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 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…

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 Biscuit & 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?

Self Portrait Creativity Challenge

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Self Portrait 2020-2

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.” 🤣

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….

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

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!

 

 

 

Top Five Tips for Beginning Artists

I am a visual artist living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page, and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram under @loririvera.art.

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I thought it would be fun to look back and see what my first post was on my Facebook art page. If you scroll through my photos, you’ll see that the first one was the left one above. To make sure I was comparing apples to apples (or as close as I could get), I took the one on the right that I created this year that is close to the size of the one from 2015, and is also abstract. I am happy with my progress and I can’t wait to see how much further I get by 2025!

Most importantly, though, is how I’ve arrived to where I am today. I am going to share what I think were the five most important things that got me from the 2015 painting to the 2020 painting above.

  1. Create art daily. Even if it’s just for a half an hour, that is better than nothing. When you do this, you are exercising your creative and technical muscles in your brain — or at least — that’s what I believe. On days you absolutely cannot make it to your studio/creative space to create, spend some time in that space meditating, cleaning, organizing, reading art books, or whatever you can do to stimulate your brain.
  2. Don’t compare your work to others’ work. Instead, compare your current work to your previous work. Every few months or every year, revisit some of your older work and see how far you’ve come. This is a difficult one, but it’s imperative, because when you compare yourself to other artists, it’s not fair to you or them. You might love their work, but they might have started their craft way before you. Not only that, I do think artists progress at different rates. Some artists pick things up faster than others, but there’s nothing wrong with that either. There’s no wrong way to make progress in art. It is an individualized journey and everyone’s path is unique!
  3. Set SMART Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Oriented. For example, a SMART goal would NOT be “to paint more,” but instead “To create 100 paintings by the end of the year.” I only used 100 because that was one of my goals last year, and according to my records, I painted over 115 paintings last year. Are all of them big paintings? No. Are all of them good paintings. No. But did I paint some pieces that I am proud of. Yes! Not every painting will necessarily be your best.  I am a firm believer in setting SMART goals because those are the only ones you can truly measure. More sample goals include:
    • Participate in three art festivals by the end of the year.
    • Create a website to showcase my work by the end of the month.
    • Attain gallery representation with at least one gallery by the end of the year.
  4. Find at least one supporter of your work to give you honest feedback. Hopefully this person will be someone who can be honest about where you can improve, and what you are doing that is going well. For me, my family is my first filter, naturally I think because I talk to them daily. My husband will almost always have something positive to say about a work of mine, but also give me an honest critique and tell me what he thinks needs work.
  5. Take a class. Don’t be afraid to take a class…any kind of class. It could be drawing, painting, ceramics, or anything else you want more help with. I do believe that any kind of formalized art training will help you along the way. I say this because I have taken classes with a few artists. Even if you are a professional artist, there are always things we can learn from each other.  I really had to step outside of my comfort zone to take classes, as I had never really painted in front of anyone. At first it is really uncomfortable, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Now that I’ve shared my top five things that helped me get to where I am today, I’d love to hear from you. What has helped you in your craft?

Book: #1 New Release

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. 

paintnaturally

I have wanted to write a book since I was in my early 20s. I always thought I would write a book about living with a mental health issue. Instead, I wrote a book about art — a beginner acrylic painting abstract art book.

My book is helping people, but in a different way. I am not an art therapist, but I do find art to be therapeutic and I enjoy sharing my love of art with others for that reason.  Painting is one of my favorite wellness tools.

You can purchase my book from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions. Right now my book is the #1 New Release in the “Craft and Hobby Painting” category. In the book you will find eight step-by-step paintings you can follow or use as inspiration. I also discuss supplies, share a painting challenge, and share abstract art tips.

I had so much fun documenting my work for this book and creating the written sections too. I’m looking forward to begin working on my second book and I’m tossing around a couple ideas in my head.

Cheers!
Lori

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100 Paintings in 100 Days

I started a project yesterday, Sept 6, 2019. I am creating 100 paintings in 100 days! I am painting abstractly and intuitively on 8×8 140 lb. watercolor paper. These are so much fun to create. My next one will be #5 and I think there’s a good chance I will finish the project before the deadline of December 14, 2019. I found a good place to get my custom mats for these pieces. Mat Boards and More (https://www.matboardandmore.com) might be where I get them.

I am trying to be playful and loose with these pieces. They are supposed to be fun rather than serious. These small paintings will also help me refine my abstract painting as I will get a lot of practice with defining my focal point in each piece. This series will help me improve in creating good compositions.

I believe abstract pieces are the most difficult to create compositionally and with color. I’ve heard people say “My 7-year-old could do that.” Or things like “I could do that.” That is so frustrating as abstract painting is harder than it looks.

I will not be creating prints of these pieces; I am just going to sell the originals.

Follow me on facebook (www.facebook.com/loririvera.art) if you’d like to see the pieces as I create them. You can also follow me on instagram @ www.instagram.com/loririvera.art. I will also be posting each piece to my 100 Paintings in 100 Days page on my website. Feel free to bookmark the page.

Thank you for following me on my blog!

Cheers!

Lori