Originally from Devon, Lisa Stokes studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design and Plymouth College of Art and Design, graduating in 1985. Following this, Stokes both sat for and studied under the painter R.O. Lenkiewicz until his death in 2002. While studying under Lenkiewicz, Stokes became a Medical Artist for Royal Marsden Hospital. Stokes first exhibited her work in 1992 at White Lane Gallery in Plymouth, going on to have her first solo show at Plymouth Arts Centre in 2003, followed by a number of shows at John Martin Gallery in London. Stokes has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Cass Arts Materials Prize in 2016. Two of Stokes's self-portraits have been acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection, one in 2013 and the other in 2015 respectively.
Stokes's work meditates on themes of motherhood, mental health and loss. Stokes often uses multiple mediums such as oil paint, pastel, ink and charcoal, weaving them together to create complex layered effects, reflective of the complexity of the human condition.
Stokes's Self-Portrait with Moth Broach (2015) layers oil, pastel and graphite on canvas, creating multiple textures and adding to the haunting simplicity of her self-depiction, a child-like figure emerging from the darkness.