Learn to Paint!

One of the major milestones in my painting career was when I published a book last year. I am pleased with how it has been received by both strangers and family/friends, which is encouraging me to write a second book. I have not nailed down the exact focus of my next book yet, but I have several ideas percolating in my head.

Painting featured on the front of “Paint Naturally”

“Paint Naturally” is geared for beginning (no experience necessary) acrylic painters. Internally focused painting relies on intuition and emotion, in which you paint your feelings, instead of being influenced externally from your environment. It’s a deep connection between your body, mind, and spirit. You then translate that onto the paper, canvas, or other surface. “Paint Naturally” contains eight hands-on exercises which guide you step-by-step in the creation of paintings — intuitive paintings of mine. The exercises are meant to be a jump start in creating your own unique paintings and style, guided by your intuition. Learn color mixing basics, composition techniques, and basic ways to use acrylic paint. Tips for creating abstract work is included, as well as a 30-day creative prompts challenge to help your creative juices flow.

If you have already purchases my book or if you are going to, don’t forget to leave me a review on Amazon. Thank you so much for your support. Buy Now

NEW! Birthday Club & Collectors Club

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After Midnight, available
24×24 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
To see the making of this piece, visit
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VoQ2x8lAbo

NEW! You can now join my Birthday Club and/or my Collectors Club.

If you love getting things in the mail, especially around your birthday, my Birthday Club is right up your alley! Join and I will send you a 5″x6.75 inch birthday card painted in acrylic on watercolor paper. For only $12/year (40% discount), you will get a one-of-a-kind birthday card sent to you via postal mail during your birthday month. The card will be designed so that it will look nice framed. I sign my cards small on the front. I know I love getting stuff in the mail and I bet you do too!

If you are an art collector, you can now enjoy a 25% discount by joining my Collectors Club for $100/year. If you plan to purchase larger pieces or multiple smaller pieces, the Collectors Club is ideal for you! When you become a member of the club, you can enjoy a 25% discount on all purchases. The membership is for one year. This is the perfect investment for art collectors of all kinds. $100/year

To join either of these clubs, visit loririvera.square.site/memberships.

 

 

Monthly Painting for Fans & Collectors

What will be painted on here? It’s a surprise! 😉

Starting in May, I will be giving away a 3″x3″ original painting with a little easel. I’ll draw from subscribers on my email list. So if you aren’t on my list yet, you can sign up here: https://bit.ly/loririveralist. I’ve painted beverages, flowers, and abstracts this month, in which some of them would transfer to a 3″x3″ canvas with a little easel quite well. I’m not sure yet what I will paint on this canvas so it will be a surprise!

On the last day of each month, I’ll be drawing from my mailing list one person to receive this giveaway. I will be announcing the winner in an email at the end of each month. You must open the email to find out if you’ve won, and you must respond within 48 hours.

This little canvas above will be full of life with a painting on it by May 31st, and just waiting to brighten your day! Do you have friends who might be interested in this? Please share this post with them, and thank you for your help in growing my email list! ☺️

Want to see what I’ve been up to this April? Here you go…

Just Show Up

I love the above quote by Brene Brown. This is how I feel about the painting process. When I go for one or more days without spending time in my studio, I feel as though my “flow” has been interrupted. In painting, and in life, I believe that showing up is half the battle. I try to paint daily, but if for some reason I can’t paint, I try to organize and clean my studio instead. Just spending time in my studio is so important.

Having the courage to show up is the biggest, but most important hurdle. Sometimes I might not be in the mood to paint, but if I show up and spend some time in my studio, many times looking at other paintings I’ve finished will inspire me to paint. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a painting I’m not totally happy with, and painting over it.

Some of my best ideas come out of simply spending time in the studio. Being in there with no pressure to “produce” allows me to relax and let my mind wander. I have a nice and comfortable couch that I got from a friend, and I love sitting there while looking through reference photos and reading art magazines or books. This is really just as important as the painting process itself. Allowing my brain to soak everything in helps me gear up for my next painting session.

Sometimes I don’t feel inspired to paint at all. When this happens, I don’t wait for inspiration, but rather just go in my studio and start painting. To me, the act of painting is just as important as the end result of a painting. Many times, this is when I pour my emotions onto the canvas. Sometimes when this happens, something beautiful surfaces, and other times, the outcome isn’t so pretty.

Late Night Biscuit & Coffee
12×12 oil on canvas

Another thing I’ve discovered is that if I’m not feeling inspired to paint, that’s a perfect time to paint a still life — where my subject is already decided, and I can focus on improving my technical painting skills rather than relying on my imagination to paint an abstract.

What about you? What are some ways you tackle being uninspired? Do you spend time in your studio sitting, reading, or doing things other than painting?

Mixed Media Collage Funky Portrait

Sometimes you have to make art for the sake of creating art, and the more creative and funky, the better! My good friend, Sandy Dodd, who normally creates gorgeous landscapes, and beautiful paintings of landmarks, created an amazing collage self portrait a couple days ago. Check out her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/artworkbysandydodd. Her collage along with my husband’s self portrait yesterday was the inspiration for this mixed media collage piece. You can also check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Emajinashin-Artwork-Of-Michael-Rivera-1931322883770421/.

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When I first began painting years ago, I had an interest in mixed media collage, then for some reason (I don’t know why really), I stopped creating them. For the longest time I’ve just created acrylic, oil, and charcoal pieces. This piece was so much fun. I just let loose and went with the flow. When Sandy created her collage piece, I love it so much that it inspired me to create a mixed media collage. Then when my husband created his self portrait based on COVID-19, I had the idea of creating a COVID-19 mixed media collage self portrait.

I had so much fun with this piece that I’m entertaining the idea of creating a collection of mixed media collages. I’m thinking of creating flowers and animals, or I just might create more funky faces. I started out just making an abstract collage, but ended up making this portrait instead. It’s funky, on the weird and wild side, and was a blast to create.

What are some projects you are working on right now, and what was your inspiration?

Be well and be safe.

Cheers!
Lori

 

 

Self Portrait Creativity Challenge

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Self Portrait 2020-2

By nature, I am more of an abstract painter, one who relies on intuition rather than being influenced by the world around me. However, last year I took a few still life painting and figure drawing classes with the very talented Holly Storlie at Gamut Gallery. I just felt like I needed that extra boost, and I don’t think I could have executed this painting last night without Holly’s guidance from last year in class.

The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana promoted a Self Portrait Creativity Challenge this week and I painted mine late last night. I spent more time on this portrait than any other one I’ve ever painted. To get better at portraits, I plan to paint a self portrait every month for the rest of this year. I may also paint portraits of others in addition to my monthly self portrait.

Really the only part of this painting I’m not happy with is my nose. It appears flat and I’m sure I can fix it with more shadows and highlights. I reworked it a couple times already and I’m still not happy with it so I think I’m going to grab a canvas panel tonight and paint my nose however many times it takes to get it right. Then I’ll copy the same technique of the best one onto my self portrait.

I would love to hear from others who paint portraits and how you gained some mastery in creating them. For me it’s practice, practice, practice from here on out!

Cheers!

P.S. And maybe I should change the title of this one from “Self Portrait 2020-2” to “I Hate Painting Noses.” 🤣

Online Abstract Acrylic Painting Workshop

How is everyone doing during this difficult time in our world? We are faring well here so far. We haven’t left our house at all in the last few days except for a drive in the car. Let’s just hope the dire situation in the world improves soon!

With the state of the world, is it time for you to take up a new hobby? If so, join us by painting along in this beginner abstract acrylic workshop. My daughter and I recorded our first video today, which explains what supplies you will need. She is my “cutie patootie” assistant and will be helping me with some of the videos.

I thought this was perfect timing for an online workshop, which will be completely unscripted and impromptu! We are just going to go with the flow and tap into our creativity.

Painting has been a lifesaver for me as I struggle with depression and anxiety periodically. Art is really a form of meditation and it is so helpful for my emotional state. I hope you will get as much joy out of painting as I do. Just have fun with it; Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just have fun!

This is a free workshop, however, if you’d like, feel free to donate via PayPal to loririveraart@gmail.com.

Hope you enjoy this video and I expect the first “painting” video to go live within a few days from now. The supplies you need and links to buy them are in the description of the video. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at loririveraart@gmail.com.

Stay home. Be safe. Tune in. ❤

Until next time….

Failing Beautifully

I have approximately 200 finished paintings in our home and my studio, and this number does not include the 200-300 I’ve painted over or sent to the trash because I wasn’t happy with them. Very rarely do I paint over a painting I don’t like anymore, and that’s because I’ve improved over time. I also plan to hang on to most of these paintings because many aren’t representative of my current work. But what does all of this really mean?

I was talking to a friend today who started painting a few years ago and she said that she wasn’t confident enough to put her art out there yet. I assured her that it would come in time and that in the beginning, for every 100 paintings I created, only about 5-10 were good. Maybe not even good, maybe more like just decent. I’ve been painting since 2009, but for the first seven years, I was painting very rarely because I was working and at home raising our daughter. I figure since 2009 I’ve averaged at least seven hours of painting time each week, and that number is underestimated I’m sure.

My point is that that equals over 3,500 hours and without all that practice and all of the failures, I wouldn’t be where I am today. For every failure, I have found yet one more way not to do something. I see failure as a measurement of effort; If I never fail, that means I am not experimenting and stretching myself to the limits. I truly believe you aren’t growing if you’re not failing at times, too.

I don’t like it when people ask me how long it took me to paint something, because really, the true answer is that it took me 3,500+ hours to create it! In art, all of your experience — all of the cumulative failures and successes — are what allow you to create what you create today.

Even though I’m a better painter now than 10 years ago, I do still produce bad paintings sometimes, and as weird as it may sound, I’m proud of them because it means I am pushing myself, as not every new technique I try is going to work out – as is the case with my “NOPE” painting above!

So practice as much as you can, fail beautifully, and revel in your eventual successes. If you fail enough, you will succeed!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook @loririvera.art

Artist Tip: Mounting Watercolor Paper

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Looking for a unique and low cost way to display your acrylic paintings on watercolor paper? Recently, I’ve been working with acrylic on watercolor paper and needed a quick and easy way to get them ready to hang in a show. I love what I came up with; I think they look professional, especially for how little it dinged my pocketbook.

Both of these paintings are on 8 x 8 watercolor paper and I bought a four pack of 10 x 10 cradled unfinished wood panels. They were only $16.04 with my 40% off coupon at Michaels, which made them $4.01 each. I purchased wood that was two inches larger than my paper all around to give the illusion of a 1″ thick frame.

First I painted three coats of white gesso on the front and the sides of the wood, and I left the back unfinished. After the last coat was completely dry, I applied Liquitex Gel Medium with a foam brush to the front of the wood, then laid down the painting and tried to center it as much as possible. Then I pushed down all over the paper with my hands to make sure it was sticking in all places of the paper to the wood. If you have a brayer or a rolling pen, you could also use one of those. I pushed down on the paper for about three minutes.

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I waited a few hours for the gel medium to dry enough so that I could wire the back. The cradled boards are perfect for two eye hooks and picture hanging wire. The last step was varnishing the painting. I took a soft cloth and added a small amount of Gamvar varnish to it and applied it lightly to the painting. It gave it a nice sheen.

I am so excited about this way of displaying my small paper paintings. If you try this, let me know how it goes and how you like the end result!

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Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/loririvera.art) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/loririvera.art).

Painting Authentically in 2020

I have done a lot of soul searching since the new year trying to decide what I really want my art to communicate. Last year I did a lot of experimenting, both with still life and portraits, and took several classes of each. I learned a great deal about light, shadow, composition, and form. After my experimental year, I am coming around 360, back to my intuitive abstracts, and applying what I’ve learned.

It seems I keep returning to the same thing — sharing my inner world with others, my emotions serving as the fuel for the painting. The majority of my work consists of intuitive abstracts, which means they are created based on how I am feeling, with one brush stroke guiding the next. I never plan my abstracts, but instead I let the story unfold stroke by stroke. You can interpret them however you wish. There is not right or wrong, and my work will speak to everyone differently.

I’m sure I will still occasionally create my funky portraits and still life, but I am really being drawn to emotion-driven painting. I am drawn to so many different genres.

To be honest, sometimes my intuitive paintings aren’t very pretty. I find that when I’m not feeling as well, the colors may be drab, and the overall feel of the paintings are just very dark.

Above is a darker painting on the left and a brighter one on the right. The one on the right feels joyous, and the one on the left is more muted as if I was feeling sorrowful while creating it. I think even my darker paintings have an energy about them though.

To paint in a raw, emotional way is so therapeutic for me, and above all else, I paint for myself. While I don’t share all of my paintings, this may change. I’m thinking about sharing most of them, even the darker ones. I think I have a natural tendency to gravitate toward brighter colors when I am painting though.

Here are two more of my intuitive abstracts. The one on the left is bright, yet is framed on the edges with black paint. I remember this one so well. “Burning the Midnight Oil” (left) was created near midnight and I was up late painting. I was working a part time-job and was finding it hard to find time to paint. Can you guess what my mood was when painting this piece? The one on the right, “Eat Your Veggies,” (right) I created this year, and I think it is a fun piece.

So…I hope to share many intuitive abstracts this year with you. Not all will necessarily be beautiful, but I can guarantee they will be authentic!