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. Liza’s been getting a lot of press recently and two of her paintings appeared in the February 2015 issue of House Beautiful magazine.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!