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Meet Trailblazer Lisa Goren

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Goren.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a witness. Having read about and dreamed of Polar landscapes since I was a teenager, twenty years ago, I traveled to Antarctica inspired by the frozen disastrous expedition of Scott, and by the unbelievable successes of Shackleton. I brought along watercolors – water to paint water.

Initially, I was a beginning painter and a tourist. Since my trip to Antarctica, I have been to the far North as well – Iceland, Alaska, and as an artist resident in the High Arctic near the North Pole.

While these areas have always drawn me, the world has come around in terms of interest. Now, I see my job as a way to bring these foreign landscapes to those who can’t make it or perhaps are not (yet) in love with the ice. We need to save these ancient monuments of frozen water.

Through my watercolors, I can interpret and pass on my awe and excitement. Every trip reminds me that this world is even more beautiful than I’d ever anticipated.

As I have not traveled as much in the past few years, I have started several series of ice in Boston and ice on other planets (clearly, not from my own photos). I continue to be fascinated by every incarnation of ice in this universe.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Can you do it all? As a person who found her artistic voice later in life, it has been a challenge to make family and artwork together. In addition, having spent many years in the business world, I can find it easier to work on the computer than to drag myself up to the third floor of my house and paint.

The lesson I have learned is that no time on art is “wasted” – like exercise, you have to put in the hours regularly. Even if it means cleaning the studio, bringing supplies there and then just being there for some time. That is often the shove that I need to keep going.

Finally, I was honored to be a part of a one-month residency, sailing off the coast of Svalbard with 26 other artists. This was both exciting and daunting. Without the support of my husband, son and extended family, I couldn’t have done it. I wrote about this voyage in the New York Times (

What I would say to any artist is that you need to find your “family” who can support you when it’s tough and celebrate with you at other times.

We’d love to hear more about watercolor work.
I am a devoted watercolorist. Water is my medium and my subject. I work very wet on wet – and, I would say that my approach is less pre-planned than many other artists. I do a very light drawing to place the shapes on the paper and then draw the shapes with water. I never pin my paper down and nearly all of my pieces, when framed, are floating so that the movement of the paper is part of the piece.

Each color is mixed on the paper with the water – which is what I feel makes watercolors look so alive. As the colors are forming on the paper, I am presented with the opportunity to create the mixtures that can reflect the image I’m working from. My pallet is fairly small, with only five blues, three yellows, and three reds.

Generally, I work from my photos taken on my trips. I discovered on my trip to Antarctica, that there was so much more color in these landscapes than I had anticipated. I found reds and yellows and greens in addition to the deep, deep blues and the vast greys of the sky. Every additional trip expanded my understanding of the varieties of icescapes and land- and seascapes. My photos have never captured what I saw, so I use them as springboards for my paintings.

I like experimenting with different surfaces and often work on clayboards or paper mounted to board. I like to expand peoples’ expectations of what watercolors can do.

Throughout, I also like to expand peoples’ expectations of landscapes and parts of the planet they may not be familiar with.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
So many women have opened doors – either in my work or in my head. I have been a feminist from the beginning and even participated in the ERA march on Washington as a teenager in 1978.
My mother, my sister, and my stepmother are all inspirational.

My artist friends/support system, Nancy Marks, Laura Petrovich-Cheney, Sarah Kahn, Mary McCusker, Adrienne Shisko, Cindy Clements, Jane Feigenson, Jennifer Costello, Kim Alemian, and too many more to list – I feel terrible already for those I’ve left out!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos property of Lisa Goren

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  1. Rosemarie Clinton

    January 11, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Lisa this is wonderful , I wish you all the luck in the world.

    Rosemarie Clinton
    Member of
    The Mac

  2. Sarah

    January 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    This is a wonderful write up. I adore your descriptions of your connection to ice and it’s beauty.
    Thanks for including me- it’s an honor to be considered one of your support system of fellow artists! Thanks!
    Sarah Lahn

  3. Mary Ellen Gambon

    January 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Your story and work are really inspiring. I love your use of color and texture to capture your enthusiasm. Keep up your astounding work and for seeing the beauty in something one could never imagine!

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