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

20 Random Art Facts

It’s been a week or two since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve been painting pretty consistently and below are my last two paintings. I know…I know…a little early for Christmas themed paintings, but I’m trying to get a head start.

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I thought I’d write “20 Random Art Facts About Me” so you can get to know me better as a painter.

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Painting in my studio

  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 to master. Creating something from nothing and out of your head takes special skill.
  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 this year.
  5. My favorite color is turquoise.
  6. I was 90% self taught until this year when I took a few still life classes.
  7. I tone my canvas with Burnt Sienna 95% of the time.
  8. When I create abstract art, my process is influenced heavily by the abstract expressionist movement. I’m not really sure what/who influences my still life yet.
  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 hardboard panels.
  11. I have a degree in business, not art, but if I could do college over, I would major in art.
  12. My current favorite subjects to paint is different kinds of fruit and vegetables.
  13. I try to get started painting by 10:00 a.m. on days that I paint.
  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, ten 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 next spring.
  19. I sit down when I paint still life but 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!

I would love to get to know you too. Feel free to leave a comment with random things about you.

Lori

Painting My Way Through Anxiety

IMG-1104“Pepper Medley” 2019
9×12 oil on canvas panel

They say that depression is when you dwell on the past and anxiety is when you worry about the future. If you struggle with either of these, or even stress, painting can help you manage your symptoms.

My anxiety has been terrible lately…worrying about anything and everything…things that may or may not happen. All the time I spend worrying could be spent so much more productively, and I’m happy to say last week and yesterday I was more productive. I’ve painted three pieces in the past week and when I was painting I noticed something. I wasn’t worrying at all. It’s as if my anxiety disappeared for those several hours, and my anxiety also seemed to be at bay for some time after I was done painting. It’s like painting resets my brain.

I’ve been painting for years and I’ve never noticed the healing power of art as much as I have in the past week. I don’t know if it’s because I’m dealing with anxiety instead of depression for a change or if it’s because my anxiety has been so terrible. Or maybe I just simply noticed something I haven’t paid attention to in the past.

All I know is that I think this is my newfound motivation for staying on a painting schedule. The fact that I can dwindle away my anxiety to nothing is a big motivator!

Painting has always helped relax me, especially when I’m stressed. But what has happened over the last week is just amazing to me. If you are struggling, give painting a try. It may prove to help you too.

Getting Inspired Again

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I was recently asked if I could draw a picture of a house, to be used for a housewarming party in which guests would add their thumbprint in ink to the top to make it look like balloons. Though this is not something I typically do, I gladly accepted the commission, knowing that I was capable of doing it. The hardest part was getting all the little rectangles on the garage. They needed to be evenly spaced and all the same size. It took a little measuring, but I eventually got it.

Sometimes it’s good to step outside of our comfort zone so that we can feel refreshed. It was nice doing something different because now I am inspired to get back to my art practice. Not only have I been unmotivated lately, but my daughter has also been out of school and I’ve been spending time with her. I haven’t done any art, with the exception of this house, for the past two weeks! YIKES! I’ve been going to bed at night earlier, too, so I haven’t been up late painting lately.

HOWEVER, as I stated, I am feeling really inspired to get back to painting, and my daughter goes to camp this coming week. So you can bet I will be in the studio. Sometimes I need an extra push to get moving, and this commission was it!

Sometimes I think breaks can be good, too, so that ideas can percolate. I’ve been trying to decide what to paint next, and I’m thinking I may return to still life for a bit. I may try painting everyday, mundane objects, and attempt to make them beautiful. I applied for a solo show with a gallery in Ohio as well. Just in case I’d get selected to show there, I need quite a few more still life paintings completed, even though the show wouldn’t be until next year.

Speaking of inspiration, there is an artist on Instagram named Karen Barton. I’ve been following her for about a month and she is so inspirational. She does just what I said above — takes everyday objects and paints them. Even something as simple as a screw, she can bring to life with paint, and so beautifully. So yes, I’ve been storing up inspiration from her as well.

I plan to get back in the groove this coming week! I’ll keep you updated.

~ Lori

 

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.?

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

Oil Painting is Winning My Heart

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. 🙂

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Still Life with Tiger Lily
9×12 oil on panel

I always said I would never try oil painting. I think this was because all the materials needed for oil painting made it intimidating and I didn’t know where to start. Although I’m not hanging up my acrylics for good, I think I am starting to fall in love with oils.

Taking a still life painting class is what prompted me to try oils. It was nice having someone to guide me and show me the ropes, and having help streamlined the learning process and made everything seem simpler. 

The one thing I don’t like about oil paints is the drying time. Acrylics dry in about 20 minutes depending on how thick the paint is applied, and my oil paintings take about 5 days to dry to the touch. What this means is that I have to have a place to store them while they are drying, and this also means since I have a small studio that I have to work smaller. I’ve been working on 9×12 panels and I can complete a painting in just a few hours since I’m not a hyper realistic painter. When I work with acrylics I generally work 20×20 or larger. 

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Still Life with Jars & Shell
9×12 oil on panel

Even though I miss working larger, I love the ability to blend easier with oils and I also love the way the final pieces look. Oils have a sheen to them that acrylics don’t have without using varnish. Another thing I like about oils is that they keep their vibrancy when dry; acrylics seem to lose a little bit of the vibrant color after they are dry. With oils, it’s what you see is what you get.

Above all, my favorite thing about oils is how the underneath layers mix with the new layers. When I paint with acrylics, the underneath layer is usually dry by the time I apply the next layer. This makes for more unique color combinations.

My paintings in oil are also just a tad looser than they are in acrylic. For me, that is good since I’m wanting to loosen up more.

There are many benefits to working with oils but if you are wanting a finished painting fast, acrylics would be your choice due to drying time.

Cheers!
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.

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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”

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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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