Lise Genova stands next to one of the paintings in her retrospective show, Lise Genova: Now and Then. The exhibition runs Jan. 9 to Feb. 14 at Eptek Centre in Summerside. The opening is set for Jan. 12 at 2 p.m.
©Guardian photo by Sally Cole
Lise Genova knew early on that she wanted to be a visual artist.
At the age of two, she grabbed her mother’s bright red lipstick and proceeded to draw pictures on the new wallpaper.
“After that, my mother made sure she kept me well supplied with crayons and colouring books,” laughs the Quebec-born artist who now calls P.E.I. home.
“To this day, red has been one of my accent colours in many of my paintings.”
Looking at the pieces that Genova has selected for her upcoming exhibition confirms her palette preference.
Whether its Pancake Breakfast — a tray of pancakes covered in raspberries and blueberries, with peaches or Amaryllis Antique — red and orange flowers growing out of an old grotto with grass poking out through cracks of broken concrete, there are brilliant, vibrant colours everywhere.
“Even when I’m doing an ordinary painting I can’t stop making it brighter than normal because I think it makes it more fun,” says the Blueshank Road artist who is eager to share her palette with others in her show, Lise Genova: Now and Then at Eptek Centre, Jan. 9 to Feb. 14.
The show will feature 35 pieces, which cover her formative years and recent work.
“I’m feeling really great about it. People will now get to see my more creative side. The paintings that I have shown until now are very conservative and realistic. But my bigger paintings represent my soul,” says Genova, who has been painting for 60 years.
For example, Night Life is a dreamy painting showing a nightclub where musicians are performing and women are wearing plume hats and feather boas.
“This one comes from my imagination. So does this one,” says Genova, pointing to Elixir, another abstract.
“I started this as a self-portrait but then set it aside for seven or eight years. Then, one night I picked it up again. When I finished it, it looked like something from a dream,” says the artist who moved to P.E.I. five years ago after studying art in Ontario and Quebec.
After showing Geneva’s work as part of group exhibitions, Eptek Centre staff members are excited to put her in the solo spotlight.
“Lise’s work has evolved considerably over the years as will be evident in her retrospective show.
“She continues to paint in more than one style; however, no matter if she is using an abstract or representative style, her work is usually very lively and bright. We’ve raided her home for a few of the earlier works,” says site director Paula Kenny.
One of those is Carnations, the first painting she ever did.
“I was 12 years old and taking drawing and painting lessons with an English nun at the Ursulines in Quebec City while I attended boarding school.
“She introduced me to drawing with charcoal and oil painting. That’s when I started to really go at it,” says Genova who also attended Beau Arts in Quebec City where she studied fine art. “It just went from there and I couldn’t stop. I just loved painting.”