A former Certified Public Accountant and Financial Analyst, currently an artist and English teacher, Lisa Fittipaldi is clearly a woman who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Can you imagine that this successful woman was once depressed, was unsure of her place in the world?
Well, it is even more interesting to know that Lisa began to paint only after she lost her sight. She was diagnosed as having Vasculitis (a genetic disorder that inflames blood vessels, blocking circulation to tissues and organs) and lost her job as a result. Lisa relearned all the basic mundane activities of daily living and promised herself she would regain her independence. And she did so very emphatically.
My initial reaction was "why me?" I was angry at first and then, when I discovered I could no longer function, I sunk into depression.
Two years after I lost my eyesight my husband gave me the watercolour set. I was angry and felt he was being insensitive.
I usually paint the people that I have come across in my life and paint people in motion such as working, dancing, walking on streets, shopping. I always paint with the primary colours red, blue and yellow. I like doing the most complicated of paintings as a mental exercise and a means to express the world in which I navigate.
I felt miserable. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act the employer was responsible for making accommodations that would have kept me employed. However, my employer did not want to purchase the software that would have permitted me to continue working. The software costs around $800. Instead, they fired me and told me that I could take them to court
There is no comparison. Art is very personal and self-generated. Art is a combination of technical ability and a conscious decision to include or exclude all elements in a painting.
I sold my first painting in March 1996 to the judge of an art show in Fort Worth Texas.
For one original $35,000.
My husband and I had a bed and breakfast for six years located in San Antonio Texas. Now, I live in Quito, Ecuador and teach English grammar and maths at the university.
Why did you decide to go into another business, when you were already a successful painter?
We actually purchased an old house in San Antonio and when the roof leaked and the plumbing needed replacing, we knew that there would not be enough money to pay the cost of restoration. So we applied for a license to run a bed and breakfast with the intention of just doing it on weekends, instead, it became a successful business that kept us involved and we worked seven days a week for six years.
A bed and breakfast is very labour and time intensive, and we both loved the guests who came into our lives, but felt that after six years of working 100 hours a week, it was time for a change.
I enjoy travelling the most and then teaching English, and then painting. I really paint as a means to keep reality real, as a means to keep the images of objects alive in my mind, as one method for keeping me oriented and independent.
To enjoy the process.
My husband and friends, and their emotional support, for without their efforts to force me to relearn all the activities of daily living (dressing, eating, laundry, bill paying, etc.) I would not be as independent as I am today. Their support taught me self-esteem, and the desire to take risks, to change. I went from being a woman who would not get beyond my tears and depression, to one who now lives in a foreign country. I am now walking to work every day, learning a new language and culture, and relishing all of the challenges this change demands of me.