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Soothing the Soul.

For artist Lisa Adams Reed, the luscious layers of oil paint and cold wax that she combines to create colorful, stylized visions of nature are also a metaphor for life. More than “just trees” the work originates from a deep place within her and creates a strong emotional connection with the viewer. They are her “SoulScapes”.



“Life is filled with layers and all of them together make us who we are. The layers of my paintings represent all the experiences we have, whether joyous or trying. They make us the beautiful beings that we are.”

All My Loving | 36×60 | Original Cold Wax and Oil on Cradled Panel

The first layer of her artistic journey began at age eight when she proclaimed to her parents that she wanted to be an artist, but Lisa’s intentions were diverted for many years. It was only after becoming a “workaholic executive in a Fortune 150 company” that art was reintroduced to her life. Her caring sister-in-law, seeing the impact of Lisa’s high-stress job, stole her away for a weekend where they took a one-hour watercolor and ink sketch class. 



“It stroked my brain in ways that felt familiar that had been long abandoned. I used it as therapy to sketch as I worked at a job that required much travel.”

She began keeping a travel journal using watercolor and ink. Sketching in offices, airports, hotels and restaurants, it became a balm for her soul.

Follow the Sun | 17.75×23.5 | Original Cold Wax and Oil on Cradled Panel

She first touched cold wax only 4 years ago. Having suffered a stroke that left her blind in one eye, Lisa abandoned her small watercolor and ink paintings. After first fearing she would have to give up painting completely, she instead embarked on a wide-ranging exploration of “every medium that existed” and found a new passion with cold wax. A passion that would guide her in completely new artistic directions. Ones that fed her soul.

A view inside Lisa Adams Reed’s Santa Fe Studio

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“Lisa is Creating.”

The sign outside her studio declares.

On a Santa Fe dirt road with views of the mountains to the East and gorgeous sunsets to the West, you will find Lisa Reed’s studio. Her own special place for uninterrupted inspiration where creativity is a healing process. To help her get into the sacred space of creativity, she employs meditation, prayer, dancing and singing. From that point, every painting begins in the same manner. Written directly on the surface is a quote, inspiration or thought that sets the intention for the painting. She lets those words guide her and they will be felt in the final piece though not seen. 



The give and take of the unique cold wax technique Lisa has developed is not present with most forms of painting. Cold wax is a clear medium with the consistency of “canned frosting” which is colored by mixing it with oil paint. Painting in layers, she essentially covers up one finished painting after another. Then, on a completely intuitive level, she’ll decide when it’s time to “unpaint” by carving and scraping the wax to reveal the final painting. She’ll step back and realize hours have passed and it will feel as if the painting sprung to life on its own.


Blue Jay Way II | 12x12 | Original Cold Wax and Gold Leaf on Cradled Panel

“Every painting has a different number of layers. Some five, some as many as thirty. I never know when the painting is going to ask me to begin the carving that will create the final painting. I sometimes carve into wet layers. Other paintings may be carved into when they have dried awhile. Each painting from inspiration to frame happens in its own time.”


At age 65, Lisa is driven to create, “I feel I don’t have time to waste and yet I feel I have only just begun! Who knows what else is inside of me that requires exploration.” She’s also firm believer in a well-rounded life, keeping family as her top priority and continuing to nurture the relationships of supportive friends. Lisa lives a life of gratitude. She’s thankful for her husband, Charles, for providing her the space and time to follow her passion. When asked how she’d like to be remembered, Lisa has this response, “That I always followed my heart, even if it made no sense.” 


The Dutch Art Gallery is proud to represent Lisa Adams Reed.
To view all her available work please visit here.


Article written by Rebecca Zook

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