Sunday, October 28, 2018

Trick or Treat, celebrating challenges

It's that spooky time of year where we enjoy putting on costumes and playing different roles...just a little. It's probably all about the candy, but maybe it's also about adding excitement to the ordinary.

It's all about balance: boring and brilliant, comforting and challenging, familiar and fantasy. We all have our own definition of what constitutes a challenge as well as what qualifies as basic contentment. (I'm thinking about painting here!)

Painting - we hope - brings restorative zen moments, but it also causes frustration and consternation. When we have trouble getting started its the frustration that looms large! Really, the most satisfying paintings will frustrate and restore. Ya gotta eat the vegetables before you can enjoy dessert.

Recently our painting group was discussing what holds us back, the challenges of getting started and how to establish productive routines. Of course it's different for everyone - we all have other commitments: work, family, etc. Fear of frustration and failure is probably the biggest detterent, until we remember that time spent painting can be the wonderful dessert of life.

What's really cool is when painting becomes your vegetables, your sustenance. That's when you know you're hooked. And of course for me, it's often literally... vegetables.

fall harvest, original oil painting, painted vegetables
Heirloom and Hubbard ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze, 6x8"

We're coming into the busy holiday season with all its added responsibilities as well as moments of wonder. My advice is to take it all in, relax and enjoy the cookies... but eat your vegetables to keep you going. It may be harder to find the time, but it's always good for you.

If you're an art enthusiast rather than an art maker, this is a great time to exercise your creativity by finding unique gifts at holiday craft shows and art exhibits. Discovering the perfect piece for someone's life and personality is an exciting adventure. Ridgefield Guild of Artists and  Putnam Arts Council both offer holiday gift fantasy worlds in November and December where you can find unique artistic offerings.

Closer to home, my paintings will be at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls through November 26th, including the veggies, Heirloom and Hubbard, above.

The added bonus about stopping by Who's Cooking is being tempted to treat yourself to a great lunch, bring home a gourmet meal for your family or plan a catered holiday event with Russell, whose culinary taste is exquisite. No stress and delicious - the best way to eat your vegetables and enjoy dessert!

Below are some of my paintings on exhibit there. Except the interior with the red chair (second from right) which, I'm thrilled to say, is going to a new home!
original oils exhibit, Croton Falls, NY, still life, interior paintings, fine art
There are still lifes, interiors and holiday paintings, as well as some sweet little florals on display.

original art, still life with fruit
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Christmas paintings, original oilpainting show, Croton Falls, NY, realism in art, fine art exhibit
Vintage Sleigh Bells (l) and Santa's Chocolate Shadow (that one cracks me up!)

This month I also delivered a painting to the Oil Painters of America's Eastern Regional show in Annapolis, MD. It was my first acceptance into a show by this prestigious organization and I'm thrilled to be included. The exhibit is at the McBride Gallery right on Main St. and the folks there couldn't have been nicer. The show runs through November 28th, so if you happen to be in the area... or need a road trip to a sweet historic town, stop by. I know you will enjoy it!
McBride Gallery, Annapolis, MD site of OPA's Eastern Regional Exhibit

I hope you have a Happy Halloween with lots of little, smiling faces delighting in the festivities!

WELCOME to all the new readers of my newsletter! If you'd like to look back on earlier posts you can go here to search for subjects, or just browse.

My warmest thanks to all for joining me on my artistic journey!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New art news

Hey Friends,

Just a quick note to tell you about a few recent and upcoming art events. In northern Westchester, my paintings will be at North Salem's Ruth Keeler Library during September. If there is something you've been wanting to see up-close-and-personal come check it out. The library is on Route 116 along the beautiful Titicus Reservoir. (And if you time it right you can stop by Purdy's Farmer & Fish for a glass of wine on their porch.) The show will be up through September 27.

gargoyles, original oil painting, Ruth Keeler Library art show

I also have paintings at the Blanche Ames Mansion National Juried Art Exhibit in North Easton, MA. The reception is September 22, from 7-10pm and all are welcome. This exhibit is held in the mansion of artist, inventor and women's suffragist, Blanche Ames, at her historic home in Borderland State Park. Ames designed the estate herself and it's beautifully furnished as it was when the the family lived there in the 1900s. I'm honored that two of my paintings were juried into this national exhibit which runs from Sept. 18 to October 6.

Closer to home, three paintings are at the Kent Art Association Gallery in the quaint town of Kent, CT. And I'm pleased to say my interior, Come in. Peace, was awarded Best Oil Painting! This show will be up through Columbus Day, October 8th.

original oil painting, interior, entryway, peaceful room
Come in. Peace ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze
I've had a little trouble getting my website updated lately so if there is something you are interested in, please email me and I'll get back to you asap. I'm so grateful to my wonderful collectors who warm my heart with their enthusiasm and support. In fact several of recent pieces were purchased while the paint is still wet! These paintings are going to their new homes soon - once they are dry, varnished and framed!

still life
Here's Lookin' at You ©2018 DorothyLorenze
vegetable still life, oil painting
Sprouted Turnip ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze
And finally, I'd like to let you know about a landscape show for another local artist, Maggie Ryan, at the Mahopac Library. If you're interested in landscapes, be sure to check out Maggie's lovely oils and pastels this September during library hours.

Thanks for following me on my art journey!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How important is a personal style in art?

I think on some level we all want to be unique. Even when we're admiring and aspiring to be as accomplished as someone else, we still want to leave our own mark and have a personal style. At least I hope so.

But personal style can be tough to nail down. Painterly or precise, which way does the needle point? Seems like the thing we are most passionate about should come through without having to really force the issue. When I paint still life that "thing" is realism, hopefully with a touch of a poetry... or maybe humor. It used to trouble me that my interior paintings were less realistic ...and not at all humorous! Does that mean I have no style?!

Vintage camera, glass of bourbon, classic movie dialogue
(SOLD) Here's Looking at You ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze

Turns out what interests me in a still life is different from what interests me in an interior scene. For still life it's about defining and comparing objects and textures in a way that differentiates them or describes their inter-relationship. Interiors are more about atmosphere and mood. Sure, there are textural differences to convey and light and shadow to describe, but in the end it's about communicating the essence of a place, a time of day or even an era. There's a difference in focus more than a difference in style.

backlit interior, window light, Victorian house
Back to the Light, San Francisco ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze, 12 x 16"

I'd been thinking about this a lot lately having just completed this historic Victorian house interior, followed by the very detailed still life of a vintage camera, above. Both paintings were challenging in different ways - which made me realize that difference was a matter of focus, not style. And suddenly it felt just fine. What I don't want to do is to follow the trends of others that don't connect with me.

Coincidentally, I listened to an Oprah Winfrey Master Class podcast recently. These aren't woo woo motivational speeches, but interviews with varied and accomplished artists who also happen to be amazingly humble. The talk with Alicia Keys was especially meaningful at the moment. I was interested in the contrasts within her personality: confident and humble. Even early in her career, she was able to insist on following her own style when record executives knew they could make her a star as a pop artist. But she knew she had a different passion to follow.

Alicia cautioned to avoid molding to the mainstream. "We are all walking a journey that is constantly evolving before us. Plan, but be open to life." Be open to life. Now, that's a plan for enrichment!

In contrast, she also had had a habit of downplaying her hopes as a kind hedge against failure. Then her writing partner challenged her use of self-deprecating, negative phrases like, "with my luck..." or, "that could never happen..."  He said if that's what you say, that's how it will be and she realized "the things we say build our road - words have power." So she banned words like "if" and "probably". Alicia Keys is determined and confident. And she also works very hard!

So how does this relate to painting? I think it's important to determine the direction you want to go and really work toward that thing. Stay focused on what feeds your soul without getting distracted by trends that work for others. There is nothing wrong with thinking of artwork as work! The analogy to music is apt - no one expects to pick up a violin and be able to play. It takes work, it's not all about inspiration. (But if you're looking for inspiration try listening to Master Class or Your Creative Push podcasts.)

And finally, Alicia says it's important to stay humble because "that's the only way to continue to become your best. You have to keep an eye on where you've been to appreciate where you are now."

How true. Improving means setting new goals and taking on new challenges. Sometimes you just have to paint a camera with concentric circular lens details! And then go back and look at early attempts at ellipses and circles - hopefully it will be an enlightening comparison!

On the subject of "being open to life" I happened to see a national call for artists to exhibit at the Blanche Ames Mansion in North Easton, MA just one day before the submission deadline and I decided to give it a try. Both the above interior and my trompe l'oeil Noteworthy were accepted! This is my second time exhibiting in a National Historic Site and I'm thrilled.

And now I'm getting to know Blanche Ames: artist, inventor and suffragette! (More on Blanche to come, I'm sure.) And if you're in the area of North Easton, MA stop by. The opening reception is September 22nd.

Below is my painting Noteworthy which will also be in the exhibit.

And last but not least, you can see my work at Ruth Keeler Library in North Salem, NY during the month of September. Stop by and see some of my newer small works.

trompe l'oeil painting, papers, vintage glasses, notebook, paper ephemera
Noteworthy ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze, 16 x 20"

I hope your summer has been full of great adventures and, as always, thank you for joining me on my artistic journey!