Artist Feature: Lisa Semler

From grape to glass, the winemaking process is an ode to nature and artistry, and at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, California, we’ve found that art and wine are among the best pairings we can think of.

Lisa Semler, wife of Ronnie Semler, also known as lady of the ranch, explores and express a love of art, wine and nature in her stunning original works which are created on the property in her private art studio. 

As anyone keen to the spirit of Malibu will tell you, it’s the myriad natural settings that offer so much inspiration to the artist’s soul. Semler finds a particularly strong connection with her surroundings, often engaging nature as her muse.

“I walk in the vineyards every morning, and many times go to the ocean for inspiration, or up to the top of a mountain to sit and reflect,” said Semler.

“In my daily experience, I see beautiful vineyards and the colors of nature. Being close to the ocean inspires many of my paintings with the colors and the beauty in the depth and life of the ocean.”

Indeed, much as the complexities of the natural environment influence the taste, color and texture of a glass of wine, so they also influence Semler’s painting, particularly when it comes to color.

“It is the feeling of color that makes me emotional about what I am creating,” she shared.

And color is certainly something you’ll find in her pieces, from subtle natural gradients to bold strokes of bright hues. Semler works in a variety of media, including painting, photography and pastel, often using the encaustic technique to unify a vision. Encaustic is an ancient process used by the Greeks in a primitive sort of painting. It involves heating beeswax, sometimes with color, and applying it in layers to create depth, dimension and cohesion.

Sometimes I add images of horses or vineyards from my photographs.

Photography has been a passion of mine since I was twelve and my grandmother gave me my first Kodak camera and she told me I had a good eye. Encaustic appeals to me because I can bring together all of the mediums that I love.”

It is fitting that this encaustic technique appeals to Semler, a wine-lover and winemaker. In fact, it’s something of a poetic parallel: combining all the right, bold elements and bringing them together in a smooth and cohesive piece.

“I find beauty in the thousands-of-years-old process[es] of making wine and creating art. I love the creative process of painting that speaks to you, or making a great wine that makes you feel good.”

And, yes, she experiments by painting with wine—a beautiful marriage of two deeply creative processes.

When she’s not painting or surveying the vineyard, nurturing her two great creative passions, Lisa Semler enjoys the natural beauty of Malibu in another way: with family. You can find her and 20 of her favorite people dining on the patio, a glass of tart, tangy sauvignon blanc in her hand. 

Check out Lisa's works at