Original watercolor art and prints by Lisa Marie Samaha
The Upper Gallery Upper Gallery HomeAbout Artist Lisa Marie SamahaArtist StatementGalleryGift RegistryGuestbookExhibition ScheduleReviews
Art Gallery   Art Narratives

Gallery Main  |  Collage Series  |  Mediterranean Series  |  Abstract Series  |  Angel Series

Like most artists, my art is very autobiographical – it is about myself, my relationships, my surroundings, my beliefs, my encounters; all my life experiences. Because the art that I create is such an intimate transcription of my life, it is a pure and delicate blessing to have my art chosen to be a part of the esthetic experience of a multitude of patrons. I am honored to have my paintings and prints hanging in hundreds of homes and businesses. What a privilege to be invited into the emotional context of so many lives!

My desire is that my art remains always fresh, intriguing, unique and inspired, (full of surprises!) not only for my own growth and satisfaction, but for the continued enjoyment of my patrons. I strive to explore new territory with courage and enthusiasm in response to the words of Mary Daly, “It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.” And in the words of Andrew Wyeth, “I think one’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes”…. I strive to love more deeply with each passing day.

To see series of images not represented on this site, please feel free to email Lisa Marie and be sure to place "The Upper Gallery" in the subject box.

Lisa Marie Samaha
We must accept that this creative pulse within us is God’s creative pulse itself.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us like light flowing through a crystal prism.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Just as blood is a fact of your physical body and nothing you invented, creativity is a fact of your spiritual body and nothing that you must invent.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
A work of art – a timid attempt to repeat the miracle of magically producing life out of nothing.
Oscar Kokoschka

In closing, I offer you my deepest gratitude for sharing in my art, and I pass on to you the following inspirations which direct my life and the art within it:

My friend, you belong to God. Let this fact color your entire world.
St. Vincent de Paul
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Lisa Marie Samaha
Alex Powers – To have the courage to express an extraordinary depth and breadth of emotion in and through my art.

Betty Anglin – To overcome the fear of the white of the paper; taught me to use big paper and big brushes; encouraged looseness, freshness, color; taught me watercolor technique – to allow the paint and paper to speak to one another – to create their own dance - to sing!
Jan Ledbetter – To break out of the mold of my habits; forced me to stretch beyond the limits of my imagination – to color outside the lines of reality; taught me the excitement of experimentation with innovative techniques and unconventional materials; taught me about creating “jewels” and having fun.
Doug Walton – To go beyond the limits of our imagination means to go to a place that is deep and fertile for discovery and creativity; to paint intuitively and deliberately and to have absolute confidence in the power of the subconscious to lead.
Staats Fasoldt – To realize how rich is the world of nature! Full of lessons in how to see; to come to understand how simplification allows us clarity of vision, and clarity of vision affords us inspiration.
Phyllis Greenway – To value “value”! Forced me to develop my consciousness of value in a composition; taught me how valuable a tiny piece of scrap watercolor paper can be in creating a masterful work; taught me how precious is a tattered leaf, a sea-torn shell, a decaying fruit, a fallen blossom.
Hazel Camp – To paint, paint and paint some more! To enjoy the process and paint with deliberate, swift, intuitive and colorful strokes.


Lisa Marie Samaha
Imagination is evidence of the Divine
~ William Blake ~
It was under the influence and direction of inspired artist, M. Douglas Walton, that I came to truly discover the wild abandon of my own imagination. Up until that time, it was difficult for me to view myself as a “real artist”, although I had already developed a local reputation for producing skilled, well-developed and attractive art. Two days of exhausting failures in my first workshop with Doug brought way to a rebirthing the morning of the third day. A breakthrough from my conscious, deliberate mind gave way to the yet undiscovered (or repressed, I should say) world of my imagination. Doug is as much a philosopher as he is a taskmaster. During our workshop he was relentless in his mission to strip each of his students of any personal sense of limitation. He stretched us beyond the boundaries of our awareness to a place of unending depth; an environment fertile for creative discovery. I produced my first true abstract piece of art and titled it “Spring into Life”. So appropriate it was in defining the nature of my experience in rising from the less challenging world of painting “pretty pictures” to the world of high emotion and infinite possibilities. The pieces that I have created in this genre have been some of my strongest and most popular paintings. They are also the ones into which I have woven more of my inner world. I suppose that means I have more of “me” in them.

Along the way, I have continued to create in the abstract realm under the direction of the talented, enthusiastic and creative artist, Jan Ledbetter. Jan encourages experimentation and continues to lead me out of my comfort zone and into the mysterious places deep within.

Although there is so much “pretty stuff” I want to paint, I realize I must push myself to develop the abstract in my art. It is in the world of my imagination that I feel most authentic, most revealing. I consistently surprise myself as it is through my abstract art that I discover parts of me I had never explored.

Lisa Marie Samaha
God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning ~

It is the luscious scent, exciting coloration, and sensuous form of flowers, fruits and vegetables that excite me so much. How easy it is to be inspired by them; every sense is so enlivened! I would rather have flowers in my hands than jewels on my fingers! Going to market is always a visual delight. For me, every bunch of flowers, piece of fruit or vegetable is chosen for its artistic merit in mind. I find myself eager to paint and to consume the edibles. My creative energy often wages war for the desires of my taste. I see it as quite a bonus in life that fruits, vegetables and even some flowers are not only tantalizing to eat and a feast for the eyes, but they are so nutritionally good for us! How gracious is our heavenly Lord! There is also something so exciting about planting a seed, tending to it, and watching it come to flower. It’s kind of like our faith. The seed of faith is planted within us in infancy and nurtured by those who love us. At some point, often early on, that seed bears spiritual fruit and feeds others. And so it goes… “A newborn child is a pure and holy flower, and it is possible to tend and water this plant-child with due care and attention, that it may blossom and seek the sun.” (Donovan)

There are so many rich and inspiring references to fruit in the Bible and those passages always speak dramatically to me of creation, abundance, growth, new life, identification and the witnessing of faith – the feeding of body and soul. Perhaps they do the same for you. I enjoy the opportunity to ponder some of them with you:
I bud forth delights like the vine, and my blossoms become fruit fair and rich. (Sirach 24:17)
Most blessed are you amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Luke 1:42)
Every tree is known by its own fruit. (Luke 6:44)
I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. He prunes away every barren branch but the fruitful ones He trims clean to increase their yield. (John 15:1-2)
Live on in me as I do in you. No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)
It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure so that all you ask the Father in my name, He will give you. (John 15:16)
And of course, there are the sensual references to fruits as those found in the Song of Songs:
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield is better than choice silver. (Song of Songs)
Let us go early to the vineyards and see if the vines are in bloom, if the buds have opened, if the pomegranates have blossomed. There I will give you my love. (Song of Songs)

Lisa Marie Samaha
I myself do nothingl. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.
~ William Blake ~
He is the fountain, not only of living water, but of eternal life.
~ Saint Columbus ~
With the light of your presence and warmth of your love, Lord, furnish my heart and make it your home.
~ B.J. Hoff ~

…We are to sanctify our works
~ Meister Eckhart ~

In the beginning God… in the end God.
~ Desmond Tutu ~
My soul’s desire is to let God be the wisdom that guides and the light that inspires. And I do believe that my inspiration is truly a gift from the Lord through the divine grace of the Holy Spirit. He has blessed me with abundance in life beyond measure. I have the opportunity to create positive emotion in people through my art and I have the opportunity for Him to work through me in creating health and beauty for my patients through my profession of dentistry. Most of all, I love and am loved.  I have so much love in my life.

I am restless to explore my spirituality more tangibly in my art by painting additional religious images. It was during the season of Lent in 1995 that I received the inspiration to paint my first of this series, entitled “My Christ Crucified, My Shepherd Slain”. The painting became so real to me that is was impossible for me to paint my Lord’s face without a swell of emotion clouding my eyes. I had to turn the paper upside down to complete this painting. It did for me what I needed it to do. It brought me closer to the suffering Christ and it comforted me to share in His pain at a troubled time in my life.

The “Portrait of Mother Teresa” allowed me to connect with a spiritual mentor in a more profound way. As a young child in Catholic School, I recall wanting to do as Mother Teresa did – to go and “kiss the lepers” – to care for “the poorest of the poor – the destitute and the dying”. I still hope to pursue such a dream one day.

To paint Mother Teresa’s portrait required two years of angst and prayer – I was fearful I could not accomplish my goal of capturing the essence of this saintly woman. It was vitally important for me to also determine a way to incorporate her humble, profound prayer into the painting. The day I finally put brush to paper, the inspiration came alive and so did Mother’s portrait – just how I’d envisioned it.

The portrait of “Our Mother Grieving” was also produced during a Lenten season. The power of this piece has touched many others and myself. It is comfort in times of sorrow.

The images I still long to paint will require more prayerful inspiration--the Blessed Virgin holding the baby Jesus, the resurrected Jesus, and many saints and angels. I believe that the total of what I need to create these pieces is deep within, and will unfold in gentle discovery.

Lisa Marie Samaha

The character of a face in a drawing depends not upon its various proportions, but upon a spiritual light which it reflects.
~ Henri Matisse ~
One doesn’t paint what someone looks like, but what effect he has.
~ Richard Linder ~
If the artist reproduces superficial features as photography does; if he copies the lineaments of a face exactly, with reference to character, he deserves no admiration. The resemblance which he ought to be obtaining is that of the soul.
~ Auguste Rodin ~
My earliest desires in art were to paint flowers and faces. I wanted to paint the freshest, purest things I knew. So I did. First flowers, then faces. And the faces I longed to paint were the faces I loved the most – those of my two young children. Although my son, Robbie, was a darling model for a few early paintings, he quickly outgrew his willingness to be photographed or painted! On the other hand, my energetic and highly theatrical “center-stage” daughter remains a delightful subject to paint to this day. Julie is the baby who never talked, she sang; never walked, she danced! By her second birthday she was enrolled in dance classes and has remained in perpetual motion ever since. Julie is now an energetic and highly theatrical “center stage” teenager! Although she is grown now and on her own, there are many more paintings of her for me to paint.

In addition to painting my own children, I have painted nieces and nephews and many other children, by commission. It is always a joyous challenge to capture the essence of a child’s sweet soul in a painting. As well, I enjoy painting people of all ages, especially in ethnic dress.

In painting a portrait, it is always my desire to capture the inner spirit of the individual. In so doing, the effect that individual is having on others at that time is not only revealed, it is captured and preserved.

Lisa Marie Samaha

To dance is a poem of which each movement is a word. To dance is to breathe; to elevate and uplift one’s Spirit.
~ Mata Hari ~
Music is a divine influence which stirs the heart to seek God; those who listen to it spiritually attain unto God…
~ Dhu ‘L-Nun ~
It was soon after I started painting that my desire for self-expression began to burst. As I am of 100% Lebanese ancestry, I further explored my lifelong interest in wanting to connect more deeply with my heritage. Simply cooking the foods and hearing tales of the “old country” were not enough any longer. Learning the art of Middle Eastern dance became my yearning.

It was my experience with Middle Eastern Dance and the men and women with whom I have shared the dance floor , that the Dancer Series came to be. My love of color, costuming, fabric and movement are all revealed in this series. Through it, I long to convey the passion of the dance and the dancer. I look forward to painting more ethnic dancers from the world over. Should I ever paint a self-portrait, I know that in it, I will be dancing – with bells on!


Lisa Marie Samaha

Every once in a while, in our life journey, we are blessed with an experience that fills our heart and soul with inspiration overflowing.  At such times, I contemplate what a gift it is to be cultivating the ability to interpret my ethereal experiences via the application of paint to paper.  My artistic soul’s longing to be manifest; it is a tangible part of the memory which shapes my reality. energy is fueled by the pure and generous power of the beauty of God’s world – by my utter fascination with it all – people, places and things.  The act of creating “something out of nothing” is a joyful privilege – as it is for any visual, literary or performing artist.  It is also a necessity.  My creative spirit bursts in restless anticipation of the works I will produce until my vision is expressed.  Hence, the realization of an image onto paper becomes a tangible part of my soul’s longing to be manifest; it is a tangible part of the memory which shapes my reality.

For me, a luscious opportunity to go to Northern Italy and Southern France occurred in 1999. I partook of an abundantly sensual experience in an abundantly sensual part of the world!

From my first moments in Venice, I felt Italy inviting me into its heart, embracing me as if I was born of her flesh.  “Graci’” and Prego!” were delightfully sung in endless chorus by shop owners and market vendors.  The Italians were simply endearing.  Clear waters, vibrant sunsets, charming architecture, talented musicians and luscious foods of Venice, Milan and Florence engaged all of my senses.  I was swirling in bliss!

From Florence, I took a delightful drive through the Tuscan landscape and up the Mediterranean coast to the countryside of Southern France.  The French were more subdued, but no less charming.  Provence lulled me with its breathtaking views, especially as my villa offered me a vista of patterned vineyards and lush vegetation cascading down to the powerful Mediterranean Coast.  Early each morning I partook of a fresh baguette, hard sausage and a variety of Mediterranean herb-flavored olives and cheeses.  I would then eagerly approach a different market in a different village – each having a unique and luscious flavor all its own.  (The sensual abundance of the marketplaces is still with us today.)  My meals each evening in Provence were joyful creations of those market experiences. I further inhaled the passion of the people and places through a variety of daily adventures.  Such passion is not of our familiar world of North America.  It is of a world of old where everything is connected and everyone is family – everything is a part of itself.

It is my desire that through the Mediterranean Series? the viewer may experience even a taste of the passion I lived during those two short but bountiful weeks.  If he/she has not yet had the opportunity to visit this part of the world, I am honored to introduce it to them via my interpretation.  If, on the other hand, the viewer does have experience with the Mediterranean of which I paint, my hope is that I may help them restore a connection with memories of his/her own.

  Lisa Marie Samaha

Almond Tree
Since young St. Julia planted an almond tree over the grave of her dearest spiritual mentor, St. Valentine, the almond tree has remained a symbol of abiding love and friendship.

Fruit of the Vine
I bud forth delights like the vine, my blossoms become fruit fair and rich.
(Sir 24:17)
I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. He prunes away every barren branch but the fruitful ones He trims clean to increase their yield.
(John 15:1-2)
Live on in me as I do in you. No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5)

From the Mount of Olives
One tradition holds that the tree of life in the Garden of Eden was the Olive Tree.  In the Mediterranean world of the Bible, its fruit provided food, and oil for light, heat, healing.  Mary bore the One who is the light of the world and the healing of nations. (Magnificat No O21, p.70)

The Trumpets of Angels
Always looking for an opportunity to give symbolic meaning to God’s brilliant creations, I swiftly envisioned the Trumpet tree we saw in Provence to be the bearer of the trumpets of God’s angels. I imagined that the shape of the lovely flower could produce a delicate yet glorious sound with a beauty most worthy of a place in the heavens.

Where the Caretaker Dwells
A modest, yet charming Mediterranean dwelling adjacent to the villa my husband and I spent part of our honeymoon. It is owned by two French artists, husband and wife – she a poet, he a painter and the caretaker of our villa. Both properties are located on a hillside in Provence, France, within an area called Cote d’Azur. From the properties, the eye is drawn down cascading vineyards to the shimmering coast of the Mediterranean.


Lisa Marie Samaha

I cannot copy nature in a servile way, I must interpret nature and submit it to the spirit of the picture.
Henri Matisse

Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensation.
Paul Cezanne

There is no recipe for improving nature. The only thing is to see.
Auguste Rodin 

…Lord I do fear • Thoust made the world • too beautiful this year; My soul is all but out of me…
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Through nature, God reveals to us the rhythm of life, the cycle of purification – from life into death into life….
In 1995, a strong desire to visit my dear college friend, Sheila, in the Catskills led me to the discovery of summer workshops at the Woodstock School of Art.  It was my first vacation away from my two young children and my first adventure in painting “plein aire.”  As I left for the airport, portfolio in hand and straw hat on head, I promised myself a transformation into a true bohemian artist.  I shed the title of Doctor Samaha, “the dentist” and desired only to be known as Lisa Marie, “the artist” (at least for one week).  It was on the airplane that I first accepted the privilege of believing myself (and even introducing myself) as an artist.

After an evening of settling into the mindset of Woodstock, I was ready to meet the man who would carry me into the daunting world of landscape painting.  The workshop was taught by the kind, most gently inspiring and talented Staats Fasoldt.  Little did I know how Staats would open my consciousness to a new world.  He taught me to see with discerning eyes; to paint with a heightened awareness.  Each day, we painted on location in the Catskills – from mountaintops to waterfalls, streams to valleys.  Staats, recognizing my frustration in interpreting the three dimensions around me into two dimensions – and transforming the complexity of nature into a unifying form - approached me with patience and tenderness and a gentle sense of humor.  He sat with me, touched brush to paper and in less than ten strokes, created a masterpiece of mood, form, composition and color.  Staats taught me to simplify; to eliminate the clutter.  Whether he knew it or not, he also showed me in a new way, how amazing is our God.  For the very first time, I experienced spiritual awakening in communion with nature.  I became a part of the world in which I painted and allowed that world to enter my very being.  The paintings I produced soon evoked how I felt within myself, as I was within the landscape.  In my exploration on the third day, I discovered that I could color nature with the unlimited palette of my imagination. It was at that moment that my breakthrough of inspiration truly occurred.  I allowed my infatuation with color and my awe of nature seep into my soul and onto my paper in new creative possibilities.  In the words of Paul Cezanne, “To achieve progress, nature alone accounts, and the eye is trained through contact with her”.

Wherever we were painting, I perched myself on a rock and by simply turning a few inches in any direction, I discovered God’s masterpieces of beauty and composition, one after another.  Within a few days, the entire Woodstock Series? was born.   Now, as often as I can, I take advantage of the opportunity to engage myself with nature and give birth to a new series of abstract landscape art.  It was my spiritual growth in painting landscapes that led to the Inspirational Series?, an entire collection of prints and note cards which are available as blank cards and prints. They are also available inscribed with spiritual quotations appropriate for many occasions.

I look forward to continuing to develop this series for the purpose of uplifting others via the power and faith of Christianity.  I truly believe that “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” (Job 12:10)
I go into the wilderness and rediscover the home within.
China Gallard, Sisters of the Earth
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! (Psalm 84:1)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of a God.

Lisa Marie Samaha
For the child in your life… or the child within you!
Begun as a simple exercise in watercolor handling in a class taught by a cherished instructor, Jan Ledbetter, this series became an inspiration of my heart. Several years ago it allowed me to connect with my own children in a special way.  In so doing, I connected with a childlike part of myself.  The children and I challenged each other to dream up new creatures for me to paint and shortly thereafter, the title for the whole series was born. What makes this series distinctly personal is the addition of unique, handpainted mattes that I prepare for each image. You can be assured that no two are alike!

My first actual “grouping” was a result of my love of the beach and all things aquatic. It grew into the Sea Series? which now contains well over two dozen images.  Then evolved the Barnyard Series©, the Insect Series©, the Nighttime Critters©, Little Critters©, Exotic Animals©, Furry Little Things©, Woodland Creatures© and Things In Flight©.  A Birthday Series© was also added.  Occasionally, a child will ask me to create a new animal and I am delighted to oblige (a recent request was a unicorn from my sweet little neighbor, Caitlin, but my latest addition was a ladybug for Margie’s baby’s nursery). 

This is a series that clearly brings out the child in any of us.  I have watched these images, on more than one occasion, put a smile on the face and a twinkle in the eye of an elderly man, a middle-aged woman, a spunky teen or a tiny toddler.  The series’ appeal is not limited by age, and its diversity allows for use in nearly any room in the house.  These whimsical creatures are unique and delightful for baby gifts and nurseries, children’s rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, rooms of teens and college kids and vacation homes (especially beach or farmhouses).

I have big ideas for this series – it is alive and growing.  Suggestions for new additions are always welcome!

Lisa Marie Samaha

Since beginning the exploration of my artistic talents in 1991, the process of growth in my art has led me to places within myself that I had long denied.  In the first four years of painting, I was lured to paint of peace, joy, and beauty -- the fullness of flowers and nature and the innocence of the faces of children.  Although I found such painting very natural and easy, often invoking a joyful, transcendent feeling within me, I felt compelled to journey to a deeper place -- a place of greater complexity.  It was as if there was more to do -- creative "work" to do, as opposed to the creative "play" I had been doing.  Once Fractured became the first stop on that journey.

Painting in the abstract realm may appear to have a certain freedom, an abandon about it.  And for some artists perhaps it does.  For me, it requires a tremendous amount of energy as I am pushed to a level of concentration that draws me into a deep, often mysterious place within my soul, a place where my conscious mind does not often venture.  Upon completion, it became clear to me that Once Fractured represented the actualization of a chaotic, "fractured" time in my past.  Thus, it was through my art that my subconscious led me on a journey back to that unsteady time and place that was nearly devoid of creativity and spiritual growth.  In so doing, it offered me a point of healing.

Through my artistic growth, I have come to the awareness that deep with everyone exists a talent and need for artistic expression.  It is when the creativity and spirituality of one's soul is denied, that the soul becomes prey to stress, chaos.

My constant prayer is that when each of us views a work of art, we are reminded of the depth of our own creative spirit, thus making it possible for us to deepen our spiritual connection to the universe and its Creator.