I was having trouble building a narrative for the Lucid Dreaming Art Exhibit at the Orange Art Gallery. My conversation with artist Christina Lovisa was going all over the place, and every diversion had potential for an article theme. Then it hit me, that’s it. I’ve just described Christina’s creative style and the theme of her latest exhibit, Lucid Dreaming.
She talked about how inspiration came in flashes of images throughout her sleep, and her periods of reverie. “I’m lucky to now have teenagers to drive me around. It allows me to relax and observe and let images come to mind.” (Relax while your teen is driving you? That’s a treasure of a child you have Christina.)
Those images are built up in the workshop, explored for meaning and expressed through the most appropriate materials. What you see displayed in the Orange Gallery is the result of Christina’s pioneering work in getting two opposing materials to work together. “I found that mixed media expressed my ideas best. Then I discovered encaustic wax and fell in love with it. But it would reject other media. I thought I would have to make a choice between the two. Then during a furniture painting course, I heard something that changed everything.” I’ll let Christina tell you the rest of the story, as she is also an artist in residence at the Orange Gallery. If you are lucky, you will be able to look in her workshop and see her pieces being built up.
I use the phrase built up because of the process of going from sketch on wood, to melting wax with blow torch, and then refining with blade. The resulting works have literal depth. This is the reason I would encourage you to see them in person at the Orange Gallery. The online pictures are good reminders of your visit, but simply cannot give you the full dimensional impact. Christina’s hearts are a good example. They are her best sellers and once again drew in groups of people during the exhibit opening.
The images are also a delight to take in, and in this collection which features process, you can still see themes. Our instinct for ascent. Joy of life. Finding value through self reflection. And sometimes just plain quirky fun. Like the gnome in a prison coat on a piece called A Walk in the Forest Clears the Mind. I could get all philosophical about it, but sometimes a gnome is just a gnome.
This was the lesson I took away from Christina Lovisa’s Lucid Dreaming exhibit. Art will always have a deep side, as it comes from a part of us that simply cannot find the words. But, it is also food for the eyes. Having something on the wall that catches the eye and gives you joy is a valuable addition to life. The fun inspirational flashes, combined with professional obsession have made Christina’s art transition beautifully to her clothing and accessory line. Her fedora has been picked up by Cirque du Soleil and is a hot seller at the Michael Jackson ONE boutique at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
If you come away inspired, you can learn Christina’s pioneering techniques at a Mini Art Retreat in Chelsea on November 4 and 5. Christina has been an instructor and mentor for artist Dulce Tapp and enjoys helping others explore this art form. “I started out largely self taught and had to learn composition by getting feedback from others, and staring at a painting that I knew wasn’t working until I figured it out.” Christina is eager to introduce a technique which has brought her joy and to help others as they start out.
Lucid Dreaming is on exhibit from September 27 through October 15, 2017 at Orange Art Gallery (290 City Centre Avenue).