this every year for the past three years and I'm so glad I got to participate this year. I didn't take as many photos as I should have- I guess I was just really enjoying being in the moment!

My son and husband joined in the fun too. My son especially loved the piece below. It was a cool interactive piece where you pull a glow stick and it abducts the little pig into the spaceship!

aliens abducting pig

So much great art from these Hug High School kids- so many people were impressed at the level of the work. My friend Casey (who was also a participating artist) and I were talking about just what a cool space the Holland Project is; we both felt like it would've been our very favorite spot for us as high schoolers. To be honest- it's definitely one of my favorite places in Reno. The event alone was impressive, with not only original art, but also music, and handmade food.

I was happy to get the chance to hang out with my student collaborator, Lupe Reyes, and I got to meet her wonderful family- it was so awesome. The wonderful surprise that came later that evening was, that Lupe and I won the judge's pick- such an honor. Lupe got a sweet $100 gift certificate to the local art store. The night made me so happy to be part of such a cool event and amazing community. The show is up until the end of November, so check it out if you can!

Lupe and me

Sketchbook: week 9

Well last week sure got away from me but for all the right reasons! I finished my latest commission and started a couple of new projects as well. I have more to share but will save some for a later/separate post. I still did manage to get some sketching in and got a nice little set of conté crayons to play with. Here is the latest sketch: sk_monster


So this little guy is also part of my newest project. He's a little sad holding that rubik's cube isn't he. You'll have to stay tuned to find out why. ;)

Collaborating with high school students via Holland Project

For the month of October, I've been collaborating with a local high school student to create a piece for the annual Stranger Show at the Holland Project. My student-partner-in-crime's name is Lupe and she is super talented, smart, and loves Jack Skellington perhaps as much as I do. We've been working together weekly to get our piece done in time for the show and it's been fun to collaborate with someone new. Here she is painting away on one of our panels: student painting


If you're in the Reno area, the Stranger Show opening reception is this Friday November 15th, 2013 at the Holland Project from 6-8pm- there will be food and mariachi music as well- I hope to see you there!

Sketchbook: week 8 and more news!

I'm excited to share that I have some work in a group show tonight, so if you're in the Reno area- stop by Noble Pie Parlor between 7-10pm for a great show! The work will be up for about a month- so please stop by. I have 3 new pieces- all graphite drawings on archival paper. I'll share those images later- I promise! This week's sketch is inspired by one of my favorite and ubiquitous animals- the beloved feline. I decided I wanted to make a Patron Saint for Hover Cats. If you own or spend enough time around cats- you will recognize this phenomena where cats legs disappear and they become hovering beings. There is also a hover cat on Welcome to Night Vale- he sounds a little scary though. Anyway- enjoy!

patron saint of hover cats

Sketchbook: week 7

This week's sketch had to be inspired by Halloween. I'm often inspired by spooky, supernatural, and weird tales as a default so this of course is my favorite holiday! skeletons ghost pumpkin

I've been watching some scary movies, some Twilight Zone and X-Files episodes, and reading lots of Lovecraft stories throughout the month to get into the Halloween spirit. If you enjoy podcasts, you might like Welcome to Night Vale- it is awesome and weird.

I hope everyone has a fun Halloween- look out for those monsters, ghosts, voids, and unknowable creatures!

Sketchbook: week 6

This week has been full of fun projects, including 2 commissions- one of which is complete- hooray! I'll be able to share more soon. I've still managed to keep up with sketching - this week entailed a lot of quick and rough sketches as I had more ideas to capture before I forgot them. Here is this week's sketch I want to share with you: girl in bed with ghosts around her


I've been continuing on with my ghost series, as you can see. This little sketch has a lot of meaning in it to me and will very likely get painted because of it. I've been thinking a lot about my grandmother- she passed away years ago but was a very important female figure in my life. She loved a good story and I think I get that trait from her. She was artistically inclined- as is my mother and one of her favorite places was her bed- she loved to read, sleep in and just hang out in her bed. I have a vivid memory of my grandfather showing me a picture of her lounging in bed with a book and him saying how much she just loved to be right there with her thoughts. I also love my bed- I love sketching, daydreaming, reading, and napping in my bed- it's just the most comfortable, coziest, and safest place to be vulnerable and be yourself. Some of my best sketches come from late at night, just before I settle in to go to sleep and I have just a burst of ideas I need to capture. If I don't get them down right then....they sometimes are lost forever. This is one of those sketches.