February 10, 2015

Liza Hathaway Matthews: Artist

In addition to writing my blog, I do some other writing, including for a local on-line publication called Baltimore Fishbowl. I had a chance to do a Q+A piece for them last week, and thought you might enjoy it as well!

It was on a bitter cold but sunny afternoon when I sat down with Baltimore-based painter, Liza Hathaway Matthews in her house overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Roland. imageLiza’s been getting a lot of press recently and two of her paintings appeared in the February 2015 issue of House Beautiful magazine. image

MFF: Tell me a little about how you got started painting…

LHM: I attended MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) for painting and interior design, and then started working at a commercial interior design firm. I found that it really didn’t keep my interest, and so I took a different tack and started doing fundraising for the United Way.

MFF: That’s quite a change! Did you continue to paint?

LHM: I painted when I had time, but I also had three children, so my painting time was very limited. I worked on the decoration of our houses, so I kept my hand in. As the children got older, and I changed jobs, I found more time to paint and started getting back into it. When we moved into this house over the summer, we converted one of the rooms into a studio where I can work without worrying that I am in the way of things… and I can spill paint on the floors and not worry too much!IMG_8514

MFF: What media do you use to paint?

LHM: I use mostly acrylics, some oils and even Crisco Oil! I tend to use kitchen utensils rather than paint brushes. And by that I mean off-set knives, spatulas and the like. I like layered paintings, and applying the paint using kitchen utensils helps it go on in thicker layers and makes it easier for me to manipulate it. Regardless of what I paint, there’s always a little bit of green in it!IMG_8510

It’s a new thing, but I am trying to incorporate gold, silver or pearlescent paint into my work. It creates such a reflective surface and makes the paints shimmer. These paints give the painting depth and texture and create interest.

MFF: This might sound funny, but how do people find out about your work?

LHM: I have had shows in some of the local galleries and shops. Last summer, I did a show at the Antique Exchange and In Watermelon Sugar in Hampden. I’ve also had some of my paintings in model homes in Bozzuto Homes developments, so that’s been great exposure. I also work with an art broker who brings my work to new clients. IMG_8496

I am now working with interior designers, some local and some national. Celerie Kemble in Florida had a spread in the February House Beautiful Magazine, and two of my paintings were featured in one of the rooms. And I work with Hillary Thomas in Los Angeles. I frequently lend things to designers to show to their clients on approval.

I also accept commissions. I work with the client to decide what the primary color the painting should have, and then on dimensions and subject. Sometimes, instead of one large painting, I will create a triptych or a diptych. It frequently works better in the space, and it makes a statement.IMG_8490

MFF: Everyone’s on social media these days. What about you?

LHM: Ha! Of course, I am! I have a very active Instagram account and try to post something to it every day. It’s very gratifying to get instant feedback on my work. And I have a website, www.lizahathawaymatthews.com, where I try and showcase some of my recent works. image

MFF: Can you talk a bit about your style?

LHM: I love botanicals and flowers. I am working on a technique for marbleizing, hence the Wesson Oil! And I am wild for Chinoiserie – I do a riff on the traditional Chinese paintings of flowers on silk. I like layers and textures and depth in my paintings. I also love collages, bits and pieces… I do the backgrounds as sort of a water-colored wash, or I marbleize them, and then do the painting, adding to it in layers and colors until it’s finished. IMG_8494

MFF: What other projects are you working on?

LHM: I am working with Cotton & Quill, an Alabama-based textiles company. We are turning some of my prints into fabrics. They would make fabulous sheets and bed linens! I am also producing giclée prints of my works. image

MFF: Liza, thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk to me. I am so delighted to see your work and share it with my readers.

LHM: You’re very welcome!


  1. Love her use of color. Very lively, engaging, and uplifting work; it makes me happy to view it.

    1. I agree... Especially viewing them on a chilly winter day!

  2. Love her works of art Meg! Her techniques and sense of color are wonderful!

    Featuring The HighBoy

  3. It is beautiful. Now, a question regarding an instagram post - one day a go- the drive by. The tree in front of the house appears to be an intact crepe myrtle tree. Of late in my area the trees area hat-racked every year cut ( not trimmed or pruned selectively) at a 180 degree angle-- straight across. Years of repeated ly dealing with a tree in this manner a knot develops and then the edward- scissor- hand -look develops. It is truly misguided , the tree eventually dies. Oh please, I hope the people of Baltimore have much more sense -- this tree owner apparently has read the literature available on line as to how to prune a Crepe Myrtle tree . Clemson university extension office has a very good article.

    1. I think that the general Baltimore region goes for un-clipped crepe myrtles!

  4. i adore Chinoiserie also + what a great interview + love her paintings. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  5. Lake Roland is at the heart of a beautiful little enclave of North Baltimore, and some of the houses surrounding it are spectacular, including all the old compounds of the various Cromwells and Harveys on Brightside Road, some of them are still in residence. Sadly since it's such a desirable address there's been a fair amount of infill in the past 15 years or so. The shacks at the tail end of the road are not as inspiring. Looks like the old Levering place is in view there, the late Mrs. Levering having grown up just up the hill at Jackwood, one of the more palatial spreads.

    1. This place isn't exactly a shack!

      I found a cookbook several years ago with wooden covers, called the Lake Roland Garden Club. It was from the 1930's and had great line drawings and maps.

  6. In response to “Anonymous” concerning the brief neighborhood history of Lake Roland and the “shacks” on the lake…

    Lake houses, cottages, at the very least, homes. The quaint, charming lake houses “at the tail end of the street” offer a magnificent and enviable view. The homes may not appear “as inspiring” to you but I am sure the owners feel fortunate to live surrounded by such beauty and nature.
    Meg, thank you for the great article and photos, Liza Hathaway is a very talented artist and her home is beautiful.

    1. The road was laid out over a century ago to take advantage of the natual topography (though admittedly the Lake in question is in fact a decommissioned man-made reservoir) and all but two of the houses on it are on property that either abuts the lake or has yearlong water views. In just about any other circumstance the real star of this location would be the scenery, but some of the more distinguished building stock is truly spectacular. Houses of similar quality are scattered all around the banks of Lake Roland.

  7. I am drawn more to her "twig and blossom" canvases than the others... there's something so cheerful and natural about them, like seeing flowering trees through really old glass windows. I do wish they hadn't muddled up that House Beautiful photo with pink floral bed linens and curtains... clashes with her paintings and draws the eye in the wrong direction.


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