This Artful Home Provides a Blank Canvas for Contemporary Artist Lisa Mundy.
Written by Amy Shuman, with Photography by John Shuman
On a beautiful knoll facing Town Hill near Flintstone is the artful farmhouse home of Lisa Mundy. Lisa stepped off the corporate ladder in 1997, having worked for British Petroleum in London for years. After leaving BP, she moved to Dusseldorf, Germany and set out to do all of the fun, creative things that she never had time for when she worked in the oil industry. In Dusseldorf, Lisa was fortunate to meet many artists, who supported her as she began to paint. After four years in Germany, Lisa traveled to Thailand and lived on Bang Po Beach in Ko Samui for a year, deepening her meditation practice and continuing to paint. “It was like paradise for me,” she remembers.
Returning to the DC area in 2002, she felt at home moving into the neighborhood where her grandparents had once lived, and found that working in the garden was a wonderful outlet for her creative energy. She continues to take courses in landscape design at Montgomery College to hone her skills. Upon returning to DC, Lisa immediately began looking for a special property that could become a sanctuary for her love of nature and art. With real estate agent Joan McLernon, of Coldwell Banker, Lisa patiently searched for five years, willing to wait for the perfect location. Lisa has great plans for this charming teal farm home on several acres. “I bought the place for that view,” she motions, as she explains how she hopes to renovate, taking out the downstairs bath to open up the first floor for full viewing of the spectacular mountain scenery across the ridge. All the floors are gorgeous oak and pine. A woodstove welcomes visitors just inside the front door. The upstairs sports three spaces for bedrooms and lounge. The bathtub there overlooks that same gorgeous view.
So how did Lisa become a self taught artist? “I had been working in very technical fields, engineering and business, a very left-brained life. I loved to dance and yet never had time. When I resigned from the oil business, it was as if I flipped entirely to a right brained way of being. I was drawn to yoga, and enrolled in an instructor's course that was taught entirely in German! This was a great incentive to learn the language. While in Dusseldorf, I also wondered what it would have been like to be a dancer. I auditioned for the contemporary production ‘Roar,’ made the cut, and experienced being a performing artist. As fate would have it, three of my close neighbors were accomplished visual artists. They encouraged and supported me, and soon I was pouring out my soul through this medium.” Some of Lisa’s paintings are in private collections in Europe. She has exhibited in both Thailand and Germany. “With my art, my goal is to keep my mind out of the process, trust my impulses and just do it. I still find myself judging and continue to work to get out of my own way!”
Lisa chats in a thrilled tone as she explains her love of nature. “This whole property is my canvas! I want to create a real place of beauty with trees, shrubs, flowers, to accompany the grand cedar, black walnut and spruce trees already here.” She has discovered a small grove of Sassafras at the tree line of the woods and a chestnut tree nearby. Lisa’s philosophy reminds me of that popularized in The Ringing Cedars series of books, Anastasia. See www.ringingcedars.com. A large shed on the property has all the makings of a “proper studio,” with room, perhaps, for guests to visit and experience the quiet or catch Lisa’s creative spirit. The multi-level deck waits for spring flowers to adorn it.
While at an art opening early this year at the Saville Gallery in Cumberland, Lisa connected with Executive Director of the Allegany Arts Council, Andy Vick, who said, “You’ve got to participate in the studio tours.” Lisa is looking forward to sharing her art with visitors the first two week-ends in November. Some of her latest pieces include large multi-dimensional canvases that incorporate rose petals and spices. Lisa’s exquisitely colorful and uniquely philosophical paintings continue to be a reflection of her inner being. “Most of my paintings are colorful abstracts,” she explains. “I have been in love with color for as long as I can remember and when I paint, I never know which ones will wind up on the canvas until I actually begin.”