Talented Doha-based artist Lisa Watson opens her show, Chronofusion, at The Square this month. We find out what’s on the canvas.
What is the show?
This exhibition, Chronofusion, features 35 of my paintings, in which I endeavour to portray elements of the past, present and future as a harmonious unit. I have tried to represent a sense of a certain ebb and flow to our lives, which frequently goes undetected in our thoughts, or in our physical environment. So, for example, we often make choices, which have unintended consequences, as if some unseen hand is pointing us in a direction, which is totally different to the one we are following. For me, my art is an observatory, a place to explore those invisible energies, which shaped our past, which influence the present and which mould the future.
How did you get started?
Ever since I was a child, I was always drawing or painting. But I started to develop a passion for art as a Fine Arts Major at UC Santa Barbara. It was really when we moved to Oman over 11 years ago that I began to explore the more abstract style, which you see in the exhibition. I was inspired by the entirely different landscape, the colours, and the exotic feel of the environment. I found the shapes and textures in the Middle East to be much less organic, more structured, almost cubist, than I had encountered in the US and England.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my environment, wherever I am at the time. Here, in Doha, for example, I am drawn to the vibrant aspirational pull of the city. There is constant creation everywhere you go, and I pick up on that energy, which is very motivating. When I see buildings like the Zig Zag Towers, I feel a playful energy. The Tornado Tower for me is a powerful, proud energy. Souk Waqif feels safe and mysterious. I just try to convey the energies I feel around me.
How would you describe your art? What’s it like?
My art is abstract, partly expressionist and partly intuitive. Call it what you will, but I just try to translate onto canvas the feeling of the environment in which I find myself. I seek to express rather than to illustrate. I paint in oil because I like the unguent feel of the paint and the various ways I can move it across the canvas. I like to use lots of strong colours. Here in Arabia, I tend to be drawn to warm colours like reds and oranges to reflect the feeling of the intense heat. But the turquoise waters also inspire me to use touches of blue here and there.
How is your art different from other artists?
If it is different, I would say it is because I try not to be influenced by other painters. I do not want to be derivative. My technique is my own and I did not learn it from anyone else. I rarely use a brush, I like to experiment with all sorts of tools to create an effect, which draws the viewer into the painting. A painting for me is a journey, as well as a spiritual experience. I trust what comes through.
Is being an artist here different than elsewhere?
For me, every country has a different feel, so my paintings will be quite different from country to country. But as an artist, Qatar is a wonderful place to be. There are so many empty walls to fill. And there are some wonderful artists here too. Also there are the museums and a multitude of international and local exhibitions. The artists I here are very supportive of one another and they are an inspiration. In the summer, when there is not much to do outdoors, if you are an artist, it is wonderful to have the time, peace and quiet to paint.
Lisa Watson’s Art Exhibition is at The Square at InterContinental Doha The City until May 15, open daily.. Call 4401 8610.