Lisa Argentieri’s work if often completed in one session (with the exception of her dog portraits), without the use of preliminary drawings or studies. This immediacy, combined with the use of bold and lively colors, creates a style that is free flowing, organic and fearless—and has won her selection into numerous prestigious juried shows, several awards and, of course, several Dan’s Papers covers.
As an artist who works in both watercolor and acrylic, do you prefer one to the other?
I don’t prefer one medium to the other. My first love was and always will be watercolor, it never bores me. There are endless possibilities of color combinations when the wet pigments mingle. Acrylic paint is something I’ll choose if I want to get more physically involved in the painting as, to me, it’s more “work.”
Do you find one medium suits particular subjects or settings better?
I’ll paint in acrylics if I want to paint a large–size painting. Also, if I want to get involved with texture, I like to use acrylic paint with a palette knife. I enjoy painting with a heavy impasto. For my figurative work I always paint in watercolor for it’s quick–drying and spontaneous. Also it has a “lightness” to it, which I believe renders flesh well. For my plein air work I will use both acrylics and watercolor, even though watercolor is the easiest to travel with, as it’s light and compact.
Why do you prefer to paint in one session?
I don’t draw first, with the exception of the dog portraits, because I want a freshness to the watercolor painting. I don’t want to be constricted to being “in the lines.” I let watercolor do its thing, mingling and blending with controlling it. I have been drawing since I was 4 years old, so at this point I have an eye for composition and value without a preliminary study.
Your website notes that your greatest honor was being selected by Escoda to be a featured artist on their website. How did that come about?
Escoda makes the finest brushes in the world. I love painting with them. The CEO of Escoda’s Social Media, at that time, friended me on Facebook, having seen my watercolor paintings, and asked if I’d like to be included. I was the first woman watercolorist on that website up to that point, amongst the world’s top watercolorists, including Charles Reid, Nicholas Simmons and Thomas Schaller—all of whom are artists I greatly admire. I was beyond thrilled! I sent a watercolor to the owner of Escoda in Barcelona, Spain and was told it is hanging in their private museum.
Do you have any advice from your training that has always remained with you?
With my figurative work: Less is more; always leave the viewers wanting to see for themselves. In other words, let their brain fill in what you didn’t render. Also, if you’re painting and you hear yourself say, “just one more thing” STOP! The painting is finished.
Where can we see some more of your work?
I’m happy to say you can see my new series of watercolor, Mandalas, in a feature article in a new online magazine called American Watercolor. This free online newsletter has an advisory board of watercolor masters from around the world including Keiko Tanabe, Carol Carter, Thomas Schaller and Bev Jozwiak. I’m honored to be in the company of these giants!
To view more of Argentieri’s work visit lawatercolor.com.