Cross-Country with Lisa Congdon

What makes a place special? Maybe it’s the way the sun sets behind your favorite skyscraper, or that one dish you can only find in that one city. We looked to artist Lisa Congdon to illustrate a few of our favorite locales from coast to coast—hint: there are Joie de Vivre Hotels in each—and take us through her most memorable travel adventures.

JDV_final_300xIllustration by Lisa Congdon, 2015

What inspires you as an artist?

LC: I think most artists are people who pay attention to the details in things—what they see walking down the street, yummy food, or lush nature. I am most inspired when I travel to different countries, which I try to do at least once a year. I leave soon to visit Portugal and Spain, and I can’t wait to see what inspiration I get there!

You are often traveling as an artist-in-residence. Which trip has been your favorite, and why?

Recently, I did a residency in the Hudson River Valley in New York. I loved being near farmland and vast fields of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. I spent three weeks there drawing and painting and had a small exhibition at the end of the residency. It is a real luxury as an artist to have protected time to draw and paint without interruption.

Describe your perfect weekend away.

I really love going to the mountains and to the ocean. I live in Oregon now, and there are so many possibilities for weekend trips (the coast, the mountains, the desert, wine country) because Oregon has such a diverse landscape. I love staying in a lovely cabin or hotel, sleeping in, exploring the environment, and reading books—something I never have enough time to do in my “regular” life.

What’s the biggest adventure you’ve had while on a trip?

In 2012, I traveled to Scandinavia and Iceland by myself. I went to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. I loved every single place I visited on that trip, but the highlight was seeing icebergs and glaciers in Iceland. I have been obsessed with icebergs and have dreamed of seeing them in person for many years. I took a 12-hour bus tour from Reykjavik to the southern part of Iceland and back to see them, and it was truly breathtaking! They were so enormous, and a glinting beautiful blue color.


About the artist: Lisa Congdon is a fine artist and illustrator based in Portland, Oregon. She is best known for her abstract paintings, intricate line drawings, pattern designs, and hand lettering. Lisa also writes a popular blog about her work, life, and inspiration called Today is Going to be AwesomeYou can see more of her work on her site, and on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.