Drawing in the meantime, a modest Duluth artist


photo7At 9:30am on a Tuesday morning at the Mount Royal Caribou Coffee shop, people trickle in and out of booths with their coffee, friends, and homework.  I sat down with Lisa Plachta who had her booth set up as her own mini artist’s studio.

“I do drawings just for the fun of it,” says Plachta.  “It’s very relaxing.  Just put on the tunes and kind of get lost, and leave all the worries and things that preoccupy your mind on a regular basis.”

Plachta sits with her spread of photos to reference, a tin full of a variety of graphite pencils, a cup of coffee, and some Altoid mints, content with her art as she waits for her son to get done with class for the day at UMD.

photo1Her drawing is intricately shaded and detailed, and is beginning to take shape.

“I don’t sell them, they’re just for fun.  My mom was an artist and I always just drew.  I never took classes, I just do what I want because I don’t want to be directed,” says Plachta.

When asked what she does when she is finished with her drawings she replies with a laugh, “I put them in a drawer.  I’m not one of those people who has their house plastered with their stuff.”

Plachta takes her own photos to reference and will switch back and forth between nature images and architectural images.  She enjoys the detail oriented work that goes into an architectural drawing as well as the free hand that accompanies the nature photos.

“I learn with each one I do.  There are so many possibilities when I go through my photographs.  There’s like fifty, and you’d think that one would just pop out, like ‘this one is the best one’, and it isn’t always too easy,” says Plachta.

Plachta is a ‘full time mom’ and tells me that, “In a previous life I was a biochemist.  I did research for the Red Cross, but that was a long time ago in the [Twin] Cities.”

After her career with the Red Cross, Plachta moved up to Duluth and settled in the Piedmont neighborhood with her husband and started a family.  She is now a mother a three, with two in college at Notre Dame and UMD, and one at Duluth East High School.

“So that’s a day in my life! Mostly driving. Lots of driving. A whole lot of driving,” she tells me when talking about her kids.

Plachta also keeps herself busy with gardening, woodworking, running, and volunteering at Junior League events.

This story is part of our #Five3Duluth project, a collaborative social media event chronicling a day in the life of Duluth. If you want to read more stories like this or participate yourself, check out our live feed, and join us on Saturday, May 3, by sharing your pictures and stories that day on Twitter and Instagram at #Five3Duluth.

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