by Nancy LaMar-Rodgers / photos by A. Vincent Scarano

Gigi Horr Liverant

If commuting is an art form, then Gigi Liverant is its painter.  There is rain, and there is light.  There is snow, and there is light.  There is heat, and there is light; and there is steam, fog, sleet, and always there is light.  The seasons’ stories are told using the colors of the sky, with quiet solitude giving way to bursts of shades that highlight the ordinary moments in a day and the moments we spend on the road.

I meet Gigi at her studio on the acreage of land that she and her husband have lived on for at least the past 20 years.  The house is an historical dwelling, and the original barn reiterates its place in farming history.  Gigi’s studio is homage to the architectural structures of the time, its interior is filled with the changing light that is Gigi’s inspiration.

I am taken with a particular piece.  It is a simple portrait of a school bus, making its journey through the rural street to collect its charges.  But there is something mysterious and subtly intriguing about this particular snapshot.  Gigi captures everyday moments in light and their relationship with the road, their particular relationship and presence on that road, and in that moment.  It is as if the headlights and taillights on a vehicle capture the idea of the light that moves us forward and the light we leave behind.

Gigi's Studio

Gigi’s Studio

Asked what the inspiration for this particular painting was, she talked about the many simple moments with her daughters during their school years. “It was something I saw every day; but again depending on the light on a particular morning, the bus, in that moment could take on a whole new theme. The school bus showed up every day; and I saw it in many different lights,” she explains.

When her daughters were older, they would attend school in another town, a half hour drive for Gigi every day, twice a day. “I spent a great deal of time on the road, traveling to take my kids from our home in Colchester to school in New London.  I made use of my time when I was traveling in the car.  I still do.  I wanted to spend as much time creating; and if I had to spend time in the car, then I was going to find inspiration wherever I went,” she explains.

These moments on the road that most of us write off as banal, Gigi finds rousing. “When the light changes and there is fog or rain or heat, the light is doing wonderful things.” She lights up as she recalls the moments when the road becomes her canvas.

Studio pet

Gigi grew up in a family that was supportive of her desire to be an artist; and while neither of her parents were artists, they allowed her to pursue her passion. For young Gigi this was a dream come true.“I was one of those kids that was real easy to babysit for because you could give me some paper and crayons, and I would be busy for hours.”

Gigi eventually took her crayons to a more traditional training, at Paier College in New Haven where she was schooled in the classics and traditional use of oils. While she created her pieces using oils for a time, Gigi describes the epiphany she had one day. “I am not a patient person, and I am really getting tired of watching this paint dry.  With the pastels I can create and then I can change it up or fix it.” Gigi laughs quietly and then whispers her epiphany, “Why am I not painting in acrylics?”

She lets me in on the eventual evolution of the series. Gigi describes being captured by watching the freedom her children had when painting.  “They were scribbling and laughing and creating; and I thought, that’s what I want, I want that freedom again to just create.”

Her daughters had been using pastels, and there were no inner critics to hinder their childhood imaginations. Gigi believed that perhaps she should embrace this experience, rediscover her childhood freedom. “Using the acrylics came as a way to solve the problem of only having short bursts of time.  I used acrylics and pastels before as drafts for oil paints, but now I was looking at them in a whole new light as I realized the freedom they would allow me.”

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The road series was birthed by Gigi’s desire to do something new. “I could have painted landscapes of beautiful fields and such, but I just felt that it had been done so much already by amazing painters.  These scenes were something I was drawn to because I was living the experience of being on the road when each day the light or the weather was slightly different, so I had changing landscapes.”

“These scenes were something I was drawn to because I was living the experience of driving all the time. Each day the light or the weather was slightly different, so I had not only a change in light and weather but a change in experience.”

There is another one in the series that captures my attention, resulting in an almost visceral reaction.  The painting is simple –  two cars passing each other on a rain slicked surface, with the glare of the headlights and the soft orange red glow of the taillights.  I tell Gigi that the painting has an ominous feel as if there is danger lurking around the curve up ahead.  Gigi laughs, saying she never even thought about it in that way.  This is the beauty of her work.  The many reactions all based on our own experiences on the road.

Gigi points out a piece that has her returning to the canvas over and over.
“This is Route 11. I was enamored with the trees down the median, and I saw the headlights coming through on the other side. There were all the weather elements, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t figure out how to capture that particular piece of road to get the feel that I wanted.”

She steps back from it as we continue our conversation. I have no doubt that Gigi will be back out on Route 11 in the near future, driving till all the elements converge into that one perfect moment.

To view her work, visit www.gigiliverant.com

2 replies
  1. jacqueline Phillipsw
    jacqueline Phillipsw says:

    I have been a fan and admirer of Gigi’s since i first saw her use of Pastels. There is so much to learn about art by looking at her amazing works. Gigi is a master in her use of colors.

    Reply

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