Lisa Price

abstract painter & forager
London, UK

“The artist yields often to the stimuli of materials that will transmit his spirit.”
- French painter, Odilon Redon

When I stumbled upon the art practice of abstract painter, Lisa Price, I was immediately intrigued. As an environmentally focused artist, Lisa makes her own watercolours from foraged natural earth pigments. Her conscious choice not to use store-bought paints allows her to be more attuned to her materials and the environment.  
The idea came almost 5 years ago, Lisa explains as we chat in her North London studio. She had adopted a vegan diet and the new lifestyle redefined the way she viewed the planet. It forced her to re-evaluate ways she could be more sustainable in every aspect of her life, including her art practice.

This kickstarted her exploration into making her own inks and paints from foraged rocks. According to her, this new approach has completely changed the way she works.

“My palette is now limited to whatever resources I have around me.”

She began foraging her own pigments half a year before the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns began. And it has made her more observant of her surroundings as she went for her daily walks. “I know what colours I want, but I also have to think about the changes in colour after I grind it down, when I add the binder, and how it will appear on different mediums.” You can say that this has made her more mindful at every step of her art process.

As I watched Lisa work on making her own pigments, I realise how much intention is embedded in the process. Selecting a white rock, she grinds it into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar. After sifting the resulting powder, she adds binding agents to it on a glass grinding slab before using a glass muller to make her paint.
To the unknowing, it might seem like a huge effort for just a little bit of paint, but the whole process makes me admire Lisa's resolve to use the abundant resources available to make her practice as sustainable as she can.

Scattered around her studio are glass jars filled with different shapes and shades of rocks, and Lisa also shows me her simple system to catalogue each rock she picks up.

Lisa speaks about her work with purpose: “At first glance, people don’t realise that my work centres around big issues.” For Lisa, her art is a starting point for conversations about harder topics. Her aim is not to make anyone feel guilty about their lifestyle, but to offer a conscious, soft approach to issues like the climate crisis, sustainability and mindful consumption.
Her work, though abstract and subtle, is deeply personal. Consider her paintings, and you’ll see – each piece is created from paint that she has made, from pigment that she has foraged by hand.

Beyond that, Lisa has also used her walks as an outline for more abstract pieces. Through the years, she has kept her dots and lines and has recently graduated to a more subtle palette, inspired by the birch plywood grain that she chooses as her canvas.

“Wherever you are in the world, there's a natural palette to the land...
It's almost like I have no choice, nature and the environment have chosen for me.”

Lisa’s conscious approach to her art and her deep connection to the environment is something I greatly admire. It’s made me more observant of my surroundings and forced me to think deeply about how I am, in my own small way, part of this big world and its future. 

Lisa Price
Visited May 2022, published June 2022.