Lisa Adams is a self-taught realistic artist who lives in a remote part of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Working 6 hours a day, 6 days a week in her isolated studio, she produces surreal paintings depicting interesting looks with sometimes incredible imagery. Although she has been painting for over twenty-five years, she has only had three commercial exhibitions due to her rather slow pace of work. Despite painting daily, she can only produce three or four paintings a year, or five paintings during her most prolific years. It takes months to produce a single job. Often, Lisa would redraw her images two or three times to make sense of them.

surrealism lisa adams

In 2009, Lisa Adams began to suffer from an occupational illness, due to the painting technique of pinching her fingers around the brush every day for twenty years. But three years later, after making modifications to her brushes and chair, and taking short breaks from work, she returned to painting for six hours a day.

Adams’ painstaking approach begins with a very clear mental picture of the subject she is trying to represent on the canvas. She works from detailed photographic shots, preferring her own photographs, often acting as a model herself, photographed by her photographer husband Kim Guthrie. This is evident from the women in her paintings, which bear an unmistakable likeness.

When it is impossible to access and photograph an item, she finds references by spending her days in electronic media archives, libraries and bookstores. “I never draw just one photo,” she says, “sometimes hundreds of separate sources are required.”