One of Lois Andersen’s earliest memories is “making things.” Her father was an artist, and Andersen’s early childhood was a nurturing environment that provided the freedom of unstructured time with the provision of simple art materials. “I had lots of time to wonder about things, and try to make them,” says Andersen. As she grew, Andersen’s art-making focus turned to 2-D before she eventually became a painting student at Pratt Institute and the Art Student’s League in NY.
“Painting is an on-going inquiry,” says Andersen, and that process can “never fully be realized,” because there is always more to reach for. “It’s deadly to focus on the idea of a perfect product; there is no such thing and you will be robbed of the joy that comes with the pursuit.”
Andersen describes her painting as Expressionist/Realist; she teaches at the EU, and does some illustration. She taught art for more than twenty-five years, before making the decision to focus on her painting. As a resident artist at Emerson Umbrella, Andersen says, “It’s the perfect place for me where I am able to pursue my painting and also have opportunity to teach.”
As a teacher, Andersen welcomes students from many levels of experience. She explains, “My job is to help people get a little further, in each effort, to move forward. To learn what their strength is and help them pursue it. It’s fun to teach someone who is completely new to art because they are so open, and usually surprised at how good their first efforts are.” Andersen believes that training in the basics of the elements of design, handling of mediums and lots of practice is key and that structure is the route to freedom of expression later on.
Andersen explains a growing desire to move forward—take on new direction—in her painting. She grew tired of her “little paintings and landscapes; I knew something was going to change but I didn’t know what it was going to look like.” Andersen’s family heritage is Norwegian, and she spent time in Norway as a student. She has been to her father’s homeland many times with a recent trip to the Norwegian Arctic this past summer. “As I became absorbed into that austere landscape, it resonated so deeply. These images have become the focus of new work; much larger paintings, deep and moody, huge, ponderous landscapes.”
Anderson references her most recent painting, a large abstract with sweeping brushstrokes and fun, bold colors. “I love that feeling of feeling like I’m nothing in a huge space…it touches on the eternal…it’s so big and so far beyond you.”
orbis photographypatrick leeportraitLoisartistEmerson Umbrella Center for the Arts