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, 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, 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.

Artist Tips, beginner acrylic artist

Can I mix different brands of acrylic paint?

All the choices in an art store can be so overwhelming and can leave you with more questions than when you first went in. Should I paint on paper, canvas, or wood? What kind of easel is the best? Do I need synthetic or natural hair brushes? Then you walk down the paint section, and not only are the colors endless, but it also seems the brands are endless, which is why I always stress using a limited palette and mixing your colors. See my previous post on limited palettes.

Let’s say you have some Liquitex ultramarine blue at home, but you’re really liking Grumbacher’s ultramarine blue, plus it’s on sale. Can you mix these? Yes. But even if they’re different brands of acrylic paint? Yes! In general, you can mix any brand of acrylic paint with any other brand of acrylic paint. There are also heavy bodied acrylics, fluid acrylics, high flow acrylics, and others, and you can mix all of them regardless of brand, color, and viscosity. One exception is that you might not want to mix open acrylics (which can be reworked with water after they have already dried) with other acrylics, because then the open acrylics might lose their properties. Just know, too, that if you mix two different paints with different viscosities, the thickness of your mixed color will be different.

The most important thing to mention here is that the same colors in different brands are not created equal. For example, turquoise in one brand might be brighter than another brand of turquoise. The biggest difference I’ve seen is with burnt sienna. Burnt sienna is much darker in the Master’s Touch brand than it is in Liquitex or Winsor & Newton. Just be mindful that when you mix the same color in different brands, you might get varied results. Despite this, you can still mix different brands and colors.

I can remember when I first started painting, I had all kinds of questions, many of which might be similar to your questions. I’m trying to get into my beginner mindset again, and answer those potential questions you might have. Over the next few months, watch out for my beginner artist posts.

Cheers,
Lori

P.S. If you liked this post, you might like my class that is coming up at the beginning of 2021 called Relax + Paint. Registration begins December 1st. You can sign up to be on my mailing list for the class, too, to receive news about it.

abstract art, art classes

Relax + Paint E-Course Launch

Work in progress shot of “Skating Rink”

Hello friends,

I’m super excited about and waiting in anticipation for my new e-course to start January 11, 2021. Relax + Paint is a beginner course and is designed for individuals who have no painting experience. The class is a 7-week abstract acrylic online painting course and covers mark-making, color, composition, focal points, and more. Early bird registration begins November 1, 2020.

I love teaching, especially teaching things I’m passionate about, and I can’t think of anything I’m more passionate about than painting. I like to think I have a knack for teaching, too, as I always received great reviews when I used to teach computer classes. I taught for three years, everything from HTML to Adobe Photoshop.

“While no two abstracts are the same, Lori provides an experience to make the beginner more comfortable with the materials needed to make such art.” – Tabatha

Relax + Paint will be fun and relaxing at the same time, chock-full of discussion and demonstration videos, and an unforgettable experience that will help you in blossoming in your creative journey.

I was a self-taught artist until I signed up for still life classes in 2018 at a local gallery. The still life classes changed the course of my career tremendously as what I learned about still life greatly informed my abstract work. Due to this, I finally decided to focus solely on growing as an abstract artist and teacher, but I appreciate all genres of painting.

Sign up if:

  1. You need another activity to help you relax, or
  2. You need an outlet to express yourself creatively, or
  3. You would like to use abstract painting as a wellness + self-care tool

View the Relax + Paint page for additional information.

I hope to see you in class. 🙂