Watercolorist drawn to flowers in a big way

February 09, 2005

Joyce Rudolph

If you look out your window and notice a woman, camera in hand,

gazing at your hibiscus, don't be alarmed. It's most likely Lisa

Lopuck, searching out subjects for her next watercolor painting.

The Glendale resident often stops by neighbors' homes, asking

permission to photograph their flowers, which she later paints.

Lopuck's work is on display for the first time at Descanso


Garden's Boddy House Gallery. Under her theme, "Watercolors

Redefined," she has included at least six original watercolors and

several limited-edition prints, called giclees, or prints on

watercolor paper, of her paintings of tropical flowers. The color

quality of the giclees is almost exactly the same as the original

watercolors, she said.

"So much of my subject matter I have taken at Descanso, so it's

such an appropriate place to show my work," she said.

Also showing their works at the Boddy House are Margot Lennartz,

Louise Forbes and Jum Yurk.

Fellow artist Yurk is impressed with Lopuck's paintings.

"I think it's phenomenal, the detail and the color," he said.

"She's very accomplished."

Lopuck takes digital photographs of flowers and transfers them to

her computer, where she crops the photos and paints from that final

image. In addition to local gardens, she captures her images while on

trips to the East Coast and Hawaii. She also often uses pictures

taken on walks through Descanso Gardens.

Lopuck's paintings are large and colorful, close-up portraits of

one or more flowers, showing intricate detail. Her work is often

compared to that of Georgia O'Keefe, a prominent artist throughout

the 1900s, who painted large flowers into her still lifes, she said.

Lopuck's favorite flower to paint is the hibiscus, she said.

"Hibiscus flowers have wonderful colorful combinations and

textures that are inspiring to paint," she said.

Lopuck grew up in Glendale and graduated in 1987 from Hoover High

School, where she met and later married her high school sweetheart,

Matt Gunnell. They have one child.

She's been drawing and painting since she was 8, starting out as

an oil painter. Seeing her potential, her parents enrolled her in a


"I was the only kid in an adult class," she said.

Soon, her parents decided to have the teacher come to her house

for private instruction, which lasted until she was 15.

As an adult, Lopuck has built a career in digital interactive

media as a designer, lecturer and author. One of her book titles is

"Web Design for Dummies."

She has continued to paint throughout her professional design

career but switched exclusively to watercolors in 1993.

"My inspiration comes from the watercolor medium itself." she

said. "It is unpredictable, and it uncannily and surprisingly

captures the same patterns and textures you see in nature."

The creativity she derives from painting gives her a needed break

from the corporate structure of her day job as a senior producer at

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, she said.

Currently, she is managing the team building the Hong Kong website

for Hong Kong Disneyland, which is scheduled to open in the fall.

Painting is her way to relieve stress, she said, and release her

pent-up creativity that builds during the day.

"My work is noncreative for me," she said. "It all pours out at

night. I paint until midnight."

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