World-renowned artist quietly lived out days in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A world-renowned artist quietly lived out his final days, battling cancer, in Albuquerque. He now leaves behind a legacy of paintings.

“I have a preference for lots of clouds, he had preference for lots of shoreline,” Judy Sisson said.

Sisson lives surrounded by carefully crafted landscapes of rich pink mesas, island-dotted oceans and snowy mountain tops.

“It’s never easy to have a favorite,” she said.

These water colors are oil paintings she’s referring to do have price tags, one as high as $102,000 and another near $60,000. But to her, they’re invaluable.

That’s because they were painted by the love of her life – a man named Laurence “Lonny” Sisson. He was her husband of 25 years.

“He was very prolific,” she said, “He believed that the more he painted, the better he would become.”

On Aug. 7, Lonny died after a four-year battled with cancer. He was 87 years old and painted as recently as the Monday before his death.

“The question I would get asked most is, do you paint, too?” she said. “And I say ‘No, I created the environment that allowed him to do his best work.’”

The painter leaves behind thousands of pieces – many of the Southwest and the coastline in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where he once lived. His paintings, though, hang throughout the world.

“There are collectors in Australia, there’s collectors in Europe,” she said. “U.S. Embassy in Chile, in Baghdad.”

Lonny started painting at age five, but it isn’t what he loved to do, Judy said.

“No I would never use the word love,” she said. “In 30 years, I never heard him say that he loved to paint. It was an obsession.”

Now, in the silence that is his studio, the widow reflects on more than two decades of marriage, captured in an array of colors.

“I like having [the paintings], because it’s having him around me.”

It’s not well known that the Sissons lived in Albuquerque since 1994 because Lonny preferred to be in his studio, painting, rather than at “PR” events, Judy said.

You can find Lonny’s work online, here.

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