Surf Artist Lisa Parkes
When I decided to get in touch with Lisa from Seaweedsa and ask her a few questions about her journey as an ocean artist and mermaid I had no idea just how touched I would be by her remarkable journey to become who she is today.
What started out as a regular interview soon became a story of inspiration as she followed her heart from Canada to the sunny shores of Florida, USA battling cancer along the way before finding her healing in the power of the ocean and therapy in painting. Here is Lisas story…
Lisa Parkes grew up in Toronto, Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is approximately 800 kms from the Atlantic Ocean. That’s about a 9-10 hour car ride depending on how fast you drive. About as far away from the ocean as you could get. Lisa’s childhood days were spent playing in and around Lake Ontario. At a young age she took up skateboarding, ripping it up at local skate ramps and in her driveway. Being landlocked, surfing was never on the agenda for her (although I am told by Lisa that you can surf on Lake Ontario if you want to brave the freezing winter conditions.)
At the young age of 31 in 2012 sadly Lisa was diagnosed with cancer. It was this shock that would propel her to change her life and her circumstances. She packed up all that she knew in Toronto and relocated to the sunny shores of Florida on the East Coast of the USA. It is here that she learnt to surf in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Around the same time Lisa started painting, her artwork inspired by the spirit of the ocean and the creatures that live and play in it. Surfing and art became Lisa’s healing modalities during the trauma of her cancer treatment and they are what kept her positive and happy in the face of adversity. No matter what the cancer threw at her, Lisa would find peace in the tranquility of the ocean, hence where her ocean art emerged from at this time.
Fast forward to 2014 and Lisa is happy to tell me that she is cancer free (Yay!) and that she has moved back to her hometown of Ontario. She now spends her days painting and working extra jobs if and when she has to. She also still surfs and braves the cold conditions of Lake Ontario, but compared to cancer treatment – “well the wind and cold make you feel alive” and she sure feels blessed to be here living her passion every single day and being stoked while doing it.
And how does she describe her love affair with the ocean, the very element that healed her?
“The ocean to me? It’s like the biggest hug and the most love you feel from anything or anyone – That’s the best way I can descride how I feel about the sea. When you have that perfect day of surfing, the joy you feel in your heart is like no other! It’s made me dream big, it’s given me confidence, it makes my soul feel nice and it helped me find myself. I know that sounds cliche, but I have grown so much as a human being since my love affair with the ocean began”
To find Lisa’s artworks head over to her Facebook or Instagram