Orinda Books Features Artist Lisa Gunn

(Stephen Gunn, Photographer)
Artist Lisa Gunn titled this piece, Wild Rose and Lemons. It’s a 10” x 10” oil on canvas, painted with brush and palette knife. Her artwork is on display this month through Nov. 30 at Orinda Books.

    An Orinda resident for 38 years, Lisa Gunn is excited to showcase her mix of still life and landscape paintings at Orinda Books through Nov. 30.
    One could call her The November Gal, for a very good reason.
    “Orinda Books showcases a different artist each month, but luckily I have been gifted with November each year,” said Gunn, who moved here from Washington, D.C. with her husband after their first child was born in 1985.
    Her love for painting began early in life.
    “I always wanted to paint and took high school art classes,” she said. “Studying painting was on the back burner through undergraduate and graduate school and throughout my life, until I became an empty nester.”
    Gunn is represented by Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, where her large abstracts and beach paintings are sold. The Orinda Books’ gallery features her “small moments captured.”
    Gunn, a classical pianist, received her Master of Music Performance degree from the University of Massachusetts and has taught classical piano for 48 years.
    Her musical side coincides graciously with her artistic side, which can be seen in her paintings. She often refers to herself as, “a classically trained musician who paints and an artist who sings.”
    “I use my understanding of music to formulate color, composition and articulation,” she said. “Different techniques are used according to the composition I am painting. Sometimes they are quiet, like the beach painting, and many times are energized with great saturation of color. I do not want my paintings to be stiff with realistic detail, but rather loose and reflecting movement.”
    Gunn said as her journey to paint took shape, she realized music and painting were similar.
    “Compositional techniques in classical music bear the same principles of unity in color and in theme. Notes and passages can be played cold and warm,” she said. “Articulation of notes and phrases are much like brush strokes, evoking different feelings, as well as paint application creating many different effects. Different touches on the piano can sound in the distance echoing colder, more distant colors like the mountains in plein air painting.”
    Gunn said all forms of art and music “are a pure form of communication allowing each of us to reach inside and find who we are. It is the most honest and unscathed form of expression in life. It is like a child who is not yet taught to inhibit what their persona is.”
    What Gunn loves most about painting and music is the “realization that both art forms must breathe light and release from tension,” she said. “Everything must travel to something and nothing really ends until the finale. The fact that you can say so little and so 
    When it comes to mottos in life, Gunn said she has two she strongly believes in. “One is ‘it is not about being perfect, but getting better’ and ‘PASS IT ON,’” she said.
    Orinda Books is located at 276 Village Square. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Call 925.254.7606 and email info@orindabooks.com.

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