In-the-moment art

As Honor By August spun songs at a Spring Lake hall on Friday night, Lisa Flahive stood on the side, swirling watercolors and capturing the moments on canvas.
Marie Havenga
Jun 14, 2014


As the beat ramped up, Flahive’s brush strokes sped up. Her expressions and movements evolved as her brush became a colorful dance partner, spilling her emotions onto the canvas in waves of magenta and maize.

Growing up the daughter of a Grand Haven High School band director and a music major mother, Flahive always appreciated music, but she never felt talented in the tune department. Instead, she carved a niche for herself as an improvisational watercolor artist and showed off that talent Friday night by painting live at Seven Steps Up.

“All my life, I loved music and loved to be around it, but I knew it wasn’t my gift,” she said.

Flahive is the daughter of the late band director Craig Flahive, who died in 2010; and the sister of Grand Haven police officer Scott Flahive, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1994.

With the brush as her instrument and the canvas as her melody, Flahive feeds off the energy generated by the music and the musicians, and transposes her watercolor interpretations from ethereal to actual.

“It’s representational,” she explained. “I can never predict what exactly is going to move me and what I’ll paint. Many times, I’ll add parts of the crowd, depending on my view. It’s live in the moment.”

Flahive typically completes 2-5 paintings during a live performance and sells them afterward.

“There’s an energy to live music and I can’t get that in the studio,” she said. “Live music just pushes it a step further. I don’t have time to be perfect. I just have to be more instinctual about my decisions. It’s art in the moment.”

She paints live scenes as they unfold — concerts, bustling city sidewalks, chefs preparing fine food, night life in a West Coast beach town.

For more information, visit

To read the whole story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Check out her website...watching her sketch and paint is AWESOME! Worth a trip to TC to see her work, and listen to GREAT music!


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