Lisa (Frazier) Horlander: Inside the Artist’s Studio

And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.

By Derrick White

Lisa-Horlander-2Lately, I have been thinking about time. C.J. Cavanaugh was an art professor for decades. I am impressed with the durability of faculty at Tyler Junior College. Despite low salaries and few remunerations many professors have passion and strive to make positive differences in the lives of students. In my early years working at the college Mr. Cavanaugh had already been employed since the 1960’s. He had been teaching at Tyler Junior College longer than I had been alive. He had served our country in two separate branches of the military and he operated his own sign business (C.J. is responsible for two of the three ‘Welcome to Tyler’ signs). Before he retired there was, however, a generational gap between this teacher and some of his students. Young people would sometimes complain to me that his lectures were not stimulating and were monotonous. They could not understand his terminology, jokes, or analogies. My answer was, “Go out and get a job, any job. And keep that same job for 47 years! Then you can come back and complain you do not like the way he does something.” Professor Cavanaugh had earned his right to be here. He had paid his dues to the college and our local communities before these students’ parents were in Kindergarten. Mr. Cavanaugh had taught his art students, their children, and then, even their grandchildren, as he served East Texas for almost 50 long years. He had a loyalty and a longevity you do not find anymore, and I hope to live long enough to be as monotonous and uninteresting as he was while still showing up for work every day.

Lisa-Horlander-4Time and technology passes everyone. Respect your elders. Like it or not, we are all getting older.

Lisa Frazier (now Lisa Horlander) is a stand out student from my first, early years of teaching at Tyler Junior College. I will confess, I knew her so long as Lisa Frazier it is still somewhat strange for me to use her married name of Horlander, but time marches on. She was our first official art club President when we reestablished the club back in 2002-2003, and she was a selected performance grant scholarship student.

Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it is about to become 2016! How did this happen?

Lisa, who I remember as a young adventurous art student, is now an adult, young woman, a mother, an art teacher, and a prolific and professional artist. Primarily painting in acrylics and oils on canvas, she also works on anything from shoes to faces. She creates paintings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces made from found objects and trees. I have, fortunately, remained in contact with Lisa over the years, and it has been wonderful watching her career develop.

Lisa-Horlander-6She has become one of the most productive, civically involved, and hardest working artist in Tyler today. When asked about what started her on her creative path and what art has brought to her life she states, “I have constantly created. It’s kind of like breathing, I have to make art. When I was younger, if the opportunity arose to make something, I took it and usually disappeared into my own world, not coming back until I was done. I did not plan on being an artist as a career, but I knew whatever I did, it would be art related.”

Lisa declares the most important thing art has brought to her busy life is a sense of purpose. She knows, if she is able, she will still undoubtedly be creating far into the future – 50 years from now. She might not be painting, but she will be exploring some kind of creative outlet. This idea comforts her and frees her from worrying about where she needs to go in life while letting her plow down her current path with all of her energy.

Discussing the frustrations inevitably associated with art making, Lisa Horlander states, “Staying focused is frustrating. I have too many ideas, and deciding which ones are the best is almost more than I can grasp sometimes. I have had to learn to choose something, and then not look back. There are too many concepts and not enough time.”

Lisa-Horlander-5There is the tricky concept of time again.

Artist Lisa Horlander finds inspiration in having many favorite artists and gains something of value from every artist she meets. Nature is a big stimulation and a guide for her artwork, as well as contemporary British artist Andy Goldsworthy (sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist making site-specific sculptures and land art located in natural and urban situations – imagine discovering a cairn of stacked stones in the woods or an icicle sculpture attached to a tree).
Currently, Lisa Horlander is working on her B.F.A. thesis dealing with capturing the experiences of nature in paint. She states, “My focus and inspiration in my art is to mimic the excitement and beauty of the light, movement, and colors in nature. I am fascinated with how they change and move in windswept leaves, across the ripples of water, and through layers of ice” (which to me all seem linked to the inescapable passage of time). “My paintings and sculptures are not based directly from a picture or object I have seen, but rather the emotions and memory of those collective moments I have experienced,” says Lisa.

Lisa-Horlander-3Lisa earned an Associate’s Degree from Tyler Junior College. She works as a freelance artist and teaches private art lessons. Since her time so long ago in the art department of TJC, Lisa has become a wife to her husband, Ben, who has served our country through the U.S. Marine Corp, and together they are parents of a talented and creative (and quickly growing) son who I would expect to have enrolled in my art courses sometime in the future.
After taking time to work as a self-employed artist, and raise a family, Lisa has returned to school and is currently working on her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Before too long she will probably have my job and will hopefully defend the crazy, old, kook professor who has been teaching there a long, long time.

The time is gone, the song is over.

For more about Lisa Horlander go to

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