About Lori, abstract art

Welcome, new followers

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.

abstract art, collection

NEW COLLECTION!

I am pleased to announce I’ll be releasing my new collection titled, Overload, on Monday, June 29th at 12:00 pm CST. I hope you enjoy my move towards working in series instead of posting individual stand alone pieces.

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The edges of the pieces in my collection, “Overload”

One of the reasons I am going to start working primarily in series is so that I can work on becoming a better artist. I believe it’s essential to always evolve as an artist and learn as much as I can. I find that I never stop growing which is one of the things I love about being an artist. There’s always a new technique to learn, a challenge to conquer, and a new road to travel. And I believe that working in series helps me learn in so many ways as I explore something in depth.

The collection I am releasing on Monday is made up of nine abstract 24″x24″ (2 feet x 2 feet) pieces that are gallery wrapped on the edges (painted on the sides). They are unframed, but since they are gallery wrapped and have wire on the back, they are ready to hang.

Small section of a piece in the collection, “Overload”

I began the series during the quarantine and all of the titles relate to the pandemic, how I was feeling when painting the piece, how I feel when looking at the finished piece, or my activities during the quarantine.

Small section of a piece in the collection, “Overload”

The titles of the pieces are: Jitterbug, Mortality, Coffee Binge, After Midnight, In Overdrive, Cleanse, Supersonic, Reading Between the Lines, and Distance Between.

Small section of a piece in the collection, “Overload”

Don’t forget to check back here next Monday, June 29th at 12:00 pm CST to see my new collection!

abstract art, Books, intuitive art

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

Monthly Painting

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…

Artist Tips, inspiration

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 Biscotti & 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?

portraits

Self Portrait Creativity Challenge

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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.” 🤣

Uncategorized

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….

Artist Tips

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

inspiration

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!