Finger-painted Nebulae


With regards to space art, one doesn’t typically think of finger-painting. Instead, photography or even music are more expected mediums. But space finger-paintings do exist, and Lisa Price is an artist who specializes in them. We spoke with her to learn more about her approach to painting, and also to learn how she ended up specializing in such a unique art form.

Examples of Price’s finger-painting


How did you end up combining your interests in space and finger-painting?

Finger-painting was something that happened gradually. Originally, my SciArt was painted with brushes, and I used my fingers just to soften some of the edges of the nebulae. This gave a great, almost ethereal, effect and I really liked the absence of brushstrokes. So, over time, I decided to try using only my fingers, and have been really pleased with the results; it gives the paintings a unique appearance, a smoothness and lightness. I do use a toothbrush to spray the stars, and a fine-pointed brush to finesse any “twinkle stars”. And for larger canvases, brushes or rollers can be useful to lay down some background color. But the rest is all finger-painted, and I don’t think I would want to go back to brushwork now; aside from the way it looks, the process of finger-painting is wonderfully therapeutic.

What other artists inspire your work?

I’m always trying to improve the light and depth in my paintings. I want viewers to be drawn into the painting. I want it to take them on a journey, and light and depth are the key to that. For those reasons, the artists that most influence me are those who are masters of those elements. The contemporary artists I find inspirational are Michael Hemming and Paul Bennett; the light they capture in their work is just beautiful, breathtaking. If I can achieve something similar in my own work, I’ll be extremely satisfied! Though I’m not religious, there is something almost “Godly” about paintings which perfectly incorporate light.

Looking back on what you have done so far, do you see changes in terms of the way you go about painting skies and nebulae?

I try not to be too formulaic with my paintings, so the process changes slightly every time I paint. I think that if artists are churning out work using the very same approach and processes for each painting, their work can lose something. The paintings can become soulless. Every painting is a new journey for me – I’m always trying new techniques to see what works, what captures the essence of space best. Not every painting is a success, but I’m still learning so it’s never wasted effort. Some of my work gets painted over. I used to beat myself up about not getting it right, but now I just accept it; if it’s not right, start again! Painting in acrylics gives you more freedom in that respect, as it dries so quickly. Some of my more recent SciArt has been more abstracted – again, I’m just trying new approaches to see what I can capture. Trying new things keeps it exciting and challenging, and I hope that energy comes across in the paintings.