My Dream Studio

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Even though most of my painting inspiration comes from within, sometimes I long to have more scenery around me while I’m painting. My dream studio would be in the mountains with large windows on all sides for good lighting. Ideally, all of my light would be natural! I’d also have a sink, a bathroom, and a little refrigerator in my studio. In case you are wondering, the studio wouldn’t be attached to the house. The outside of the studio would be painted turquoise (my favorite color) and the indoor walls would be painted a very light gray. I have found light gray to be a good studio color. It’s not as reflective as white but still bright enough to feel open and airy.

I imagine if I had my dream studio, sometimes I’d also paint outdoors surrounded by mountains and blue sky, while breathing fresh mountain air. I could see myself painting my female figures with mountains in the background.

My husband and I were married and also honeymooned in Gatlinburg, TN. We had such a wonderful time and the scenery and weather was magnificent. It was at the beginning of October, and while the leaves weren’t turning (darn) during our wedding, they were starting to turn by the time we had left. It was gorgeous!!! I would love to go back to the cabin we stayed in and paint in the cabin and on the balcony.

I love the mountains, the quaint little shops, the art, and the fresh mountain air of Gatlinburg. The natural scenery would be so inspirational for painting, but until then, or until I have a studio in the mountains, I will continue to paint in my current studio, which is small, but it works for now!

I often dream of having a larger studio and one like that described above. What about you? What is your dream office, play space, studio, etc.?

Communicating Feeling Through Art

gooddayIt’s Gonna Be a Good Day
12×12 oil on canvas

This is the first portrait I’ve painted totally from imagination in a long time. I forgot how much fun faces are to paint! I’ve been giving serious thought to my art practice lately. I tend to be all over the map…portraits, landscapes, still life, abstracts, and that is not what I really want.

I think I’ve come to a crossroads with my art in which I need to really decide what it is I want to communicate and how I want to communicate that. I’ve always thought I wanted to communicate feeling, and I think this is still true. Yes, I can communicate a feeling through my abstracts as well, but I think it is easiest for people to connect with portraits. After all, everybody knows what a face looks like.

I think it’s easier to capture an emotion in a portrait than it is a landscape or a still life. Whether it’s an emotion from the day or an experience, or an emotion I simply want to convey, a face can capture it clearly.

So after saying all that, I don’t think portraits are any higher value than any other type of art. However, if your goal is to communicate a feeling, maybe it’s most easily done with portraits. I want people to feel an emotion when they view my artwork, not just say, “Oh that’s pretty.” And as much as I love creating still life paintings, I feel like that’s the kind of response I’m getting from them.

Another thing I love about portraits is that this one I did from my imagination, and I thinking painting from imagination is hard. In some ways, for me anyway, it is more challenging than executing painting techniques.

Just thought I’d share where my thought process are in this never-ending journey of being an artist. I’m seriously thinking about creating faces for a bit and seeing how that goes.

If you are an artist of any kind, what has your journey been like? Did you have a hard time narrowing down what it is you want to be doing? I’m finding it difficult but I’m not giving up!

Lori

 

My Evolution Over the Past 10 Years

I thought it would be fun to dig up pictures of art from years ago, show them here, and talk about how I have evolved as an artist. So to start things off, I’ll show you a couple pictures from each year beginning with 2009 (the year I started painting).

2009

2010

2011-2012
I couldn’t find any pictures of art from these two years. This is probably because I was taking care of my daughter, who was born in 2011.

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

As you can see, my art has gone through many stages as I have tried on different styles. I think this is normal for many artists as they are finding their way and their voice. I still don’t feel like I’ve totally found my voice as an artist, but I always keep trudging along in the journey of finding it. There are also so many styles of art I like, which makes it difficult to narrow down what I want to do the most.

In 2018, as you can see from my photos above, I thought that abstract art was my calling…expressing my inner most feelings through color, line, and other elements. Then I took a still life painting class and a couple sessions of figure drawing in early 2019. I don’t think I regularly painted objectively for a long time because I didn’t have the confidence to do so. Taking some classes gave me an extra boost and now I enjoy objective art and have gained the confidence to tackle it.

It will be interesting to see where I go from here, although I have a feeling I will keep doing what I’m doing — creating both abstract and objective art. Every time I think I have it all figured out, something happens in my life to change things up or I get inspired by another artist, which influences my process. After all, we don’t create out of vacuums. Our creative output is the result of a combination of things, from outside influences, our mood, life experiences, etc.

One thing I do now that I didn’t in the beginning is mix my colors. And hopefully my work looks a little looser now than in the beginning.

Overall, I am happy with my progress as an artist. I think a measure of success for me is growth, and I feel I have grown overall as an artist in the past 10 years. I think my art continually improves, and that is exactly what I am trying to accomplish. Out of the twenty pieces shown on this page, nine of them have sold. I consider that an accomplishment too!

One of my goals as an artist is to loosen up more and I hope I can loosen up in the next couple years, even though it’s hard to put a timeline on something like that. I hope to continually evolve and improve throughout the years. If there ever comes a time when I feel like I’m not improving, that’s when I will have to change things up somehow.

So what about you? How has your art evolved over time?

~ Lori

Why I’m Falling in Love with Still Life

I know I seem to be all over the map with my art, and while I am starting to develop a style in my abstracts, still life painting keeps tugging at me. What draws me to still life is that setting up your scene is an art in itself. The possibilities are endless and I think I am most drawn to still lifes that are a bit quirky, meaning the objects in the still life don’t really relate at all. An example of this is this still life painting by Leonid Afremov — a high heel shoe with fruit. Another example is the piece I created in still life class recently, below.  That is what I love about still life — the ability to create unique set ups — essentially creating an imaginary world. I can’t take credit for the setup in the painting below though. My art instructor set that up.

StillLifeFiveObjects

My Dad is currently building a still life setup for me, one that adjusts up and down with a shadow box. I can’t wait until it is finished so I can continue on with my still life painting. Not sure what I will paint first with my setup, but I’m thinking I might use some objects I got from a second hand store. Second hand stores are great for finding interesting objects.

Here is an interesting article and two YouTube videos about still lifes that are awesome.

Setting Up a Successful Still Life

Composition Setting up and Lighting a Still Life for Oil Painting by Stefan Baumann

Composition – Eye Movement and setting up a still life for painting -Alla Prima -Stefan Baumann

~ Lori

Finding My Style – Kaleidoscope Color Bursts

The most difficult part of being an artist has been trying to develop my own unique style, and I think many other artists would agree. Being primarily an abstract artist, it has been difficult to narrow down the endless possibilities of abstraction and focus on a style. My goal is for viewers to recognize my artwork as my own upon seeing my pieces, without seeing my signature. While this is not important to all artists, for me this has been a summit goal.

I think having a signature style will also help me define my audience and customers. For a long time I have been creating both objective and non objective art in various styles. For me I think this has made it difficult to narrow down my audience and focus on a niche market. I’m hoping my recent progress in developing a style will change this.

What has made this journey so painstakingly difficult is that I like so many styles of art, both objective and nonobjective. It was by chance that I started developing this style and totally unplanned. I started working small after reading the book “Daily Painting.” A natural byproduct of working small was being able to develop a style, which took me by surprise and also made me quite happy. Now I think it’s just a matter of finding the right audience for my newfound style — which may take some time since nonrepresentational art isn’t a favorite among the general public.

I hope you enjoy looking at my recent pieces as much as I like creating them. Here are my kaleidoscope color burst paintings in the order I created them.

“Echoes”

“Breathe Deeply”

“Aim High”

“Be Colorful”

“Color Burst”

How I Became an Artist: The Job That Changed My Life

I am a visual artist living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 🙂

I never thought taking a job as the Coordinator of a peer-run recovery center would change the course of my life as it did. I took the Coordinator position in December 2012 and my favorite program at the center was our arts empowerment program, which promoted art as a healing tool. At the center, we helped individuals who struggled with mental health issues, and I, too, struggle with depression.

I began painting in 2009 but took a prolonged break from creating while my daughter was in her infant and toddler years. I picked up a paintbrush again during my employment at the recovery center in 2013, and after two years of not painting, I fell in love, once again, with the creative process and the healing benefits it provides. I continued to paint as much as my time afforded, and in 2014 we held the first “Art of Recovery”, an art show featuring artworks created by individuals in recovery.

A piece of mine that sold in the “Art of Recovery” 2015 show:
“Fragmentations”

fragmentations

While I enjoyed my job, I was also being strongly called in a different direction at the same time — to be an artist. I eventually took the leap of faith in 2016 to pursue art full-time and I have never regretted this decision. Would painting have chosen me otherwise had I not worked there? I know it would have; however, I think the process of becoming an artist was sped up by the nature of my day job. Being surrounded by art and artists was so inspiring. I also say that art chose me rather than I chose art. If you are born to be an artist, art will find you one way or another, sometime during your life.

Art has really saved my life in many ways. When I am creating, it is like time stands still and I enter another dimension – one in which my work and I exist and all my despair and worries disappear. Even when I’m depressed and the thought of picking up a paintbrush sounds like the most tedious task in the world, once I get going, I really do feel somewhat better. My depression doesn’t disappear necessarily, but for the moment in time that I am creating, things don’t seem quite as difficult.

I do find, however, that creating is something I need to do daily, or at least almost daily, to keep the momentum going. Art is like anything else. It is easy to push aside and skip out while your other life responsibilities take precedence. Due to this, I must make sure I stay on some type of art-making schedule.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and I believe one of the reasons I had my job at the recovery center was to help me develop as an artist and find my way a little faster. Who knows where I would be today had I not held that position. I think I’d be an artist of some kind, but I think that job put me on the right path.

Art has helped me so much in life that I try to pass this on to my daughter. My husband and I have her in art classes and I am hoping art will be an outlet for her as it is for me.

If you are an artist who struggles with anxiety, depression, or another issue, I’d love to hear how art has helped you in your journey, and also how you became an artist.

Lori

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Has Visual Art Ever Made You Cry?

No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko
By Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23217157
No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko

I am an acrylic painter living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 😊

I was in deep thought while traveling today, husband asleep in the passenger seat, daughter watching a movie in the back seat. “River of Dreams” by Hayley Westenra started playing and almost immediately brought me to tears, as always, and as more than one of her songs can accomplish when I listen. The tempo, the notes, the rhythm, pretty much everything about the song moves me to cry every time. Then it occurred to me that a painting has never moved me to shed tears, or any piece of 2D art for that matter, which is ironic since I’m a painter. I am often very moved by paintings, but not to the point of crying.

Mark Rothko’s massive color field paintings, as shown above, have been known to move people to the point of tears.  I’ve experienced a pretty wide range of emotions from viewing visual art, but have cried only once, which was precipitated by a piece sculpted by a Central European artist. I didn’t even see it in person either, but simply saw a photo of it online.

Since I love communicating visually through the arts, why is it that I haven’t cried over more than one piece of visual artwork? Furthermore, why haven’t I been compelled, until now really, to create work that moves others in that same way?

The musical arts, literary arts, and performing arts can evoke sadness in me much more easily than the visual arts, probably due to the static nature of most visual art. I’ve been in the car crying over a sad song and flooded with tears on my face from watching a ballet or another form of dance countless times, and I wish I could say paintings have brought me to tears, but they have not. I’ve even had my share of visiting large museums in many cities, too, including Boston, New York City, and Chicago, and  I’ve seen some pretty major and historical paintings in person.

If you’ve ever cried as a result of viewing art, was it a 2D or 3D piece? Was it the sheer size of the piece, the colors, the content, the subject, or the movement of the piece that brought you to tears? Was it because it struck a personal chord with you? I would love to hear how art moves you and about what piece(s) have made you cry.

After thinking about this and having a meaningful conversation with my husband today about this subject, it is now my career life’s quest to create a painting (or more) that can make people cry. I say “life quest” because who knows, it may take a lifetime, if it ever happens at all. But before that, I am hoping to find a painting that can move me to the point of crying just as the European artist’s sculpture.

Cheers!
Lori

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Why the Switch to Objective Art?

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You may have wondered if I’ve lost it in the past week. The answer is no; I still have all my marbles…all my faculties. But yes, I have always said nonrepresentational art is my thing and I would never switch to creating objective art.

It all started with my florals, and just like when I take a break from a painting and come back to it a day, week, or even a month later, I am then able to view it with fresh eyes and solve problems I couldn’t solve before. The same applies when you are looking for something you’ve lost. You may look for hours, only to find that if you take an hour break and then come back, you almost instantly find your lost item. Sometimes we need change in our life…in our art, an even bigger change than simply taking a break and stepping away. Sometimes we need a change of pace, and mine happens to be abandoning my nonrepresentational pieces for, well, I’m not sure how long.

I was starting to feel stuck — really stuck! I recently wrote a blog post on getting through a creative block, but I think the one thing I left out is to try a different style of art, so that’s my current detour on my journey. I’m hoping when I return to some nonobjective paintings, I’ll hit the ground running with some new knowledge learned from painting pieces of recognizable objects.

I guess this is a good time to also mention that I don’t think either type of art is better than the other. But, for a long time my preference was simply to paint abstractly…as a matter of fact, for a long time I would say in regards to my own paintings, “the more abstract, the better.” I have an appreciation for both types of art (objective and nonobjective), but I do think they usually serve different purposes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a classically trained artist, other than art classes in middle/high school. With that, I felt like I needed another boost so I signed up for still life painting classes, and hopefully figure painting classes in the future as well. It never hurts to have others teach you some tips and tricks in your journey and make sure you are grounded in the basics. Sometimes, even for experienced painters, it’s good to start at square one again.

So to that…try something new today! 😊

Cheers!
Lori

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