Summer heat brings natural beauty at TBT Gallery

(Detail from) Garden Spot by Lisa Thomson is part of an exhibit titled "The Lightness of Being" on display at Temple B'nai Tikvah's TBT Gallery in Calgary until August 19.

Temple B’nai Tikvah presents “The Lightness of Being” by Calgary Artist Lisa Thomson

by Shelley Werner

(AJNews) – The current show at TBT Gallery demonstrates the way art can help dissipate the stress of daily life. Being present to the beauty found in nature can take the viewer away from the harried experience of fast paced movement, and can draw them into a peaceful place. In Lisa Thomson’s show “The Lightness of Being” the paintings are infused with colour and vitality. They create the experience of witnessing the wonder of nature, both on a large sweeping scale and as a small detailed contemplative moment.

Lisa Thomson.

Lisa Thomson feels that life these days is complex and very difficult. There is a lot of diversity and people are really struggling. With these paintings she wanted to propose that simplicity in life and the beauty of nature is something that we need in order to pull back and view the big picture to create a healthy balance. She feels we need to go outside and look at a tree or a mountain or a pond and say “things are OK. We’re so lucky to be here and we are OK.”

Gallery curator Jennifer Eiserman says “Lisa Thomson’s deep relationship with the natural world, her connection with its rhythms, its majesty and connection to The Infinite result in work that lifts the veil between humanity and the Divine. They create a visual midrash that provides us with a place to stand in awe of God’s creation.”

The paintings serve to express her intent, which is to inspire people to not take the weight of the world on their shoulders, and to be able to go outside and look at the simple things in life. She has always been inspired by her children; when she was taking them somewhere it would take hours to get there. They would stop and look at every pebble and every piece of grass and every flower. She feels there is a real “lightness of being” with children and what she wanted to do with these paintings is show that you can re-create that. She says, “when you go outside it’s OK to be able to forget about life for a little while, almost in a childlike way.”

“I am inviting people to have that experience when they look at my paintings and be transported into that scene The name of the show is ‘The Lightness of Being,’ having that feeling of being out in nature, looking at things and just remembering that there is more to this world than what happens in the city or in the country, or politics. It’s all about standing on the mountain top or beside a lake and feeling the breeze, and feeling the expanse and fresh air: that’s what I’d like the viewer to see.”

“Carpe Diem” by Lisa Thomson.

The painting style that she uses is very impressionist and features contrast in colours. She is passionate about injecting light into the work. She loves using vibrant colors and flowing brush strokes. When inspired to paint, she uses photos as references or she is outside using the scene as a reference. Creating her own interpretations, she makes them lively and fun. “You can look at pictures that people have taken of these same spots and they don’t change. Life changes all the time for us but when you’re outside looking at a mountain or a lake it doesn’t change and it’s a reminder for us that some things are permanent, while life goes on.”

She volunteers at Alpine races, often working in the dark and going up to the top of the mountain before dawn. As she is watching the stunning sunrise over the mountain, it becomes the inspiration for her to paint. She has had many wonderful opportunities to be out in glorious natural scenes, such as going up to Sylvan Lake and watching a storm roll in.

“It just takes you away from all of the stuff that goes on in your life and you just watch that simplicity of a new day. You can watch the sun come around the corner and then all of a sudden, the mountains will turn pink and orange, and it takes the breath out of you; you can just feel the energy of nature. I try to catch those types of things on canvas.”

She would like the viewer to be able to go through the gallery and see freedom and wonder and joy, as well as getting away for a little bit on a vacation as they walk through the show.

“I’d like those colours and those scenes to elevate people’s moods and make them happy and make them feel like they’ve gone on a trip. Gone outside somewhere.”

Thomson’s work allows the viewer to take a break from the pressures and reality of everyday stress. In gazing at the sweeping landscapes or the detailed floral displays one is invited to leave behind today’s troubled times and escape to a timeless place; a place where majestic mountains can be contemplated with joy and blades of grass can create a “lightness of being.”

“The Lightness of Being” can be seen May 25 – Aug 19, 2024 at TBT Gallery, Temple B’nai Tikvah, 900 47 Ave SW, Calgary. Monday to Thursday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm/ Friday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm or by appointment with the artist

 Shelley Werner is the host of Art and Scroll Studio zoom series that celebrates the makers and creators of Judaica Art. Next episode is on September 18, with featured artist Ellen November. Email for advance tickets.


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