Bonjour Mes Amis!
Fancy a leisurely drive along the French Riviera, perhaps stopping at a friend’s apartment for coffee and pastries? If her piano’s in tune, she’ll regale you with an exquisite rendition of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” her flamingos, peacock and toucan in attendance.
Later, if you’re in the mood for a swim, the two of you can head for the beach, where you can stretch out under a fringed umbrella with a bottle of champagne. Ah, this is the life!
Canadian artist Lisa Finch loves to create scenes like these, painting stories with a unique vintage voice. Her pictures are perfect for those who appreciate old world nostalgia with a touch of whimsy.
She welcomes visitors to her French Canvas Studio like this:
Imagine you’re stepping into a little studio filled with paints, jars of brushes and lots of canvases, Some with works started, others drying, some just blank, waiting patiently. In the corner you’ll find an old easel, my father’s, given to me years ago when I was just a young woman.
Along the only solid wall in this studio, is a great French armoire with a large mirror on the centre door that I try to avoid looking at when I enter in the morning. It has its purpose, but my reflection is not the one I need. If you open the doors on this antique cabinet, they protest with a moan as they reveal rolls of wrapping paper and packaging for items waiting to be shipped.
Behind my desk, there is a large window that fills this little room with natural light and on rainy days, I turn on an old lamp that I rescued from the side of the road and a makeshift spotlight that holds onto my easel for dear life. It’s through this window that I often catch myself dreaming as I watch the towering maple trees in the yard sway and the squirrels maneuver through their branches like acrobats and where the birds, hidden somewhere in the foliage, let out a song that makes me wish I could sing.
This is where you’ll find me.
This is where I pursue an artful life…
The home studio of which she speaks is located in the quaint community of Whitby, Ontario, where Lisa lives with her husband, three dogs, and a parrot.
Her work is inspired by fond memories of idyllic childhood summers spent at a family cottage, along with her passion for animals, movies, sparkly things, and barbies. She was influenced early on by her grandfather, a Canadian landscape painter who guided her work. After studying fine arts and literature, she began her painting career by doing custom murals in homes and retail spaces. Her love for vintage pieces prompted her to open a shop where she transformed old furnishings with paints and fabrics.
She works with oil on canvas, selling both originals and fine art prints. Her oeuvre is a happy melange of vintage couture (love those hats and shoes!), charming animal portraits posing with or without antique furniture, beach scenes, cozy interiors, table settings and CAKE!
Her subjects, dressed in the height of fashion, bring to mind Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Hepburn. Hello, Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Chanel!
Love her largely pastel palette: there’s a feeling of “pretty in pink” with complementary pea greens, aquas, sky blues, and lovely lavenders. Cheery reds brighten many pieces, whether sports cars, balloons, pianos, doors, boats, or bows. So fun!
Where is the whimsy, you ask? Well, it’s not every day you can befriend a giraffe, who’ll attend your slumber party, lick your ice cream cone, ride in your sportscar, or sip some of your bubbly. And we all have adorable deer drinking from our birdbaths, and enjoy bubble baths in a claw foot tub with five dogs, right?
I enjoy immersing myself in Lisa’s world, which is defined by a certain elegance and a spirit of celebration — whether of a moment, an afternoon, a life style.
No surprise, I am especially fond of her fancy table settings, and wouldn’t pass up a slice of any of her scrumptious layer cakes. YUM, such a feast for the eyes!
Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.