Legacy Live Painting with Marlisa Dunn

Have you recently walked along Main Street and viewed beautiful works of art in the storefront next to Starbucks? You are viewing the work of Legacy Village’s artist in residence, Marlisa Dunn. Marlisa moved into the space in June 2022 and has attended several Legacy Live concerts on The Lawn to paint live. She will be attending this Saturday’s Legacy Live concert and painting the experience with live music from Ricky & the Rockets. To prepare for Saturday’s appearance, we wanted to get to know Marlisa and learn what inspires her.

Marlisa, what inspired you to pursue painting?

Marlisa: As a child I recall wishing I’d been ‘born an artist.’ I didn’t have the opportunity to engage in art making so I pushed that desire aside. I ultimately had a varied career in entrepreneurship that included creativity in different forms such as product design and graphic design. One day as a gym owner, to celebrate booking new clients, I treated myself to something I’d always wanted to do. I bought a small paint set, cheap brush set, and a mixed media notebook. I can’t describe the first day, week, months – other than pure bliss. I was discovering a new language and way of seeing and I haven’t stopped painting since.

How do you describe your style of painting?

Marlisa: My style is full of emotion and energy. It is expressive, impressionist, and reveals and inherent longing for more.

More what?

Marlisa: To verbalize it doesn’t do it justice, but I’d say more time to enjoy every beautiful moment. There is also an underlying melancholy because ‘enough time’ doesn’t exist. To put simply, those beautiful flowers are already fading and I must capture them voraciously to preserve their memory.

How do you approach your “larger than life” paintings?

This series comes from a desire to practically consume something so beautiful. So it reveals my eye’s view of enjoying a bouquet up close, as if you can smell them and feel their petals. I hope they jump out and grab the viewer to draw you in.

Who is your favorite artist?

Celily Brown’s work is endlessly fascinating to me.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My current landscape work is inspired by the hikes I take in Northeast Ohio. I also love painting flowers from life. But, if I’m being honest, I would paint or sketch every waking minute. Right now I wish I could capture the empty vase I see in the corner and how the light and shadows engulf it, or those doors stacked against the wall and their interactive shapes. The inspiration is all around.

You have painted live at weddings and at concerts, such as Legacy Village’s Legacy Live series. What is your favorite part of painting live?

I love the adrenaline rush from the speed with which I need to compose and color-mix in a changing environment. There is no time to think, so I rely on instinct. I enjoy when viewers are inspired by the process.

What can Legacy Live concert goers expect from you on July 29th at the Ricky & the Rockets performance?

The funny thing is, I’m not sure what they experience. When I’m painting live I have no concept of time. My mind is working so hard and I’m painting so fast, it’s as if I blink and it’s over and I don’t know what just happened. I’m excited to see my current style in a live scene painting.

We hope you will join Marlisa and Ricky & the Rockets on Saturday night from 5pm to 8pm on The Lawn at Legacy Village. If you are unable to catch Marlisa in action, stop by her studio/gallery during on the weekends at Legacy Village or visit MarlisaDunn.com.

Photo to left: Legacy Live with Blue Lunch on 7/23/2022

Photo Credit: Whatnot Shop Photography