Saturday, April 20, 2013

warmth and gratitude

It's been a week of terror, tears and trauma from Boston to Texas. The good news is that our family and friends in Boston are now safely healing and holding one another close after some terrifying days. At the same time, the the town of West Texas continues to be filled with sadness for the tragic loss of so many lives in their small community.

One commonality is that the people of these towns came together in a time of tragedy to care for one another, often putting themselves in grave danger to help others with kindness and generosity. How brave, inspiring and heart warming! I'm grateful that our world is full of such people.

Talking about artwork seems a bit trivial, so I'm just going to share a painting that has made me smile. This little goat is quietly sheltered from snowy weather at Muscoot Farm, a historic farm in our town where dedicated folks recreate farm life from the 1800s. I hope it warms your heart too.

Goat Haven © 2013 Dorothy Lorenze

And speaking of kind and generous people: I want to sincerely thank everyone who has donated to my Mountain High Education for Girls campaign to support Edge of Seven's Building Up Girls projects.

Together we raised more than $1400 to improve education opportunities and the lives of girls in rural Nepal!

Your amazing response to this need is another example of the generous spirit of people willing to help those in need. THANK YOU so much!

While the campaign has technically ended and the winner of the painting has been drawn, it's still possible to make a donation on the website or send a check which I will send to Edge of Seven.

Thanks again to everyone for your wonderful support and sweet comments. I feel so lucky to have such kind and generous friends! Hugs to you all!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hours turning into days

Our family room has a painted chimney smack in the middle of the longest wall. Basically, it's been a fairly annoying obstacle for the past 30+ years.

Recently I've been eyeing it as an interesting background for a still life. I had in mind a copper kettle on vintage tea towel. But then realized that it might take a few days to paint that set up (reflections in copper, striped towel, etc) and it's our family room so that might not be appreciated. Windows had to be covered to control the light and an easel, spotlight and a place for the palette, as well as towels thrown over furniture...

...not so much a place to relax!

So I figured: do a small painting. Shouldn't take more than 3-4 hours.


That glowing yellow Bartlet pear made a gorgeous rich yellow/burnt sienna reflection in the mahogany table top! Just radiant and exciting to capture!

But three hours turned into three days and now it's over a week that the family room has been turned upside down.

Poor Violet is not happy! Access to her bed under the desk has been become an obstacle course. That, and she just doesn't trust change.
Fortunately, it's not too hard to win her over again because she really is a sweetie.

So here is my chimney pear, with the painted brick behind it. Violet's not impressed with my artwork.
This one is only 5x5" ... and it took 5 days! I guess I'll never be a "daily painter" in the sense of a-painting-a-day. Although I do paint nearly every day so maybe that counts!
Chimney Pear, 5x5" oil on panel © 2013 Dorothy Lorenze
I've got to put the room back together for a while but this is not the last chimney painting, I'm sure! Sorry Violet.

PS - the winner of "Mug Hug" will be announced tonight. You can still donate to Mountain High Education for girls by going here ( or email me if you'd prefer to send a check).
THANK YOU to all who have generously donated already!
It's a great cause and "it's not about winning" (....but, I do hope you win!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Draw More!!!

Drawing improves your golf game, I swear!

Well, it could. I've always suspected it was true. Because some of my artists friends are wizs at golf (miniature, that is). It's pretty much official and I'll tell you how I know...

But first - drawing from life is the most challenging, rewarding and mesmerizing artistic endeavor imaginable. However, in my experience its not always easy to find cooperative naked people. 
What's an artist to do?

One helpful (and safer!) solution is to go to the Met, or any great museum with classical sculptures, and work from marble or bronze versions of the human form. The bonus is observing the sculptor's skill in rendering subtle expression and the suppleness of skin in stone!!!!

drawing after Daniel Chester's sculpture, "Memory" Met Museum of Art, NY
Sometimes I like to get up close and personal (well, non-personal - they're sculptures) and focus on folds and details of drapery. Love the folds! The center image below was especially challenging! It features the gorgeous gathers of a Grecian garment! (say that 3x fast)

drawings after portions of various sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum  ©2008 Dorothy Lorenze
Following the twists and turns and ins and outs, as the fabric gathers and folds and changes direction is like negotiating a labyrinth!

So that brings me back to sports. Both art and athletics involve checking direction, measuring distances and hand-eye coordination. And here's the story that makes it official.

In college, non-art majors occasionally decide that drawing nude models is not a bad way to get some humanities credits. But it's pretty difficult if you haven't done much drawing. There was a student once who happened to be more athlete than artiste. In fact he was a star of the basketball team. But he was also working diligently in our life drawing class.

After a few weeks in the studio his drawing was getting better and the instructor looked over his shoulder and asked. "How's basketball going?" He was surprised by the question and answered, "Actually, really, really well!" So the drawing teacher said, "I'm not surprised. You're beginning to see better."

That was it. I'd never made the connection with sports before but drawing is basically about observing and measuring. It carries over to sports... hence the amazing ability of artists to totally crush the competition at miniature golf. It's legendary.

So if you need to improve your golf game, (and from what I hear, who doesn't) get thee to a drawing class! If you can find one with live models, au naturale,... well that's just an awesome bonus!

You don't have to go back to college to take a class. Check out "meet-ups" online to find a life drawing group that meets in your area. The group leader hires the model and artists register and pay a nominal fee to attend. It's a wonderful way to hone your skills for fine art.

If it helps your golf game, all the better.