The art of Lisa Marquez is like a message in a bottle that she hopes will travel to the far corners of the world.
While there are many ways to deliver a message, for Marquez it is through her art. Sometimes hidden within the body of her abstract paintings or sometimes as clear as day she writes words of hope to encourage and lift spirits.
As an intuitive artist Marquez discovered painting just a year ago in her fifties. She talks about her history of severe depression and how after years of therapy, art helped her heal.
“I needed a stress reliever,” she said. “I needed some sort of therapeutic outlet to do something. I decided to paint, to get out of my own head, get off the couch and get creative.”
Her artist mother suggested she try intuitive painting. After watching online instructive videos Marquez dove in.
Intuitive painting gives the artist an opportunity to explore their inner self through the creative process in a safe, criticism free environment. The main purpose of intuitive painting is to tune in to your own unique creative process irrespective of meaning, control, expertise or final product. It is free flow subconscious driven self-expression.
“When I paint, I never really have a set image or a finished product in mind,” said Marquez. “I just start putting color on the canvas. As it starts to evolve, I let the painting tell me what it will end up being. I do not go into it with a set purpose. It just evolves and moves along as if on its own.”
Her first two paintings were cathartic. They told a story about where she had been and where she is now.
She had been diagnosed with Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) from difficulties she had endured in her earlier years.
“We as women who have dealt with trauma and depression, we put ourselves on the back burner putting everyone else’s needs first,” said Marquez.
As she continued delving into her newfound creative interest, she was inspired to deliver a message with her paintings.
Her latest, “New Beginnings” to be displayed at Esco Alley Art’s phase two unveiling is filled with a myriad of messages for women.
Stemming from her own experiences with suicidal depression and low self-esteem, she wanted to paint something to help women feel empowered, to tell them that they are enough, that they are worthy and that it is never too late to start over.
According to Marquez, women who are betrayed by unfaithful husbands or find themselves in abusive relationships tend to blame themselves for the condition of their marriage thinking they are not pretty enough or thin enough or some other self-deprecating reason.
She wants to affirm that the blame does not rest on their shoulders alone. She maintains that often it has nothing to do with them and that women tend to undervalue themselves.
“It is about self-love. We must love ourselves. We are sometimes our biggest critic,” said Marquez
Over the past years she has learned that she was worthy. She had been in a severe depression with suicidal tendencies feeling that the world would be better off without her. It took a lot of self-reflection and therapy to move out of that head space which is why she is keen on delivering empowering messages within the body of her latest painting, messages like “self-love,” “self-acceptance,” “Still I rise” and the symbol for the semi colon.
The semi colon is a symbol for a “movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire.”
The semicolon is used when an author chooses not to end a sentence but to continue the story. It says that life goes on, that there is a tomorrow and there is more to the story. So, the semi-colon conveys a message to not give up and to continue living.
According to Upworthy.com “in 2012, over 43 million Americans dealt with a mental illness. Mental illness is not uncommon, yet there is a stigma around it that prevents a lot of people from talking about it — and that’s a barrier to getting help.”
“It is kind of a taboo subject dealing with depression and suicide,” said Marquez. “Having been someone who has battled those demons, many say committing suicide is selfish. It is the most self-sacrificing thing anyone can do. A suicidal person believes the world will be better without them. Everything will be better: children, husbands, wives, people will be better without them; you are sparing them; that is what the person dealing with is believing in that moment.”
She understands firsthand what it is like.
This is why her paintings are so important to Marquez and why she is committed to spreading words of encouragement to all who encounter her works.
Because it will hang on the Esco Alley Art unique outdoor exhibit in an alley just south of Grand Avenue between Broadway and Maple in a very public space, Marquez wants to seize the opportunity to spread her word of hope for all to see.
“If my mural will help someone get through another day or another hour or if someone is on the fence about being good enough to get that job or pursue a degree, and I can encourage somebody then I am all for it,” said Marquez.
Marquez earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees within the past five or six years fending off depression with help from friends who had been through mental health struggles. “It is never too late!” is part of her message.
She lives her recovery, embracing self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. On her arm a tattoo that reads: “Beautifully broken. Perfectly imperfect. Beautiful in my flaws. Altogether I am a beautiful disaster.” On her wrist the powerful words, “Still I rise”, the title of a poem on staying strong and overcoming adversity from the great poet Maya Angelou and the semi-colon symbol.
It is obvious that words hold a lot of power for Marquez. Her art collection tells a story about her heritage, her spirituality, her beliefs and convictions. One can find Scripture on one, on another a woman being at peace with God, and on another still, words of hope in Ojibwe to honor her part Native American heritage displaying a close tie to and love for nature.
Marquez is presently exhibiting at the Escondido Art Association (EAA) Gallery. Her piece entitled “Friendship” won First Place in the Acrylics category. The gallery is located at 121 West Grand Ave.
To see more of her work, go to www.intutivepaintingsbylisa.com
You can also see her latest piece and meet the artist at the phase two unveiling of Esco Alley Art at 5PM this Saturday, August 14 in the alley just south of Grand Avenue between Broadway and Maple.
Her message in her paintings is a universal one that she hopes will reach the shores of all castaways searching for a safe passage away from despair.