Lisa Nelson: Watercolor Artist at Arlington Open Studios 2022!

When the COVID-19 pandemic meant lay-offs were imminent, Lisa Nelson took it upon herself to restart her artistic career. In college, Nelson majored in illustration but took a graphic design path after her professors warned her about the “starving artist” reality. Being in the business world as a graphic designer was “a bit soul crushing,” Nelson says. Event planning carried her from country to country, but she knew that she “would always come back to art.” Now, she is a full time artist who specializes in watercolor.


a map of Maine is painted in a teal watercolor hue. Topographical lines in deeper blue fill the shape of the state. Indigo and purple watercolor surround the state as the ocean.
The Down East State by Lisa Nelson

As a painter, Nelson lived in Texas for six months as an artist-in-residence. As a “stranger in a strange land,” Nelson found her inspiration on her daily walks. Nelson says that she has “to be in a good mood or creative mood” to start her artistic process. Methods of achieving that headspace include lego building, exercise, and listening to music. She also finds inspiration in Alphonse Mucha’s work as well as Keith Haring’s. She loves how Haring believed in the journey of a piece instead of planning out the piece beforehand.


When it comes to the ACA, Nelson joined the event after taking art classes in the area. “I took lots of art classes and Arlington came across my desk,” says Nelson. She entered a show and became part of the ACA community. She has three pieces of art in the current exhibition, Courageous Colors, all of which reflect her consistent use of maps and watercolors. She describes watercolors as “delicate and unpredictable.” In her process, she joins differing maps together to form a cohesive blend of vibrant topography.

three illustrations of lavender-like plants done in blue watercolor overlay a map painted in purple and blue watercolor.
Navasota in Bloom by Lisa Nelson
illustrated chickadee birds fill the page; they are painted in blue, orange, purple, and red watercolors. Some are standing on branches; they form a pattern on the page.
Only the Chickadees by Lisa Nelson

If Nelson had a choice, she would love to visit the Parthenon in all its glory thousands of years ago. Along with striking sculptures with their once-colorful

depictions, Nelson adores Greek Mythology for its “strong, female role models.” If you are looking for a strong female role model in Arlington on November 12th, look no further than Lisa Nelson’s exhibit at Arlington Open Studios on November 12, 11am-5pm on the 1st floor of the Arlington Community Center.



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