About Lori, abstract art, art classes, beginner acrylic artist, inspiration

Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Beginner

Twentysomething, 6×6 acrylic on paper

Hello guys! I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with yummy food while enjoying the company of friends and family. It will just be the three of us this year — my husband, daughter, and me. We are making ribs instead of turkey this year, along with mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni & cheese, peas, and crescent rolls. Oh, and cheesecake! YUM!

Also, I thought I’d share with you a little about my journey as an artist so that maybe I can encourage you to start creating art if you don’t already. What I really want to hone in on though is that it’s important not to be afraid of being a beginner. All artists were once beginners who didn’t know much and had a long way to go before getting to where they are today.

Painting can be the most relaxing, challenging, and rewarding activity if you allow it to be. You can’t be afraid…afraid to fail, afraid of disappointment, afraid of trying new things, or afraid of what transpires on the canvas (because it’s a part of you and it’s not always pretty).

I remember back when I first began. I knew zilch about painting, except that I knew you used brushes and paint. I always took art classes in middle school and high school, but had more experience with drawing than anything else. And even though I wouldn’t say I was that good at painting, I enjoyed the process and found that it helped with my mental health. So I kept on.

So since I’ve been thinking about all of this beginner artist type stuff, I decided I’d like to try linocut printmaking and I would be pretty much be a beginner at it and the thought of that excites me. I love learning new things and trying new adventures, and I haven’t tried anything new for quite a while. So it’s time. Check out this artist’s process of linocut printmaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8lhESQ-bKs

I just loved watching her make that! I did printmaking one time that I can remember, once in middle school. I like the idea that I’d be able to do this kind of art while I’m in the living room watching TV with my family. I wouldn’t have to be confined to my studio to do it. It’s something that I think would be quite portable.

Now I share with you my journey from 2009 to 2020. As you can see, my style has changed somewhat, but you’ll probably notice that I’ve always leaned toward abstract, even my earlier representational pieces. I’m showing you this so you can see that we all have to start somewhere. Throughout the years I continued to get more and more abstract.

My journey 2009-2020

You might have noticed that two years are missing – 2011 and 2012. Our daughter was born in January 2011, so the first two years of her life I was a stay-at-home full-time mom, which I wouldn’t have traded for anything. But at the end of 2012, I went back to work in the peer mental health field, and also started painting again.

I painted part-time just in my spare time while I worked full-time from the end of 2012 to 2018. I’d say around 2015 is when I started entertaining the idea of pursuing art full-time. But I didn’t do so until 2018. That’s really when I consider my career began.

I’d love to hear about your journey. Leave me a comment or send me an email at loririveraart@gmail.com.

Cheers,
Lori

P.S. You can catch my next abstract art class starting January 8th. You can sign up on the class website at www.relax-paint.com.

abstract art, art gallery

Now on Saatchi Art Gallery

Since I joined saatchiart.com as an artist last week, I have been busy getting prepared to ship paintings. One of the reasons I chose to join Saatchi was because I love the way they require their artists to ship paintings. They require you to use certain packing materials and follow about an eight-step process to prepare art for its travels to its new home. So here it is…a photo of all of my shipping supplies, minus the boxes. Now I need a bigger studio! Someday, someday…

Materials for shipping paintings

I ended up getting most of my materials — the foam board, bubble wrap, plastic sheeting, cardboard boxes, and packing tape from Home Depot. I purchased the glassine paper and cardboard corners from Amazon. It was a little tricky finding the foam board that was both long enough in length/width and in thickness. My friend and artist, Jaime Haney, suggested I try a hardware store, and sure enough they had what I needed.

Another reason I chose Saatchi is that they create prints on demand. I have really been wanting to get into selling prints of my work but didn’t want to carry print inventory. I have been tossing around selling prints for some time now, and I think using Saatchi for my prints is the way to go. You can even order frames with your art purchase, or order a canvas print. I love the way canvas prints look!

My art on saatchiart.com

So the next time you are looking to fill a bare wall, try Saatchi. There are thousands of artists and artworks to choose from.

Cheers,
Lori

abstract art, Collectors

Holiday Gift for My List Subscribers

Hey there! I have exciting news to share for those who sign up for my VIP list. I will be sending a 5×7″ postcard print as a holiday gift to everyone who signs up for my list by the end of November. I don’t know which painting I will turn into a postcard print, but I promise it will be one of my favorite abstracts of the year.

I’ll be choosing the painting for the postcard sometime within the next week. I will be mailing all of the postcard prints in envelopes to help protect them during their travels to you.

So what do you need to do to get your postcard print gift? Just sign up for my VIP list here.

As a bonus, you also get:

– Free creativity guide
– Exclusive offers
– Viewing and first dibs on new art collections before the general public
– Unique content found nowhere else (inside look at my painting process, studio, and more)

So join now to get your gift. 🙂

Cheers,
Lori

abstract art, Artist Tips, beginner acrylic artist, inspiration

Unleash Your Creativity: Free Guide

Living a
Creative Life

I believe everyone is born to create and be creative. In my guide, “Unleash Your Creativity: Living a Creative Life,” I share techniques you can use to help you rediscover your natural-born creativity. Below I share an excerpt with you. Sign up for my mailing list here.

I am a firm believer that nothing is created 100% out of thin air. In other words, I think inspiration for projects is usually found around us. Many artists find inspiration from other artists, the same goes for writers and other creative professionals. Maybe you like the colors in a shirt and use those colors as your color palette in your next drawing. Maybe you are inspired by the architecture in a small town and apply that architectural style to your painting of a street of homes based on your imagination.

You get this pdf guide for free when you sign up for my mailing list. Sign up for my mailing list here. Most of my examples in this guide are taken from my own art practice, yet they can be applied to anyone’s creative journey. Throughout the last few years, through trial and error, I have identified these ways to boost creativity. I sat down to write and tried to identify the top things that have helped me lead a creative life, not only in my painting, but in all areas of my life.

Duh Duh Dun Dun, 24×24″ acrylic on canvas

Even if you have been one to say things like “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” I hope to encourage and inspire you to believe differently — to start believing in yourself that you are creative. I’m not saying that you’ll instantly be able to solve every creative problem that faces you or that you’ll be able to paint a masterpiece after reading the guide, but I do hope that it will encourage you to embrace your creativity as you start to unlock your creative side.

Cheers,
Lori

abstract art, Artist Tips, Uncategorized

My Creative Process: Part 1

Everyone’s creative process is unique as we are all on individualized journeys. Whether your creative outlet is painting like mine or something else such as knitting, cooking, or composing music, we all have a creative process that is unique to us.

Under the Sea, 8×10 canvases, diptych
available at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s Holiday Art Sale

It used to be that I’d have 5+ in-progress paintings and I’d bounce back and forth between them. What I found to be true, for me anyway, is that I wasn’t finishing many pieces of art. This was also a time when I didn’t have enough experience to know that abstract paintings can go through many ugly stages before they become an artwork you are pleased with. So I would have tons of paintings in progress that honestly, were all in ugly stages. I would abandon each piece and move on to the next during an ugly stage, only to never even return to some of them.

About a couple years ago, I had an intentional plan to not start any new pieces until I finished the one I was currently working on. Surprisingly, I found this approach to painting more fitting for me, even though it was not easy to change my creative routine. Not only was I able to finish paintings, but my painting itself seemed to improve. While the journey I go through in painting a piece is important, I’ve found that the dopamine-producing event of finishing a piece is equally important. And the way I used to work was not producing many pieces.

There is a huge sense of accomplishment with each finished piece that brings me much joy. I find that starting and finishing one piece at a time (knowing I can’t start a new one until I finish my current one) provides the motivation needed to finish the piece. This motivation also forces me to work through the ugly stages instead of putting the piece aside when the going gets tough.

So how about you? Do you bounce around between many creative projects or do you start and finish one before moving to the next? Whatever your method, keep doing whatever works for you.

abstract art, art gallery, collection, Collectors, inspiration, realism, representational, still life

My Artwork Now Available at Inman’s Picture Framing, Evansville, Indiana

My art available at Inman’s

I am excited to share that I have artwork available at Inman’s Picture Framing in Evansville, Indiana. My daughter helped me sleeve and prepare approximately 50 pieces of small art (5x5s. 6x6s, + 5x7s) — a basket of abstracts and a basket of representational art (birds, flowers, + still life). They have a gallery within their frame shop which makes it a cinch to purchase a piece of art and have it framed for a finished look. This Friday I’ll be taking Playing in Rain Puddles to Inman’s. I just need to let it sit for a couple more days, then varnish it so it will be ready to go.

Playing in Rain Puddles
24×24″ acrylic on canvas

The owners, Mike and Jessica, are so helpful and down-to-earth. They give off such a friendly vibe that even brand new art collectors can feel comfortable in their quest to buy original artwork.

I have had several pieces of art framed professionally by them and they always do impeccable work. I have always been pleased. Below is one of my charcoal drawings that I had them frame that was juried into the Art Noir exhibit at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana last year.

Locked, framed by Inman’s

Be sure to check out Inman’s online gallery at www.inmanspictureframing.com/online-gallery. Many local artists are represented.

Cheers,
Lori

P.S. This Friday, October 23rd, is the last day to register for my Relax + Paint online abstract painting course. The class begins on October 30th.

abstract art, inspiration, intuitive art, music

My Newfound Love

Embers, 24×24″ acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

I have a newfound love — painting to classical music. It all started when I painted a piece for an exhibit with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. I listened to a piece by Russian composer Mussorgsky on repeat while I painted my piece for the exhibit. Now it seems I can’t get enough classical music to paint to.

Since I first began painting, I have mainly listened to new age, classical crossover, modern jazz, 80s, and whatever else I’m in the mood to listen to at the moment. I listened to traditional classical music while painting for one of the first times last week, and now I’m hooked. Now I’ve probably painted to traditional classic music a few times before now, but really didn’t intentionally focus on channeling the music’s energy until now. It’s like painting is this whole new experience that I am traveling through for the first time.

So now my new project is painting while listening to Jeremy Spindler’s musical pieces on repeat. At some point, I’ll see if there might be a way to share with you the pieces of his that inspire my paintings. The painting in this post, Embers, is a painting inspired by one of his pieces, a concerto for seven. There’s something about classical music that has a mesmerizing and meditative quality to it when I’m painting. It pulls me in as I become intertwined with it. It nearly becomes me, and then I become a part of the piece I’m painting. I’ve always enjoyed classical music, but it was never a first choice of mine. But it is quickly becoming my first choice to listen to during painting.

All of my pieces inspired by music will be a part of my collection, called simply “Music Series.” That’s at least a temporary title.

Cheers!
Lori

P.S. There’s just one week left to register for Relax + Paint. Registration ends on October 23rd. You can register at www.relax-paint.com. Geared for complete beginners, you’ll learn everything from how much water to add to your brush to how to define your focal point.

abstract art, inspiration, music

Another Mussorgsky Inspired Abstract

In my last post I shared with you that I’m participating in an exhibit with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. I’m excited that I finished a second painting directly inspired by Mussorgsky’s Baba Yaga piece. Here it is…

I don’t have a title yet, 24×24” acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

I had so much fun with this piece and if you are interested in hearing the music that inspired it, go here. This musical piece sounds dark and powerful so I decided I wanted a dark and bold look with strong value contrast. Due to this I used Ivory Black straight out of the tube. This was different for me as I normally mix black color with equal amounts of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

Me with my painting, “Victorious”

Above I am standing with the Mussorgsky inspired painting I created a couple days ago. As you can see, this is a calmer, brighter, and more joyous painting, and so is the musical piece. My favorite part of this piece is the gold paint in it. The music that inspired this painting is here.

I am really enjoying these music inspired paintings and I focus on interpreting the music visually mostly through color, mark making, and composition. I plan to continue this kind of painting and most likely will make all of them abstract pieces.

In these paintings I also focus on how the music makes me feel, and I translate these feelings through each brushstroke. I listen to the song on repeat with listenonrepeat.com. Listen on Repeat is the coolest website I think I’ve found all year.

I will continue posting my painted music inspired artwork pieces, so stay tuned.

Cheers, Lori

abstract art, inspiration, music

Visual Interpretations of Music

I am pleased to tell you I am participating in an upcoming exhibit with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra next Saturday and Sunday (17th & 18th). My piece will be shown with other local artists’ work during the “Art in Music” concert. This artwork was inspired by a Mussorgsky piece (link below); I created it while listening to the piece on repeat.

“Victorious” 24×24″ acrylic on canvas

Here is the music if you’d like to take a listen:
https://youtu.be/R1GwvPzzK1k

I started by meditating to the music and focusing on the way it made me feel. I envisioned royal colors like purples and golds, and to me the music seems to wonderfully conjure up images of a King in a pageantry. It almost immediately gave me a feeling of victory, hence the title “Victorious.”

After listening to Mussorgsky’s piece several times, I started laying down layer upon layer of paint, using both palette knives and paintbrushes. The music had a calming, yet energetic feel, and I wanted to communicate the two somewhat divergent feelings in my piece. I decided to use violets and golden yellows with spicy sea greens and a tad of peachy orange. Violet and yellow are complementary colors, which gives it the sense of energy, and my goal was to create a calming effect with the composition. 

I used my favorite medium in this piece —acrylic glazing liquid — to calm down a few areas in the piece and allow your eyes resting spots. I also find glazing liquid to be helpful in pulling out the focal point.

I always paint to music, but this time around I intentionally channeled the energy of the music into my piece. Usually the music I’m listening to while painting is more in the background while I pull inspiration from within myself and paint based on my emotions. I refer to this as internal painting, whereas interpreting music with paint is more of an external painting experience.

I enjoyed the process of painting this piece so much that now I plan to start working on a series of paintings based off the musical works of a composer I personally know.

Do you have a favorite song you’d like to see visually interpreted through a piece of fine art? Let me know! If I create a piece based on a song you suggest, this won’t obligate you to purchase the piece, however; I would give you first dibs.

Cheers,
Lori

P.S. Want to learn how to paint abstracts? I have a 7-week beginner course starting on Oct. 30th. Enroll at relax-paint.com.

realism, representational

From Abstraction to Realism, Repeat

My three cat paintings from this past week

Well, I’ve done it again; I’m back to representational art, specifically challenging myself in how “real” I can get in painting cats. These are in the order I painted them and it seems each one is a little more realistic than the previous one, which I am pleased. I normally lean more towards painting abstracts with no recognizable objects. But I have to admit I’m drawn to painting realistically as well.

Cat #1

I appreciate both abstraction and realism — both in painting and in viewing. When I’m feeling like I need to express myself and get my emotions out so-to-speak, I love letting loose and allowing my intuition and emotions to guide every brushstroke in abstract work.

Cat #2

There are other times, however, that I like to paint representationally so I can brush up on and grow in my technical skills. So, to do this, most recently I have been painting these cats. Not only do I love cats, but I am finding that painting their fur is highly meditative.

Cat #3

I’m not sure how many cat paintings will be in this collection, but I do plan on painting more. They are so satisfying to paint. But I know that this realistic painting won’t last forever, as eventually I will want to “let loose” and abstractify again.

Something I put into practice with cat #3 was using a small script liner brush to get that tighter and more realistic look. In case you are a beginner, usually you achieve a looser look with larger brushes and a tighter look with smaller brushes.

Thank you for supporting me in my painting journey, and I’ll now leave you with my favorite cat of all, this one painted by my nine-year-old daughter. 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget, my “Relax + Paint” 7-week abstract painting course begins Oct 30th. Secure your spot at www.relax-paint.com.