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 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.

Evolution

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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