Lisse Williams says that when she’s painting or drawing, she is content, happy, focused, and in “a quiet place.” It is her art, Williams says, that makes the world disappear.
“I am nowhere happier than I am with a pencil or brush in my hand,” says the 35-year Ann Arbor resident. “My art allows me to focus, it is almost like a place of great meditation. And, lucky for me, I get to share that experience through my art, with the people who enjoy it.”
Williams will indeed share her art Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Ann Arbor’s Westside Art Hop, an annual extravaganza featuring the works of many artists in homes, yards and garages of host residents.
Organizers bill the Art Hop as Michigan’s quirkiest Art Fair / Art Walk. It’s a twice-yearly art walk rooted in the local community presenting high quality art and crafts for sale in a festive atmosphere.
Williams, whose works are available year round at The Eyrie in Ypsilanti and Traverse City Higher Art Gallery, takes pride in participating in the art hop in her hometown.
“This is my third year, and I really love it,” Williams said. “It’s a cozy way to show my art, and I just love the neighborhood. It gives me access to the community and gives the community access to my work.
“I try to keep it low key as far as showing, but I really love the (Westside Art Hop).”
Williams, who works a full-time job, calls painting her great escape, and says she paints virtually every day.
“If I’m not working, I’m painting,” she said. “Oh, and I do a lot of walking, too. You can usually find me working, walking or painting.”
Williams says the ability to “share a vision” is what first drew her to art. She has been a casual artist for many years, and only started painting seriously about five years ago. Still, she has created some impressive work in a short time.
She won Honorable Mention in The Guild of Ann Arbor Holiday Show in 2015, took home Best of Show two years ago in the Midland Summer Art Fair, was Honorable Mention last year at the Midland Summer Art Fair, and won an award at the Poster for Common Ground Art Fair in Birmingham.
Williams showed her work at 26 various exhibitions from 2015-17, and her main goal is simple.
“I want to find good homes for my art,” she said. “I appreciate that I can create something that other people can build a story around. It is something I don’t take for granted.”
When she speaks of her art, she does it with great joy. She loves creating it, and draws great satisfaction from the entire experience.
“The pieces that I have created recently are focused on figures, dreamers and spirits,” Williams said. “When I step into the woods or into a patch of sunlight, I have never felt alone, rather full and at home in a way that can’t be felt with others.
“In each piece I want the viewer to create their own story, a personal mythology, that deepens their connection to the natural world.”
Williams doesn’t mind sharing the process of how she creates her work. There is no superstition, no aloofness when she speaks. Just a pure enjoyment of a dedicated artist.
“Each of my pieces starts with a very detailed sketch; this is the quickest part of the process,” Williams said. “The initial composition flows easily and naturally. Working with pencil feels natural, there is more connection with the paper.
“After the sketch is completed I follow it with laying in the layers upon layers of color. I feel in this process that I am building a sheet of glass with the sun glowing behind. I want the color to be rich, but not to lose its feeling of transparency.”
Next comes the fine lines and detail work. That is the final step before Williams’ work is complete. It is the part, she says, that “gives the painting it’s pop.”
She says more than a few projects are always on her mind, but that she hasn’t mastered the ability to work on many at the same time.
“At the moment, I have two going,” she said. “The first will be three miniatures measuring 5×10 inches with a background of warm, lustrous sumi ink. The second project is a piece for Traverse City High Art Gallery and will be part of a group show.”
Williams advises anyone interested in art to go for it, and just enjoy what they’re doing.
“You have to love it,” she said. “And, if you do, it can be an experience like no other.”