Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lisa Kaser....On the Way to Something Wonderful

Detail of "On the Way to Somewhere Wonderful"
Watercolor collage by Lisa Kaser

Several years ago, before Etsy came on the scene, I stopped into Lisa Kaser's former gallery in Portland.  She was seated at one end of the room, working on a large textile, but she looked up immediately and gave me her warm, welcoming smile. I had known Lisa briefly 25 years or so earlier and had subsequently lost touch with her.  But as soon as we established our earlier acquaintance, we launched into talking about art, and specifically, her art.  Because in addition to her textiles, the gallery was filled with her wonderfully imaginative, collaged watercolor illustrations of oddly humorous and lovable characters, and each illustration was accompanied by a line of verse that was just enough to tell a story. I was totally hooked!

At the time, I was anticipating my eldest daughter's departure for her freshman year at college and one illustration spoke directly to me.  It was of a character standing at the edge of a dock-- arms stretched wide and face displaying utter bewilderment.  Meanwhile, a  manatee-like  fish-person, upright with head and torso above water (in seahorse posture), all smiles in her spiffy hat and striped fish suit, was glibly striking out from the dock, without even so much as a turn of the head or a wave of the hand.  And the accompanying verse?  "If You Go, I Will Be Sadness Itself!"  Yup, I thought to myself, that about sums it up.

But Lisa's illustrations are not all about sadness.  Far from it.  And years later, when I found her work on Etsy, I discovered the majority of her illustrations are accompanied by an additional paragraph of imaginative text, full of nuance and sophisticated humor that further sets the stage for a delightful story.

 "On The Way To Somewhere Wonderful" by Lisa Kaser
"They had discussed the carnival, the county fair, the trail by the river, Betina's No-Meat Hot Dog Shack, the patch of grass over by the big tree, the little hill overlooking the pond, grandma's house, visiting Goat..."


 "Jule's Place Was Too Small for the Potluck"  by Lisa Kaser  
"Jules was no doubt a conflicted optimist. When volunteering to host the quarterly meeting for the "Dutch Film Noir" club, he had failed to consider that he had all of one chair, his table was the size of a nail head and the dimensions of his front door did not even accommodate himself when carrying a bag of groceries."
  
 
 Detail  of "Jule's Place..."

Lisa holds a BFA in Fiber from the University of Oregon, but was introduced to drawing at an early age by her father who taught art in the public schools.  Besides her illustration and textile work, she paints with oils and also creates fanciful sculptures out of hemp or felt, beeswax and found objects, such as tines from streetcleaner brushes found while walking the streets of Portland.

 "Once Upon A Time This Boat Dreamed Of Prairie Grass" 
by Lisa Kaser
Sold

 
 "A Walk With Eudora"  by Lisa Kaser

Lisa currently shows her work at assorted galleries.  Through October 26, she is a featured artist at Portland's Guardino Gallery where among other recent works, her charming sculpture, above, is on exhibit.  And-- hooray, hooray--her first children's book, The Story of the Three Pigs, is soon to be published!  Visit Lisa's website here

Cheers!


Images courtesy of Lisa Kaser.
 

11 comments:

annamaria said...

So enchanting! Thank you very much for introducing Lisa's work, it is simply 'wonder-full'...xx

Lisa Kaser said...

A big THANK YOU, Gloria! So appreciate this nice acknowledgment of my work.

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

These pieces are all delightful and I think I might love the sculptural pieces the most...so whimsical! Thanks!

Gloria Freshley said...

Thanks Annamaria! I'm very happy to have had the opportunity to introduce her work. Have a great day in your studio! Love your recent bird paintings...

Gloria Freshley said...

Hi Lisa -- You are so very welcome!! And thanks to you for all your wonderful work! Best...

helen said...

Her work is so magical! Wonderful article.

Gloria Freshley said...

Hi Patti, Somehow, I'm not surprised that her sculptures are your favorites....I can definitely imagine her sailing vessels inhabiting some of the imaginary worlds you have created in your narrative watercolors. And then, of course, there's your mutual affinity for wax...

Thanks for commenting!!

Gloria Freshley said...

Hi Helen, and welcome! Glad to have a Portlander in our midst and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Zeran said...

FANTASTIC!!!!!

Laura said...

thank you for the introduction. such endearing characters!

Gloria Freshley said...

Hi Laura! Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, plenty of endearing characters in Lisa's world. And lovely subtleties in the rendering of their faces.

Speaking of subtleties, your evocative work continues to draw me in! Best...Gloria