TOPS: Lisa Stamos with her painting 'Emotion', which won the 2016 Mary Valley Art Festival's open prize.
TOPS: Lisa Stamos with her painting 'Emotion', which won the 2016 Mary Valley Art Festival's open prize. Renee Albrecht

Artist giving back to the creatures that inspired her

LISA Stamos has always felt a connection with animals, but now the Glenwood artist is bringing her passion into the Gympie Veterinary Services clinic.

Ms Stamos' animal artwork now adorns the walls of the clinic, impressing both staff and customers.

"The veterinary clinic called me and asked if I would hang some of my artwork," Ms Stamos said.

"I paint all animals, so we thought it was quite appropriate to have them in here."

By all accounts, the new decor is a hit.

"The staff have been really excited about it, and the customers have been really happy with it," Ms Stamos said.

"I've been surprised how excited they have been about it."

While Ms Stamos is glad to be able to live off her art, she always used her skills to help the animals that inspire her paintings.

"Every painting I sell, I donate 10 per cent," she said.

She usually donates to the RSPCA and the Humane Society, which helps animals all over the world.

"At the moment they're getting animals that are in a zoo in China, who are in tiny little poky cages, we're talking polar bears and big animals in inhumane conditions," she said.

"They can't help themselves, they can't speak out.

"I suppose I felt like that a bit in my life, so I can relate to them at times."

One of the paintings hanging in the clinic, 'Emotion', depicts two elephants with intertwined trunks.

The painting won the open section of this year's Mary Valley Art Festival.

Ms Stamos said that piece took her six weeks to complete, working fulltime on the painting, but the festival win has been her greatest achievement since she started painting 10 years ago.

"The first competition I entered was the Mary Valley Arts Festival, and I won the encouragement award," she said.

"I only just started painting that year.

"This year I managed to win the big one."

But an eye condition almost put an end to her dreams of being a fulltime artist.

"I have an eyesight condition that I was born with, and prior to Christmas I had three years where I had four operations, I was losing my sight," Ms Stamos said.

"The operations were really successful.

"There was a good chance it wouldn't work, but I've been in that lucky 10 per cent.

"I only started painting 10 years ago, I didn't know I could paint, but it's just gone from there."

She doesn't discriminate when it comes to choosing which beasts to draw, and her subjects include spiders, sharks, vultures and sloths.

She still likes to show the beauty and "softer side" to animal life.

"When I first started, I sometimes wanted to show that harsher side," Ms Stamos said.

"I did orangutans in a cut-down rainforest, but I found it was better to go that softer way."

Ms Stamos said she doesn't have to look far for inspiration.

"I probably have 200 paintings in my mind that I want to do," she said.

"I collect images, or I see something, and that's where my initial vision for a painting starts. I hone in what I want to do, I sit down and I start it."

"I've got lots of commissions, portraits of pets, and a lot of people come to me with just creative ideas."

Gympie Times

Pest bait at dog-friendly beach blamed for 'horrific' death

premium_icon Pest bait at dog-friendly beach blamed for 'horrific' death

Bull mastiff eats wild pest bait on popular dog-friendly beach

Doctor and nurse quit their jobs to help Gympie homeless

premium_icon Doctor and nurse quit their jobs to help Gympie homeless

They provide mobile healthcare to thousands