ARTIST'S PORTRAIT * LIZA HIRST


Liza Hirst


Liza's Studio

A selection of Liza's paintings
















I know it's been a while since I featured one of my artist interviews, but I am very happy to introduce you now to a very gifted artist, Liza Hirst, from the South of France. As an artist myself, I know how difficult it can be to set time aside to do the "extra" things, such as answering a million questions about yourself submitted to you from a nosy artist/blogger across the ocean!! Liza is a prolific painter and stays very busy, so I am grateful that she made time to oblige me with an interview.

I first spotted Liza's work on her painting-a-day website. I was drawn to the way she portrays everything with such a lifelike, realistic quality and infuses so much color into her work. She is a gracious and beautiful lady with an interesting background and broad range of subjects. The scope and volume of her artistic output amazes me. There are so many of her paintings I'd love to get my hands on - I could fill an entire wall or room with all of my favorites. She sells her work on her website and is also available for commissions. I just wished I lived closer - I'd love to drop by her studio to meet her in person and enjoy a chat and a cup of tea. Maybe someday!

Where were you born?
In Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
What is your artistic background schooling?
Studies of Graphic Design and Painting at the HDK ( Hochschule der Künste / School of Art) in Berlin, Germany with a Masters Degree in Painting.
What are your earliest memories of being involved making art or wanting to be an artist?
Several members of my family have been, or are, architects , painters, graphic designers or draftsmen, so that I have been exposed to art since an early age, but it was a school homework for art that really triggered the wish to become an artist myself. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and got a very good mark, thus becoming aware of my own capabilities in this field.
What inspired you most as your subject matter? Does living in France influence your work a lot?
Without consciously choosing it as a a subject, I seem to have been drawn mainly to portraiture. But living in rural France has also evoked an interest in landscape painting in me. The French art scene is dominated by so called "avantgarde" art, which I have nearly come to detest (at least here) due to the impression I get of "a lot of to do about nothing", trying hard to be original without substance and lots of bla bla interpretations. So I only feel influenced in the sense of being reassured to stick to "traditional" painting, which is hardly existent in France at the time being. At least it is not supported and acknowledged sufficiently.
Tell us a bit about your family and where you live.
My husband is German and we have two sons, 21 and 16 years old. They benefit from having grown up in France in a German-English family by being trilingual now. We live in South West France, an area known as the "Dordogne" or older fashioned the "Perigord". The landscape is not spectacular but nevertheless very beautiful. There are castles around every corner, vineyards of world famous wines such as St. Emilion wines, the Bergerac's, the Bordeaux's and so on. You name it. This is really "La France profonde" as they say, translated as "deep France", meaning very rural, traditional, authentic.
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and artist?
Oh, so many things(!), such as good films, music, books, food, clothes, .... And yet I am actually very easily pleased with very little - a cup of strong tea, Jazz or classical music and a good book make me happy. My luxury is having time to paint whenever and as much as I want. Most important for being able to concentrate on my work is not having to worry about my family, knowing that they are well.
Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
Good question! The world has sooo much to offer - I find it very difficult to choose a place but we are thinking of moving to a big city within the next three years, maybe Paris, maybe London, maybe Toronto, maybe .....??? Having lived in the middle of nowhere for more than twelve years, we do long for the urban buzz again.
What are the most challenging things for you about being an artist?
Trying to make a living with it!!!! Artistically speaking, it is the constant effort of trying to break away from a mere realistic representation of a subject - for me very, very hard! I am slowly but reluctantly beginning to accept that I simply AM a realistic painter and might never be able to paint as free as Richard Diebenkorn or Willem de Kooning for example.

Thank you so much, Liza, for taking the time to answer my questions and share your beautiful work with us. It was most certainly worth the wait! I am honored to show your work here on Annechovie and have been looking forward to it. Stopping by your blog is always an inspiration and bright spot in my day!
Check out Liza's paintings here. She sells through her blog, Ebay and several other links on her blog. I guarantee you will be tempted to import one of her gorgeous paintings into your own living environment to savor and enjoy.