I've been described as colorful but I couldn't tell you exactly why (but I hope it's good because it feels art-related). I love people. I love painting. I love painting people. Put those three statements together and you have the perfect combination for a portrait painter which is exactly what I have endeavored to be my whole life. As a small child I was inspired by my grandmother, a self taught artist who seemed to also enjoy portrait painting. I recall spending hours with her in her studio hanging on to her every tip, trick, demonstration or suggestion. My greatest hope was to be as good a painter as she was and my favorite past time was trying to do just that. Or maybe it was because I was never athletic. Ever.
The older I got the more I began to appreciate the great illustrators. Their artwork was stunning AND they made a living! That was inspirational. The thought of making art of any kind a career was compelling. I wasn’t terribly “artsy” but I guess I was a little creative, so I decided I would pursue a career in graphic design and illustration at Washington University in St. Louis, my hometown. During my sophomore year I started painting portraits for extra money. What college student can’t use a little extra spending money? It seemed like the best of all worlds because I got to meet new people of all ages, paint them, and make a (very modest) living. Well I ran the numbers after school and even though the illustration market was pretty hot, I knew I really loved painting portraits. With some serious support for the first few years, I decided that was what I was going to do. Except for a one-year stint as the customer service manager for a home improvement company (an experiment that did neither of us any favors), that is all I have done for most of my career!
You might be surprised how varied portrait painting can be! I have painted (and continue to paint) families, children, athletes, executives, politicians, dogs, horses, and cats. It is never boring and I have received underserved opportunities over the years as a result of fabulous clients. I might have continued strictly as a portrait artist working out of a home studio except for two little additions to my career, both of which were a surprise to me.
In 2006 an opportunity to show my work at a local gallery landed at my doorstep. The difficulty was that all of my work up until then had been commissioned portrait work. I didn’t have anything that could be purchased off a gallery wall and taken home! I thought about the kind of artwork I appreciated and considered what I might enjoy painting (apart from portraits) and began painting still life paintings for the gallery. I shocked myself! I actually enjoyed still life painting, you might even say I adored it. An even more interesting shock came when many of my pieces sold! So I continued painting portraits and added still life pieces to my studio work when time permitted.
2011 changed my whole world. An artist friend asked me if I would consider opening a gallery with him and with another artist. I had so much on my plate that I declined (with an emphatic "No!") but agreed to look at the retail space he was considering. As soon as I walked in the door I couldn’t help but envision it as a gallery...and maybe some of my work on the walls! What did I do? I became co-owner of OA Gallery located in Kirkwood, Missouri, and it grew to be one of the finest representational art galleries in the Midwest. Recently, the gallery was fortunate enough to sponsor Heartland Art Club, a representational art education organization and gallery. Because of the similar mission (great art!) OA Gallery and Heartland Art Club merged and adopted the new name. This afforded us the luxury of broader reach, the ability to host workshops, hold world-class competitions and exhibits, and serve representational artist members. I am honored to serve on the Board.
I've learned l it’s a good thing I love people because I have met lots of them in the past few years. I have made lifelong friends with many of them and even had the good fortune of painting some. Win-win-win!
The "Official" Bio Lisa Ober is a portrait and still life painter, workshop teacher, and owner of OA Gallery in St. Louis, MO. Ober's work has appeared in publications including The Pastel Journal and Southwest Art. She has enjoyed numberous awards in the Pastel 100, an international pastel competition sponsored by The Pastel Journal. Ober also received a top award in the prestigious 2015 PastelWorld, a competition and exhibit held at the IAPS Eleventh Biennial Convention. Collectors have recognized her work for its clever content, exquisite realism, and detail. Ober enjoys making pastels "behave" the way she envisions as she endeavors to use the medium in fresh new ways. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and IAPS Master’s Circle member.
The More Revealing Bio Lisa Ober is painting ping-pong ball. She enthusiastically bounces between portrait and still life painting, teaching workshops, and owning OA Gallery, a representational fine art gallery in St. Louis, Missouri. She is married to a ridiculously understanding guy (24 years and counting) and is a mom to two college students. Though Lisa adores painting, she loves to meet artists, inspire students of all ages, talk your head off, and eat like a man. As a true multi-tasker (or someone who can’t focus), Lisa has been known to do all of the above at one time. Lisa typically paints between the hours of 9pm and 5am to the sounds of hard rock and heavy metal music or geeky sci-fi shows in re-runs on television. She’s never been the cool kid or the geek, was always the prom-attender and never the prom queen, and laughs so often that you wonder what she knows that you don't know. She is serious about her career as an artist, teacher, and gallery owner, but truly loves people and likes having fun in life! Lisa thinks God is cool and has loaded good and undeserved opportunities on her.
"Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without going outdoors." Norman Cousins