Lisa Firke has been a teacher of writing, a freelance writer, and graphic designer, but in recent years has put all her focus and time into her passion for painting. A Jersey native, she grew up in Princeton, and recently returned to live in the eccentric modern house her father built by hand. "Firke," an Ellis Island revision of "Fierke," rhymes with quirky, which seems about right.

Stylistically, she is little bit folk, a little bit modern: Having grown up with the graphic simplicity of mid-century design, she appreciates that negative space gives breathing room for elements in a piece. Ever drawn to contrasts, however, she also is charmed by the fanciful details and flourishes found in folk and decorative art. Whether starting with a dark or light canvas, her process is to begin work with a monotone underpainting and gradually add color in many thin layers.