Before I met Lyda, I met her art. I was shopping for records with a mutual friend, who showed me Lyda's website as we were digging through bins of dance music. "I need one of those paintings!," I told my friend, and I meant it. A couple days later, I was in Lyda's apartment picking out the one that now hangs in my dining room. The painting is enormous and awash in various shades of lavender and silver. It reminds me of the "violet hour" in the winter, that time in the late afternoon when the sky and snow turn a deep shade of mauve. The violet hour sometimes happens in cities, but to truly experience it you need to be in the woods, in a house with giant windows where the purple can slide in as you watch the sun slide away.
Lyda and I have since become close friends, and even though I've been in her apartment a million times, I always find something new in her art that I love. A couple things about her work immediately jump out, and you can get a sense for them from the photos below. She's a master of color and movement. Her palettes have an incredible ability to draw on a range of emotions so that her paintings instantly create certain moods. You can also feel movement in her paintings, and unsurprisingly she has a number of them that are inspired by the sea.
Perhaps it's her background in video games and design that enabled Lyda to create such vivid pieces of art. But there are so many other influences in her art, too, and what better way to explore them than with the artist herself.
Tell us about your career. How did you get started in the arts? Did you always want to be a painter?
I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age. I would always draw and paint and it came naturally to me as a child. In high school I discovered I wanted to make a career out of my art and my love of video games and digital design helped me pursue my degree in computer animation. After working on various projects, I realized I wanted to pursue painting going forward.
What inspired you to paint? How is painting different from other that you've done?
I have always been interested in painting. My father painted a 9 foot canvas of Angkor Wat for our home so it may run in the family. Since I was a very young child, I have painted. It's really funny because I went to art school and majored in computer animation which is mainly digital art. My previous work in computer animation was much different as I used 3-D software to create characters on the computer. With painting, I feel it is a much more natural and free flowing process.
What about your particular style? How did that evolve?
I used to paint and draw very realistic paintings and focused a lot of my time on realism. I think I was always scared of abstract art, but I decided to try it out and just let my visions take me where they wanted to go. I'd paint out of impulse and whatever vision or feeling that I had.
Many of your paintings remind us of Rothko, do you get that a lot?
Yes! I am very flattered when I hear that and I am very grateful when people admire my work.
Your use of color is incredible, how do you choose the colors and palettes that you do? Do certain colors have any special connection for you?
Sometimes I can see color combinations in my head or I will look at nature or whatever is around me and choose colors that way. From there I take my time and let the painting evolve naturally. Blue has a special connection to me as I love the ocean and it is a very relaxing color to look at.
How do you start a new painting? Do you sketch it first?
I pretty much just pull out a blank canvas and start painting. I go by the colors in my head and it's really impulsive. I don't sketch out paintings first, I just paint and let my emotions take me where they want to go.
One of our favorite books is To The Lighthouse, and one of the characters spends her whole life working on a painting because she doesn't know when the painting is done. How do you know?
I will keep painting until I am happy with the outcome of the piece. Really, I don't know when the painting is done. I could keep working on a piece, but I let my intuition tell me when it's done.
What is the painting process like for you? Do you start and stop? Do a lot at once? Wine and good music must help!
It all depends on the painting i'm working on. I could finish a large painting in one day, a couple of days or never finish it. When I get frustrated with a painting I will stop, work on another painting and when I feel better towards that piece, I will continue. I do a lot at once on some paintings and I will become so consumed by certain paintings that I get lost in them for hours. I'll listen to good music and particularly specific songs that I really like in the moment. I'll actually play that song repetitively for 8 hours a day or so. It definitely drives my husband crazy, but whatever that's how I think!
As an artistic, where do you look for inspiration?
Actually, don't look for inspiration! My dreams give me ideas and I'm easily inspired by nature and travel.
How do you challenge yourself to experiment with your art? Are there any new directions that you would like to go?
I challenge myself by experimenting with new colors and different distributions of colors and paint. Generally, I am comfortable with my current direction and hope to create more large pieces.