“It’s never too late to get to where you’re going!” ~An artist returns to the work she loves
by Lisa Argentieri
This is how I became an internationally recognized, award-winning painter after more than a 25-year hiatus from painting and the art world.
Like all artists would testify, we know at an early age that we are meant to create. The desire to make objects that would be admired was in my soul. At seven years old I clearly remember handing over one of my drawings to the art teacher in school for her review, and she exclaimed, “You draw like Henri Matisse!” I, of course, then had no idea what she meant, but had a feeling it was a good thing! The attention and appreciation my art was receiving fueled me on. I would draw constantly, and pour over art books. I knew I wanted to be a “famous” artist.
My formal classical training in art began at the age of 15. As an art apprentice I sculpted, drew, photographed and painted in all mediums. I then pursued my BFA degree at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
I had the ambition, but I needed to make a living, so after graduation, I worked in the graphic arts field. I put away the brushes and canvases and unfortunately, my dream.
Decades passed and my thoughts about art or painting passed with them. But looking back now I see my mind’s eye for composition and design was still there. My formal training never left me, and in my mind the paintings stayed dormant until the day I received a brochure from the local library offering a pastel drawing class. “Why not go?” I thought, so I went. Unknown to me then, the universe had provided the vehicle that would unleash the force to fulfill my vision.
I watched as the instructor, using a live model, was showing the class how to draw in pastel. The group was instructed to do it on their own. After over 25 years I was suddenly drawing again! All of my training came back to me. That old “buzz” was soaring in me and I reveled in it. Then I became aware that the room had gotten very quiet. Feeling eyes looking at me, I ceased drawing. When I turned, all the other students had stopped what they were doing and were looking at me in awe. I had found the missing link in my life and my passion for art came back!
Watercolor has always been my favorite medium of choice. I then feverishly painted and studied and used the internet extensively. The internet was my tool for world-wide exposure: watching painting videos and friending via Facebook world-renowned painters. With online searches I learned what the best art organizations and art supplies were and made connections that I never dreamed possible. I was personally encouraged and given advice by the late great watercolorist Nicholas Simmons, and three years later had the unbelievable privilege of meeting and painting with the world famous watercolorists Keiko Tanabe and Thomas Schaller.
Six months into painting, I entered my first juried show with the first watercolor I painted directly from the model (with no preliminary drawing, as is my signature style). My painting was accepted into the prestigious Salmagundi Art Club, NYC open exhibition for non-members show, and won The Award of Merit for Watercolor. I was then invited to become a member of the world’s oldest established art club.
When I entered and won the online watercolor contest from Daniel Smith Artist Materials I gained tremendous exposure. I since have been featured on their website three times with demonstration articles. I entered and won Dick Blick art contests and subsequently had my painting featured in their ad on the back cover of Watercolor Artist magazine. I have had covers and interviews in local newspapers and magazines. I have exhibited twice in museums, all the things I had dreamed of as a child.
I get such joy when I receive emails from people telling me that I inspired them to return to art. I get satisfaction by donating paintings to non-profit organizations. This is why I paint, to bring beauty into this world.
But truly, the moment I felt that I arrived was when the Escoda Brush Co. (Barcelona, Spain) featured my art on their website, for there my watercolors are amongst the world’s finest contemporary painters.
So remember, it’s never too late to get to where you are going.
Lisa’s signature style is free-flowing, organic and fearless with bold, lively color. Lisa’s work is almost always painted from life and in one session, without the use of preliminary drawings or studies.
Her paintings have been selected into major shows including: The Salmagundi Art Club, The Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition, The Allied Artists of America Inc., The Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Audubon Artists. Inc., ALLI’s 54th & 56th L.I. Artists’ Open Exhibitions, L.I. Museum & Islip Museum.
Lisa’s paintings have been published in Watercolor Artist, Dan’s Papers, Newsday, Times Beacon Newspapers, Anton Newspaper Group, The Village Connection & ACES magazines.
Lisa is a member of several art leagues & an Artist Member of the prestigious Salmagundi Art Club, N.Y.C.