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, 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.

portraits

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This is the first portrait I’ve done in several months; I think the last one I painted was in February or March. I finished this over the weekend but am just now posting it to my blog.

The world definitely didn’t get enough of Ginsburg. I honestly was not even aware of the extent she fought (and won) battles for women’s equal rights. What a selfless and magnificent human being she was!

I usually don’t post political things to my blog, but I really don’t think this is a political post. Rather this is the celebration of a strong woman who is worthy of much respect for her bravery. She is a true heroine.

As I said, this was my first portrait in months, and throughout the painting I realized how much I miss painting portraits. So I’ve decided to start painting portraits again periodically.

I have a few people in mind to paint, and I’m sure the list will keep growing. I’m not a realistic painter, but rather I try to capture the emotion and personality of the person in my portraits.

Thank you for supporting me in my artistic journey!

– Lori

P.S. Don’t forget. Only eight more days to get the early bird rate on my beginner abstract acrylic painting course. relax-paint.com

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. 🙂

Artist Tips

Free E-book: How to Create a Custom Color Palette

Hello there. I’d like to share something I recently created — a free e-book for artists who want to learn more about color mixing and creating a unique, custom color palette.

When I first started painting roughly ten years ago, I hardly ever mixed my colors, except maybe an occasional color with white to lighten it up. And I had the tendency to buy every color on the shelves that jumped out in front of me. Yes, that means I had tons of bottles and tubes of paint with really no rhyme or reason. When I painted, there was no rhyme or reason which color I picked up….but of course, I’m still a little like that as my paintings are emotion driven and I choose colors based on my intuition. But then I guess my intuition is the rhyme and reason. 🙂 The difference between back then and now is that I mix my colors to match my emotions instead of choosing a color that is as close as I can get to what I am feeling (out of the tube), which might have not really been that close.

Mixing my colors allows me to achieve a closer match to the color that’s representative of my emotions. I truly believe my colors look more unique when I mix them, too, and I think you’ll find that most artists mix their colors instead of using color straight out of the tube. Even though there is nothing wrong with tube colors, I think creating your own custom colors will set you apart from other artists, as no one will have the same exact colors as you.

In the e-book, I share with you the six colors I use out of the tube to make all of my other colors. You can use these same colors or through trial and error, create your own limited palette. I show you how to create your base palette with as little as five tube colors.

To sign up to receive my free e-Book, visit www.loririveraart.com/lriverapalette.

Hope you enjoy the e-Book and let me know what you think. Drop me a line and share how it helps.

Cheers,
Lori

About Lori, abstract art

Welcome, new followers

Rollercoaster
24×24 acrylic on canvas

Periodically I write a post like this one to welcome new followers and introduce myself again. I started painting in 2009, but didn’t start painting seriously until around 2018. I live in Evansville, Indiana with my husband, Mike, our 9-year old daughter, Autumn, and our two cats, Vincent Van Gogh and Mr. Wallace. When I first began painting, I was self-taught and painted things like flowers, trees, and abstracts on occasion. Then I went back to work in 2012 and being surrounded by artists on an almost daily basis reawakened my interest in becoming a full-time artist. In 2018, I left the regular 8-5 work world.

I took still life painting classes last year and learned techniques I now apply to my abstracts. Nowadays, I have decided to narrow my focus solely to abstract work, and growing as an abstract artist. I paint for many reasons, including to improve my mental health and to satisfy my primal need as a human being to create.

Twenty random facts (updated) about my art-making:

  1. My studio is in a room in our house, which means that it’s extremely convenient, but I also get sidetracked sometimes. It’s small but works for now.
  2. I find abstract art to be the most challenging genre. Creating something from nothing and out of your head that also looks nice compositionally is challenging.
  3. I’ve been painting since 2009, but painting on a more serious and dedicated level for the past year.
  4. I made it into my first juried exhibit last year.
  5. My favorite color is turquoise.
  6. I was around 90% self taught until last year when I took a few still life classes.
  7. I tone my canvas with burnt sienna and gray 95% of the time.
  8. When I create abstract art, my process is influenced heavily by the abstract expressionist movement.
  9. I dread cleaning my brushes after I paint. It’s probably what I dislike the most about the painting process.
  10. My favorite surface to work on is canvas when I paint with acrylic.
  11. I have a degree in business, not art, but if I could do college over, I would major in art. With that being said, my business degree has also been invaluable to my art career.
  12. I paint intuitively with no predetermined plan.
  13. I am homeschooling my daughter this year, so I mostly paint in the evenings and on weekends.
  14. I listen to all kinds of music when I paint but my favorites are Enya and 80s music.
  15. I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t start painting until I was 34, eleven years ago.
  16. I always have something to drink when I paint…coffee, tea, soda.
  17. I believe even the most masterful artists need to continue learning. Painting is a never ending journey.
  18. I hope to start plein air painting more with my artist friends.
  19. I stand up when painting abstracts. My whole body gets a little workout when I paint abstracts. That’s when I can get the most energy into a piece.
  20. My studio is usually messy!

So now it’s your turn. I’d love to know more about you. 🙂

abstract art, art classes

Abstract Art Lessons

Have you ever wanted to learn how to create abstract paintings fueled by emotions and driven by intuition? You feel a sense of freedom when painting abstracts and are able to unleash your emotions onto the canvas. I truly believe painting is a great mental health self-care tool. It’s something I have used for ten years to help me stay well.

Additionally, painting can help boost your self esteem and give you a sense of purpose. It’s something I have to look forward to, and I want to share this with you.

I just love the act of creation itself — the process of painting. I use intuition in combination with basic art principles to create my abstract works. In the beginning and middle of painting my piece, I let my intuition guide everything. Then towards the end of the painting, I refine the composition, adjust colors, and anything else that needs to be done. And I can’t wait to show you my process.

At this point I’m planning to include 4-5 videos in this first class. The videos will include a step-by step demonstration of me painting a piece from start to finish.

Want notifications on when the class is available? Sign up for my mailing list at loririveraart.com.