Interview with Liz Hoag

Liz Hoag's exhibit "Beyond the Trees" is closing today and we hope you have had a chance to see it! If not, be sure to make it in today. It really is spectacular. Liz answered some questions for us about her life and work and we are so pleased to share her answers with you today....

Your current exhibit at the gallery is entitled “Beyond the Trees”. Can you tell us about the exhibit and the pieces included?
This show, more than my past shows, reflects my love of balance, negative space, two-dimensional structure, and color. Some of the paintings, Lavender Abstract and Green Stripe for example, show my growth toward a more abstract vision of nature. Although I love the nature-based “feel” of my work, I also enjoy the more abstract elements of painting itself. In this show there’s a range of the more realistic to the more abstract and I’m interested in learning what people think and what they enjoy more.

Can you tell us a bit about the technique you use for your paintings?
I have become an exclusively acrylic painter over the past few years. I began using acrylics ten years ago because I was painting at home with young children in the house and didn’t want to subject them to the fumes that come with oil painting. When I moved my studio out of the house several years ago, I experimented with oil paint again but returned to acrylics because I love the speed of it and ability to create clean separations between colors without muddying the overlaps between areas of still wet paint. I do mix different media with my paint so that I can slow down the process slightly or create translucent washes and layers with the paint.
I know from our past interview that you have often found your inspiration right here in Portland on the trails. Is this still the case?
My work comes from spots all over Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Vacations, car travel, walks in the woods, they all work. The reality is that I bring my camera everywhere and when I see something that I think would “work” for me, I get the photo! Seriously, it could be a shot with my Iphone out the car window on the highway!
Do you have a favorite painting from the upcoming exhibition? If so, why is it a favorite?
This is a tough question to answer. I can’t pick a favorite, but I’ll pick one that I loved painting to talk about – Peek. This a more abstract painting that still maintains a real-life feel. I had fun painting it because I love picking apart the pieces of a view through the trees and finding the color and shapes that can fit together to complete my puzzle. I didn’t have to struggle with open space or ANYTHING I didn’t enjoy painting but often need to include to complete the whole. Every bit of this piece was fun to paint!

What (or who) inspired you to pursue art? How has your style changed over the years?
I’ve always enjoyed art. As a child, I drew all the time. I can’t say that anything or anyone in particular inspired me, but I can say that my mother never dissuaded me from pursuing art. I believe that that’s more support than most creative kids get! I love a huge variety of art and am inspired all the time by beauty! I majored in art in college, though struggled with the idea that it could be my profession. I got my MFA in painting in the late ’80s but painted very little for years afterward. I drew and painted in a very narrative and realistic fashion when I was younger. I focused on people and environments with people in them all the way through graduate school. Not until I quit my job in 2010 and decided to paint full-time, did I turn to landscape. I think I was old enough to drop the narrative story-telling aspect of my painting and focus on the image itself more. I also believe that the older I got, the less afraid I became of what people would think of my work and less afraid of the possibility of failure. I’m enjoying the act of painting more than I ever could have when I was younger!
August 30, 2019