Mixed media artist Lisa Goddard is attracted to endless possibilities – the juxtaposition of color, texture, technique and materials that come together to tell a story. Lisa’s vignettes evolve from the language that her materials speak to her, telling a unique tale with each playful creative adventure.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
I have always had a love of art. As a small child I was at my happiest colouring and painting, this continued all through school and so It seemed an obvious choice to pursue it further and I ended up taking Fine Art at University.
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After University I was at a loss as I felt totally directionless and more or less put it to one side until I had my second daughter several years later. I suddenly felt I wanted something for me and started creating again. I refound my passion for it and have never looked back.
What inspires you to create?
My inspiration is all around me: my life, my family, my home, the nature on my doorstep. I also am inspired by vintage photos, images and fabrics that always have their own untold stories to reveal.
Why mixed media? How does that medium best express what you want to communicate through your art?
I enjoy the freedom of mixed media, not restricting myself to one thing. It allows me to play and experiment and be freer with the marks that I make. I can combine colour, texture, pattern, imagery and words to communicate a feeling, memory or a story.
Recently you have taken the plunge into full-time artmaking. Tell us about making that decision. Why did you make the leap at this time? Is it what you expected? What has surprised you?
During the pandemic I turned 40 and realised I had been in the same job since I was 23. It wasn’t a bad job but It didn’t hold much interest for me and was not doing something I am passionate about. I had been pursuing my art part time on the side for several years and knew that’s where I wanted to be. It was a scary decision, but I felt like if I didn’t give it a shot I’d always regret it. I am a few months into being a full time artist now and so far so good. I honestly don’t know how I fit everything in before as I feel constantly busy which is great. So I just have everything crossed I can make it work!
When it comes to creating, are you more of a planner or an improviser?
I would say I am more of an improviser. I usually sit down without much of a plan in mind and see what happens and where the work takes me. Sometimes I’ll have a picture in my mind of what I want to achieve, but it usually ends up taking a different direction.
How do you know when a piece or project is finished and needs no additional work?
I’d say it is a gut feeling. Sometimes I have to walk away and leave it for a while and then when I come back to it I can decide if it’s done or if it needs more. This is definitely the way when I’m painting a portrait. It has to sit and look at me for a while.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
I definitely work when I’m inspired to unless I have workshop planning or commissions to do. When that happens, I have to be a bit stricter with myself. I am not very good at stopping for breaks though. I get totally absorbed and the hours fly by without me realising.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
I have my little studio, and I say that lightly as it’s only the spare box room. It’s small and VERY messy but I have everything I need to hand and love having a dedicated space where I can leave things that I’m working on out and don’t have to tidy up after myself.
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?
I love to combine paper and fabric, so a needle and thread, my sewing machine, scissors and a good glue are key. I go through tubs and tubs of gesso which I use as a primer but also to add texture. It also creates white space which I feel is so important for establishing a moment of calmness amongst the colour and texture. I also wouldn’t be without coffee and watercolours to add colour as well as collage scraps for texture and pattern.
The other really important material for me is vintage photos and imagery. I love to hunt through junk shops to find them and I use them to create the stories on my pages.
What plays in the background while you work? Silence? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, movies? If so, what kind?
Most often I work in silence. I am happy with the quiet. I might open the window and I can hear the river and the birds. Occasionally I will but on some music, though this probably annoys the family because I tend to sing along.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and process of one of your works? How does a new work come about?
For “He Likes to Fish”, I started by playing around with sewing and stapling different pieces of paper and fabric together before adding colour using gesso, watercolours and coffee. The shape and the colours I created in turn inspired me to add the found image of the boy. I liked the contrast of his red jumper and together I felt the piece had a sense of adventure. I could imagine him exploring down by the river. His pose was perfect to add the little fish on a string and I found the words in an old book to match.
This is a very common way for me to work, I just start playing and see what happens, but sometimes I start with the image first and have a story in mind or I may have something specific in my own life I want to record, A memory or an emotion which acts as the starting point for a piece of work.
Do you think that creativity comes naturally to people, or do you think creativity is a skill that people can learn?
I think creativity is vitally important in our lives and that everyone is creative in different ways. Whereas I choose art, others can bake amazing cakes or create stunning gardens and make things grow. I believe you just need to find what creative pastime brings you happiness. You can definitely learn a creative skill but you have to have a passion for it. If you don’t, perhaps you just haven’t found the right thing yet.
How can people overcome the challenges they feel to their creative ability? How do you get unstuck creatively?
It’s important to enjoy the process of creating and not let the final outcome or your expectations of what you hope to achieve to get in the way of that enjoyment. Practice and patience are key and perhaps coming at it from a different angle. If you can’t get on with one medium, try a different one, experiment and play and revel in the joy of that.
If I get stuck, I will go back to the materials and techniques I know work for me. Make intuitive marks, stick down some collage, relax and let go of my expectations.
Tell us about your website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
You can find my website at the following address: lisa-goddard-art.co.uk where I have lots of information about my work and my workshops. I teach face to face and virtual live workshops and also have a few online courses that you can take at your own pace. I also have a blog so you can keep up to date on all my latest news as well as a link to my shop where I sell my handmade journals and pieces of my artwork.
Do you lecture or teach workshops? How can students/organizers get in touch with you to schedule an event?
I teach a variety of different workshops and courses, in person, and live on Zoom. These include mixed media, art journaling, bookbinding, drawing and painting. You can visit my website above or email me [email protected] for more information. I also have a teachable school where I host online courses you can take at your own pace. You can find this here: https://lisa-goddard-s-school.teachable.com/
Interview posted May 2022
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