I start a painting with the open mindedness of an explorer. I don’t fully know where any given piece will land but am certain that if I show up to work every day, it will arrive at its destination. Ultimately the process/act of creating is as important as the final outcome.
I paint what I know—figures, still lifes, and landscapes—but push these “knowns” into abstracted places. I combine my love of color, form, line, and design without fully abandoning representation. While I maintain a practice of working from life, studies, sketches, and memory, I aim to exceed the lens of sight and to invigorate the senses. I invite viewers to create their own narrative, one that transcends my preliminary subject matter.
I work in a constant state of experimentation and discovery. My materials range from acrylic, flashe and latex paint to graphite and collage—media whose very nature allows me the freedom to work expressively and without hesitation. I often work directly on large sheets of canvas or paper on the walls, sometimes using non-traditional tools like squeegees and oversized paintbrushes.
As a self-taught painter, artistic growth is critical to me. While transformation is a challenge on many levels, it forces me to go beyond what I think I know and feeds my curious nature.
Lisa Noonis was born on September 28, 1963 in York, Maine, the fifth child in a family of seven children—five boys and two girls. Her parents, Peter and Sofie Scontras, are first generation Greek Americans, and still live in the gracious New England colonial where Lisa grew up in Kittery, Maine. The family was close and loving, fostering in all the Scontras children a strong sense of family, hard work, responsibility, ambition and independence.
Lisa found art early in life. At age 10, in 1973, she won first place in the Strawbery Banke Children’s Art Festival in neighboring Portsmouth, NH. Later, in high school, she showed so much talent that her art teacher, Marcia Ryder, insisted that she go on to art school and pursue a career in the fine arts.
Instead, Lisa’s father pushed her toward engineering as a more practical way to earn a living; and in 1981, she enrolled as an engineering student at the University of New Hampshire in nearby Durham, NH. After two semesters, having had enough of physics and advanced calculus, Lisa knew that engineering was not in her DNA. In spite of her dad’s disappointment, she transferred to the University of Maine in Orono the following year, self-majored in art, communications and advertising, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985.
In the fall of that year, she attended the Women In Advertising Conference at the Parsons Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, returning shortly thereafter to the Southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast to pursue a career in advertising and public relations. She began dating Tim Noonis shortly after returning. The couple married in 1989, and moved into a home in Seacoast New Hampshire, where they live today.
After working briefly for a public relations firm, Lisa embarked on her own as a freelance graphic designer and art director, eventually forming her own advertising, marketing and design company. For the next 15 years, she served a variety of businesses, institutions and marketing communications firms throughout New England, earning awards for design excellence and enjoying steadily increasing financial success as her reputation grew.
But something was missing. Despite the satisfactions and financial security that came with commercial design, Lisa always felt the need to express something more personal and more permanent than ads, logos and brochures. In 2004, that feeling came to a head: she made a leap of faith by renting a studio in an old Kittery school building, and began to seriously pursue painting for the first time.
Lisa spent a year studying technique under the well-known painter Dennis Perrin during the early 1990s, and in 2012 took a master class with acclaimed American landscape artist Eric Aho. But for the most part, she learned on her own by painting every day—still lifes, portraits, landscapes, studies of the human form, anything that would sit still in the studio or in front of her canvas.
Her work and vision, visibly influenced by such masters as Cezanne, Modigliani and Morandi, have slowly developed over the years since 2004 to express more and more the inner vision of the artist. Realism has evolved into impressionism; painting from life into painting from memory; small canvases into large.
Today, Lisa’s work continues to evolve and mature as she explores the essences of objects, people and places in her world. It appears regularly in galleries throughout New England and down the East Coast, as well as in the collections of the growing number of people who are moved by the shared experiences her paintings invoke.