Series of 50 Oil Paintings by Lisa Bisbee
The Pennsylvania Nature series comprises 50 distinct oil paintings that establish a dreamlike connection with the natural world. Through vibrant colors, I aim to showcase the breathtaking beauty of Pennsylvania's expansive landscapes. I deliberately employ a bright palette to intensify the joyful atmosphere I seek to recreate, using pure paint at its maximum saturation. Each composition features a stylized depiction of the agricultural scenery, reminiscent of the American Regionalism art movement. My intention is to idealize the pastoral landscape, emphasizing its inherent beauty.
In 2018, I embarked on a challenge: to create 50 oil paintings centered on a single subject, all depicting landscapes on identical 16x20 canvases. Drawing upon my memories of the rolling green hills and an abundance of reference photos from my travels back home, I undertook the Pennsylvania Nature series. Over the course of five years, I meticulously applied progressive layers of heavy oil paint, requiring significant drying time between each coat. Infused with my deep love for nature and my connection to the region where I grew up, I added the final touches and completed the series in 2023.
Nature serves as my sanctuary. In Pennsylvania, I would embark on hikes up steep bluffs, uncover forgotten bottles buried in the earth, ride horses along wooded trails, attend autumn tractor pulls, race dirt bikes on gravel roads, and learn the art of archery and fishing. These landscapes serve as visual entries in my diary, encapsulating my upbringing in the rolling hills and rural farmland. Inspired by the lyrics of "America The Beautiful" and its portrayal of "purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain," I sought to capture the intense contrast of chroma and deep purple hues, evoking a wealth of joyful memories.
During childhood, my sisters and I marveled at the wonders of the natural world. We would flip over stones in the creek, observing the hurried movement of crawdads and occasionally capturing one or two. Our backyard was a forest—an oasis where we could find everything we needed. We would stoop to pick wintergreen berries as a treat or stumble upon a patch of wild blueberries. I recall discovering Queen Anne's Lace and gathering some to decorate my mother's dinner table. In winter, we would bundle up to skate on the frozen lake created by beaver dams. And when summer arrived, we would pedal our bikes so fast down the hills that momentum would carry us up the other side. It was in those expeditions that I discovered my creative spirit and developed a profound love for nature, forever grateful for the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania.
The adventures within those woods taught me mindfulness, patience, and perseverance, qualities I carry with me in my studio where I must allow the underpainting to dry before applying another layer of oil pigment. In 2018, I sought a challenge and embarked on the Pennsylvania series, armed with an extensive collection of reference photos from my travels. The progressive layers of heavy oil paint extended the drying time between coats to at least a year. Drawing upon my passion for nature and my deep connection to the region of my upbringing, I summoned the energy and creative spirit necessary to add the final details in 2023.