Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace, Joy and Merriment

The gift-giving season is meant to be wonderful but it can bring a level of stress and frustration as our desire to meet the hopes of our loved ones may be a bit overwhelming. Our loved ones? Well, it seems they're fine with anything that's wrapped. More or less.

If finding the perfect gift isn't what brings the greatest satisfaction, the joy of knowing folks well enough to have a sense of what will bring a smile to their face, can be pretty amazing. One year I experienced great joy finding the time to make meringue mushrooms for a yule log (what can I say, it seemed like a big deal at the time).

So here's the point of view that I hope to maintain - trust that the people we love already know that we want the very best for them ...always. Not just at Christmas! And beyond that, try to creatively reinforce that truth.

Many thanks for all the kind words of support for my art endeavors throughout the past year. I wish you and your loved ones all the joys of the holiday season and a peaceful New Year!

It's a wonderful life... jingle all the way!

Jingle ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life!

Thanks to the support and encouragement of fellow artists and new friends and collectors Its been a productive and rewarding year of painting. Like many artistic folks I tend to have more doubts than bravado, so I truly appreciate those who spur me on! 

Recently, an artist in our monthly-meeting coffee group encouraged me to enter the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club's annual exhibition. (I'd been rejected in the past so it was a hard sell.) This time I was delighted to be accepted and thrilled to win an award for still life in oil for my painting Back to School, Back in the Day!
Back to School, Back in the Day ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

The exhibit is at the National Arts Club, housed in a mansion on Gramery Park in New York through December 19. With carved wood panels and stained glass, this historic home is beautiful on an ordinary day, but decked out for Christmas, it's positively magical. 

Oh, and then there is all the amazing artwork! The walls are hung with paintings by American master painters who have been members over the past years. 

The National Arts Club

Ongoing gallery exhibits by prominent arts organizations means there is always something new to inspire at the National Arts Club. It's truly an honor to be part of this show.

Thank you for joining me on my art journey!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks for giving

... your encouragement!

This Thanksgiving I'm sending special thanks... and credit... to the folks who have inspired and helped bring clarity to my creative process. From art class and workshop teachers to historic landmarks and historic homes, my thanks to:

Karen O'Neil of the Art Student's League.

Leah Lopez at the New York Academy of Art.

Daily Painter Qiang Huang at his Putney, VT workshop.

Julian Merrow-Smith plein air workshop at La Madeleine in Provence.

Amawalk Friends Meeting House for access to their historic space.

The Kent CT Historical Society and Seven Hearths, the studio/home of George Laurence Nelson.

Abbey Ryan and the welcoming folks at John F. Peto Studio Museum.

Special thanks go to Todd M. Casey whose classical training and generous nature continue to amaze our little "painting posse" and improve our skills every time we get together!

And to the many friends (personal and internet) and collectors (who have become friends): Thank you for your kind comments. You help soothe those inevitable artistic frustrations and keep me moving forward. I am so very grateful to you all!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
(let's eat!)
White Munchkin & Silver Spoon ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Zen" Painting with Abbey Ryan

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Abbey Ryan's two day painting workshop. And, as if that wasn't wonderful enough, it was held at the Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, NJ!

John F. Peto, an American artist working from about 1880 to 1907, was known as a master of trompe l'oeil. His studio is complete with copper kettles and crockery featured in his "fool the eye" still life paintings. These authentic objects added an aura of artistry and creative energy to an already inspirational workshop environment.

John Peto Studio, photo by Abbey Ryan
The morning began with an introduction to Abbey's painting philosophy followed by a demonstration ...a still life including one of Peto's salt glazed mugs! It was fascinating to see the painting develop as we experienced her process.

Abbey has a light touch, holding her brush at the very end, and it's clear that she connects with her subject. Her intention is to "capture the moment" of a still life and honor the gesture of the objects. She instructs students to pay attention to the energy of the painting. A good thing to remember!

Somehow Abbey manages to paint and describe her process at the same time. We learned a great deal observing her technique and hearing explanations as she worked.

Abbey Ryan is a soulful and supportive teacher who clearly wants to help her students grow as artists. She spent time with each participant individually, identifying each person's strengths as well as offering suggestions.

Below is Abbey's completed still life featuring Peto's mug - and a burnt match, a nod to his classic subject matter which often included a pipe.

demo ©Abbey Ryan, photo Garry Kravit
In addition to thinking and talking and doing art with a lively group of like-minded artists in a renowned painter's studio... we also enjoyed the Peto Museum's annual Trompe L'oeil exhibit, currently on display.

What could be better than that?!

Well... did I mention staying in the gorgeous 600 Main Bed & Breakfast and Victorian Tea House?!! A magnificent home with leaded glass, wood paneling and period furnishings, it was built during the time Peto was painting. Just perfect for getting in the spirit of that artistic era.

Here is my first painting from Abbey Ryan's workshop. I didn't quite finish the second one but will post it when it's done.

Tea and Cream ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Patience vs Persnickety-ness

Recently I complained about my lack of patience when it comes to painting. That comment sparked "incredulous" replies suggesting I must have tons of patience, considering the level of detail in some of my paintings. In particular, this one -

Sitting Pretty, 9x12" ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

The thing is, although I love the details, it can be hard for me to stop adding them. So that's where patience comes in. I just can't believe I'm not done yet!

With so many details under scrutiny, I tend to get antsy and then I have a hard time staying focused. I'll be working on the wallpaper when I notice a part of the rug that isn't right so I have to fix that before I lose track of it. Then I'll go back to figure out where I left the wallpaper pattern, when suddenly I notice that the perspective needs correction!!! 

So I make tea. 

Why tea? It takes a few minutes to boil, a few more to steep and then I sit at my easel waiting for it to cool enough to sip. Just about the perfect length of time to refocus and reassess.

This became clear in a class with Leah Lopez at New York Academy of Art. I was having trouble deciding what was wrong with my painting. Leah told me to step back, and compare the subject to the painting to see if the area I was struggling with should be lighter or darker. I said, "lighter." Wrong. She gently (but firmly) suggested that I step farther back and give it some distance. When I still couldn't see it, she told me to leave the room! 

So I left. And when I came back it was immediately obvious that the trouble spot needed to be darker! Real distance requires time as well as space.

There is something about walking away and returning that can bring a level of clarity. Being impatient is what gets me to walk away. It's all a part of the process. 

Here is the painting framed in a beautiful plein air from San Diego Framing Company. Putting a frame around an interior scene adds a bit of mystery or intrigue, I think. It's like looking through a window into someone else's story.

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Muscoot Art Show Thanks!

It's been a month since the close of my art show at Muscoot Farm. I've finally sent off the last sold paintings and finished post-show details so I want to take a moment to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who took the time to visit the exhibit. It was such a pleasure to meet and chat with so many new art lovers and old friends!
Oilcan Gothic ©2013Dorothy Lorenze
The historic Manor House Gallery at Muscoot Farm is a beautiful space and it was the perfect setting for my show, especially since many of the paintings feature antique and  vintage objects!

People came from far and wide, so it was nice to be able to introduce them to Muscoot Farm as well!

And you never know what will happen at Muscoot. There was a film shoot for Orange Is The New Black while my paintings were on display. I got an urgent email that someone from the production was interested in two paintings!

Good news / bad news: both paintings were already sold. That's actually the bad news and the good news. It was a wonderfully successful show. Between attendees, online promotion (website, blog, facebook) and print publicity more than half the paintings sold! And I was able to make a large donation to Muscoot Farm as a percentage of sales.

Thank you to everyone who visited. For those I didn't meet, thank you for taking the time to write a note in my journal. It's truly wonderful to have so many supporters! During the past month more art enthusiasts have signed up for my blog and more than 2000 now follow my Facebook page. It means a great deal to me that so many folks are interested in spending their time viewing and  commenting on my artwork.
Please know that your kind words warm my heart ... and fire up my paint brush!

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Friday, October 24, 2014

More STUFF doesn't always mean more art

Years ago my kids were playing with their cousins, gathering odd bits of wood and old stuff to make something. In total frustration my nephew, Jon, said, "I just know I could build a real rocket if I had enough metal!!!"

I don't know about you, but I've often thought that having enough stuff meant I could do more. I guess it has to do with some form of intention, or the idea of being "ready." Or maybe it's because we come from "hunters and gatherers."

My version of Jon's frustration goes something like this:
     If I had the right workout clothes, I would exercise more...
     If I buy enough art supplies, I can be more creative...

Sound familiar? I have to remind myself that more stuff doesn't necessarily translate to more productivity. Truly, you have to "Just do it." So I'm gathering less and painting more. Although to be honest, I still enjoy the hunt for perfect still life objects. Below is the still life cupboard in my studio chock full of vintage finds and quirky crap.

Clearly, I have plenty of stuff already. The trick is to avoid that tipping point where pressure to paint each and every blessed thing in the collection brings guilt!

Still, you never know what will inspire!

Thrifty Pig & Pot ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze
Betty's Painting Book ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

This Thrifty Pig & Pot was painted for a friend featuring her whimsical, vintage objects.

Betty's Painting Book is a an original coloring book from 1917. I'm thinking it must have been a creative starting point for someone back then!

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Inner Space Inner Peace

I'm enjoying the challenge of painting interiors lately. And it just so happens that I'm also enjoying staying in a beautiful interior so that works out pretty well for me!

Below is the sitting room area of a beautiful Victorian bedroom. It's not quite finished (missing knobs on doors and drawers). Maybe some other minor tweaking but you can see where it's going.

My Victorian Vacation @2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Why do I find this so challenging? Because I need to work looser than my usual level of realism in still life paintings. So the challenge is to imply patterns rather than paint every petal of the carpets cabbage roses! In theory, that's fine because it's meant to be a glimpse into a space evoking a feeling... whether it's comfort or solitude, warmth or desolation. It's usually the light, windows or doors that begin to tell a story or create a mood. Not the actual details, like botanical prints. (I had to squint hard to not paint those herb prints!)

To remind myself that looser interiors can be beautiful, emotional and fulfilling I go back to some of my favorites, which maybe more abstracted, but just luscious with light and color. Works like these by Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard inspire me. Simply gorgeous! (well, maybe not quite so simple!)

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Édouard Vuillard's Woman Before a Window
Pierre Bonnard's Interieur



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Imagine a Roomfull of Exquisite Drawings

John Pence Gallery in San Francisco is described as "one of the premier academic realist galleries in the U.S." Their website states that the gallery is "Primarily known for its strong stable of living academic realists..." On a recent visit this was very much in evidence.

Their exhibit, Drawings, was a feast of perfect graphite images by some of the most amazing contemporary artists, including -

  Juliette Aristides        Sherrie McGraw
  Jacob Collins             Edward Minoff
  Emma Hirst               Travis Schlaht
  Jonathan Koch           Sadie Valerie
  David A. Leffel           Leah Waichulis
  Robert Liberace         Patricia Watwood

...and many more.

Below, left to right, are examples by Edward Minoff, Sadie Valerie and Carl Dobsky.

photo courtesy of John Pence Gallery

photo courtesy of John Pence Gallery
The level of detail in all these works was mind-boggling and at the same time they were exquisitely sensitive images.

To the right is "Tantrum," an expressive drawing by Luis Enrique Lantigua Dominguez, part of the exhibit and featured in an article on Drawings in Fine Art Connoisseur.

I have honestly never seen so many outstanding drawings in one place. Individually, these intricate and delicately prepared images were amazing. Taken as a whole, the exhibit was a rare tribute to the fine art of drawing, the skill that best prepares any artist. And perhaps a golfer, as I may have mentioned with tongue slightly in cheek!

In his quintessential book on the subject, The Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicolaides states "The sooner you make the first five thousand mistakes, the sooner you'll be able to correct them." Well, it's hard to imagine that these accomplished artists have made many mistakes. I'm going to take comfort in the fact that we all have a learning curve. If the way to Carnegie Hall is practice, practice, practice the way to John Pence Gallery must be drawing, drawing, drawing!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You know you're an artist when...

Well, some of the apparent signs are... the number of paintings completed ...or frequent sketching ...or the fact that all travel includes a museum visit... Still, I think it's not always easy to claim the title "artist" for oneself.

Art and creative activity have always been important to me. My profession was a graphic artist. And it goes without saying that all mothers are pretty creative by necessity. So after I left graphic design work and began to paint, I felt comfortable calling myself a painter. That seemed realistic and justifiable -  most of my clothes were paint clothes!

But painting is something you do. Artist is something you become. It's just not easy to claim it because there is always so much more to learn, more mastery to strive for. It feels a little more obvious when others recognize that it's what I'm committed to.

This week I am happily ensconced in a friend's beautiful home and very busy...helping with puppy care! But these folks know that I need to paint. They've offered lights and drop cloths in addition to a houseful of fabulous objects. So I'm thinking that maybe you know you're an artist when others get it and friends allow their lovely home to look like this for a week or so (what a lucky house guest am I!) -

In between dog walks and lots of "fetch" I did a painted sketch of some fabulous old, green glass bottles with a warm rusty, conch shell for contrast. This little study took just about an hour. Maybe a larger, more refined version will come next. Maybe not. Either way, it was a very worthwhile exercise. As much as I love details, there is something wonderful about quickly capturing the essence of still life objects. It's like being introduced to someone you just know you will enjoy spending time with. Like good friends. Thank you Janice and Peter!
Thanks for joining me on my art journey!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Feeling the muse

There's something about old things that intrigues me. It's a dangerous obsession because there's a heck of a lot of used stuff out there. Vintage, collectible or junk is in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, have a lot of rusted, dented and torn crap treasures waiting to be painted. My interest is in the telltale signs of wear and tear that indicate a well-used, or well-loved existence.

Thankfully, artist George Laurence Nelson felt the same way when he rescued the abandoned property that became his home and studio. Recently I've had the privilege of painting there. Nelson was an American painter in the early 1900s who restored Seven Hearths, a pre-Revolutionary era building in Kent, CT. Apparently Nelson was committed to authenticity and while updating his home kept some of the oldest details, preserving it's personality. In fact he "wrote the book" about Seven Hearths. Its called New Life for Old Timber and describes his restoration and love of the house and grounds. There is electricity and plumbing but not much more in the way of modern conveniences.

From heavy plank doors and multiple hearths to the crooked stairway leading to Nelson's Gallery, this house has character imbued with artistic spirit... not to mention artwork. Many of Nelson's paintings are displayed throughout the house and, as a painter, it feels like a call to action!

Seven Hearths Gallery
The Gallery room - which was previously a ballroom - is where many of Nelson's paintings are displayed. The hearth in the corner (see below) is the focus of my first painting there. It's coming along but not quite ready to share. Stay tuned!

On the right is a work-in-progress painting of the upstairs bedroom, which is set up as it might have looked during Seven Hearths time as tenant lodging. The light coming through old rippled glass windows is just amazing.

A visit to Seven Hearths is a joy for anyone who appreciates old architecture, antiques and art. The Kent Historical Society folks graciously provide thorough background and answer questions about it's storied history. It's clearly a home that has been put to good use over the centuries. Well-used and well-loved. In the end, isn't that what we want out of life?

It's been an absolute joy to paint in this artist's sanctuary

Thanks for joining me on my art journey!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


“Fresh Picks” is the title of my art show at Muscoot Farm during the month of September. The show, which opens Saturday, is also about transitions as the farmhouse layout allows ample opportunity to showcase old favorites along with my freshest picks (fingers crossed the latest dries in time!)

Transitioning from a graphic artist to full-time fine artist has been as much about attitude as aptitude. Experimentation (plein air!) has proven as important, and rewarding, as focus (conquering green) and repetition (farmers markets know me well). The works chosen for Fresh Picks represent all of the above, and it occurs to me that this show really tells the story of my painting journey over the past few years.

Earlier works focused more on color and composition in a way that still makes me smile. The celebration of pure color and light that Karen O'Neil taught at Art Students League really helped me internalize those attributes of oil paint. Here are some examples -
©2010-2012 Dorothy Lorenze

Recently I have tackled some different painting subjects, as well as a commission or two. These latest works focus more on patterns, texture and the subtle differences between objects and surfaces. I'm enjoying the nuances that differentiate - or connect - ordinary objects. The result is that these works are more intricate and possibly a bit more intimate. Well, it seems that way to me, but then I've spent a lot of time with them! Here are a few -
©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

This exhibit will include color/composition studies and plein air landscapes, as well as the more complex representational still life paintings. Prices vary, reflecting the level of detail and I hope there will be something of interest for everyone. I’m quite proud of the story these paintings tell and can’t wait to share them with you.

Join us for the opening reception on Sunday from 1-3. As an added bonus, the Muscoot farmer's market is open Sundays, too. I'm sure I'll come home with some new inspiration.

Friday, August 29, 2014

To frame or not to frame, that isn't the question

I was going to say that frames are like the icing on the cake... but really, they're more like shoes. You can get dressed up and look great, but the right shoes... well, maybe it's just me.

Anyway... I like frames. Not everyone cares to frame their artwork, preferring that it "speak for itself" and that's just fine. I'm generally happy when a painting is finished and when I add the right frame, it feels like the painting is happy too. Like it's settled in, not just another canvas with some paint on it.

So I need framing options and I have narrowed my choices to some fairly simple, but interesting, styles and a couple of wonderful sources. I'd been planning to write about custom frame sources next week, but this weekend there are some great sales on frames that are worth checking out.

Many of my paintings are living in beautiful and reasonably priced frames from Franken Frames. The company is in Tennessee and their customer service can't be beat. They will send free samples, expedite delivery if needed, have frequent sales and the owner often answers questions personally!

They also sell just about anything you might need for framing from linen liners to hardware including those soft little corner bumpers!

Here are some of my paintings framed in Franken frames -

© 2014 Dorothy Lorenze - painting at right is available at Muscoot next weekend

Franken Frames Labor Day weekend sale ends Tuesday: 25% off orders of $200 or more, 20% off orders up to $200.

Another good source for custom frames is Custom Frame Solutions. They also have a 25% off sale this weekend. Although their frames tend to be slightly more expensive, there is an excellent selection and all are well made. (Make sure you notice if the frame you choose comes assembled as some do not, but "hardware" is provided and easy to use).

Custom Frame Solutions website is well organized as you can search through wood frames by color - mahogany, walnut, maple, copper, etc. They used to offer 7" as their smallest frame side, but they are responsive to artists needs and now offer 5" sides. Since 6x 12" (Summer Heirlooms below) is one of my favorite sizes, it works for me! Daily Painters working on small paintings can now get 5x7" or 6x6" frames too.

Below are three paintings I framed in Custom Frame Solutions frames -

©2014 Dorothy Lorenze - all three will be for sale at Muscoot next weekend

Both companies have sales now and then so if your not quite ready to frame artwork or family photos you can join their mailing list to get future offers.
Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some summer paintings

It's hard to believe that the summer is practically over!

I've had a wonderfully art-focused summer including visits to galleries in Rockland, Alexandria, New York and Newport to view work by current representational painting masters like Sydney Bella Sparrow, Teresa Fischer, Adam Vinson, Justin Wood and of course, Todd M. Casey! So many exquisite paintings to examine, enjoy and be inspired by.

With the goal of having a variety of work for Muscoot in September, I've also managed to get quite a few paintings finished, which has been relaxing, rewarding and occasionally frustrating! The newest paintings of vintage flea market finds and organic farmers market offerings can be seen, up close and personal, at Muscoot Farm Gallery on weekends during September.

© 2014 Dorothy Lorenze
In addition to recent paintings there will be a selection of earlier color studies that will be available at very reasonable prices. The exhibit opens Saturday September 6th and continues on weekends from noon to 4pm during September. And if you are in the area, please join me at a simple reception on Sunday September 7th from 1-3pm. You can also visit Muscoot's Sunday Farmer's Market!

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tiny Bubbles... in the paint...

Remember Don Ho's "Tiny bubbles, in the wine.." No? Well, never mind...but, it's kind of stuck in my head working on these grapes.

Lately I've been attempting smaller, simpler paintings to add to my September exhibit at Muscoot Farm Gallery. Working on less intricate compositions should be less time intensive so hopefully the price could be lower. Maybe. So far it seems like less really is more.

Here's what happened. My "simple" composition of two objects consisted of one wedge of lime and ...thousands of tiny champagne grapes.

Simple? Maybe. Quick? Not so much.

Maintaining a commitment to representational painting, I rendered every tiny glowing globe. Confirming, as if there was any doubt, that the devil is in the details. And the way of the devil is sometimes where the most fun lies.

Champagne Grapes ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

This took awhile to finish and I was a bit worried that the grapes would ferment before it was done. Alas, no champagne for me. Although these little guys are called Champagne grapes, they are not actually used to make wine. Officially called Corinth grapes, the champagne name came from ads comparing them to champagne's tiny bubbles. These sweet, seedless grapes are also dried to make Zante currants.

And that's the "current" produce trivia. My pal Produce Pete would be proud.

(For those of you old enough to walk down a 1960s memory lane, here's a link to Tiny Bubbles. Fair warning: it's one of those inane tunes that gets stuck in your head!)

Thanks for joining me on my painting journey.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fresh Picks for Inspiration

Ah, summer Farmers Markets: an endless source of inspiration. For most people that probably means fresh ideas for healthy meals featuring local ingredients. For me, it's also about capturing colors and textures on canvas... rather than on a plate!

Purple Peppers ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze (8x10" oil on linen)

These peppers were so strikingly beautiful, I couldn't wait to paint them. Their rich, plumy, purple is striated with a delicate, celery green. Since those colors are basically opposites on the color wheel it was an interesting exercise to delicately blend without making mud. I'm slowly learning to mix more subtle gradations of hue and value to find the right color. It's a little like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"...this little pepper is too purple...! With patience, it should eventually be "just right."

Value is as important as hue and often more difficult to pin down. The grey-blue of reflected light on the shadow side of the pepper is a good example because I kept wanting it to be lighter than it really was. But I think it's working now.

Fortunately, my models were cool about my slow learning curve. They chilled in the refrigerator during painting breaks and remained fresh and glossy for the entire week it took to finish this painting.

Purple Peppers is one of several fresh produce paintings that will be included in my exhibit in the Main House Gallery at Muscoot Farm throughout September. The Gallery is open from 12-4, Saturday and Sundays only. My work will be for sale, weekends, from September 6th thru 28th.

Thanks for joining me on this painting journey.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Edward Hopper House - Artist of the Month

That would be me! July Artist of the Month at Edward Hopper House Museum Art Center in Nyack!!! Twelve of my paintings will be n exhibit!

If you've never been to the Hopper House, it's a sweet place to visit for art, art history, occasional musical events and, of course, a glimpse into the early life of American realist painter, Edward Hopper. The house was his birthplace and home for his early years and it stayed in the family, occupied by his sister through her lifetime.

Most of the home is a now gallery dedicated to promoting the arts and one room has Hopper memorabilia including some humorous sketches that illustrate the relationship he had with his wife, Josephine Nivison. Josephine was a successful artist when she met Hopper but she relegated her studio space to living quarters and abandoned her art to focus on Edward's career. (sound familiar, anyone?)

It's a fascinating story and a strong statement about the role of women in the arts. An article in The Guardian titled "Man and Muse" explains that when they met:
"Her [Josephine's] work had been shown alongside that of Modigliani and Picasso, Maurice Prendergast and Man Ray. ...Jo recommended Edward Hopper's work to the curators of that show [the Brooklyn Museum], and when they bought one of his paintings after the exhibition had ended, it was only the second he had sold in 10 years."

Supporting and promoting her husband's work became her full time occupation and she is basically responsible for his professional success. She, on the other hand, has been largely forgotten. Sigh.

Art history and gender politics aside, Nyack is a very cool town to visit for art, antiques and dining, as well as wonderful water views and beautiful old homes. So if you were thinking of a day trip this summer, why not visit Nyack in July! I hope you will stop by Edward Hopper House to see my work while you're there.

For a look at Edward Hopper's work, biography and more, follow this link to the Artsy website. 

Here are a few of the paintings that will be on exhibit:
Canning Season ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze
White Pitcher w Apricots ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze
Eeney, Meeny, Miny ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Thanks joining me on my art journey!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Painting Old Crap has it's Rewards!

Last week I wrote about my Dad on Father's Day and this week I'm sharing a painting and news that I hope would have made him proud.

My painting Fuel Fossil has been accepted to the Hudson Valley Art Association's 82nd National Annual Art Exhibit. It's the first time one of my paintings has been accepted to a national exhibition and I'm excited and honored.
Fuel Fossil ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Hudson Valley Art Association is a highly respected arts organization initially formed in 1924 by a group of New York artists meeting in the home of Jasper Cropsey, one of the first Hudson River School artists. This year the exhibit is at the beautiful Salmagundi Club, one of the oldest arts organizations in the United States. Founded in 1871, the Salmagundi Club resides in a gorgeous brownstone mansion in Greenwich Village New York; the entire building is full of art. Artists like  William Merritt Chase, Louis Comfort Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth and Childe Hassam gathered there! It's an awesome art-infused abode and an amazingly place to visit when you are in NYC.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

The gas pump in Fuel Fossil is from the apple orchard up the street. It's vintage 1950s, so it probably looks a lot like the pumps at Johnny Black's gas station in the '50s, where my Dad worked part time when his fledgling TWA schedule was rather sporadic. I can't actually remember seeing those pumps but the smell of gasoline still brings back memories of visiting my Dad at the gas station. It was always at thrill.
Go figure!

It feels a bit like balanced karma to be accepted to the Hudson Valley Art Association exhibit with a painting of a gas pump. As I mentioned in my last blog, art was not high on Dad's list of career choices. 

Oilcan Gothic ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze
 Bizarrely, another one of my "rusty" works of art, Oilcan Gothic, won Award of Excellence recently, so I'm just going to have to give credit to my Dad for inspiring my artwork, however unintentional it might have been! These paintings, I think,  Dad would have appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by to join me on m art journey. And apologies for re-posting these paintings. While the paintings are not totally new, the news it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Gift of Creative Curiosity

"You get that from your parents, right?" Usually that question is asked in reference to eye color, athletic ability, love of music or other family attribute. Sometimes the thing you get from a parent is harder to see. It requires a sideways glance.

I could envy folks who are lucky enough to be born into artistic families where the idea of making art is virtually a given. In communities like Monhegan Island artists have handed down talent, traditions and studio space to the next generation for over 100 years. Imagine having that kind of legacy!

In my family, making art wasn't seen as a particularly useful endeavor. Fun perhaps, but basically frivolous. Even so, my Dad was a very creative guy with a natural curiosity about nearly everything. He was a mechanic, a fighter pilot and airline captain, as well as a constant tinkerer and frequent inventor.
1Lt. Walter K. Byers, awarded Distinguished Flying Cross

And he could draw.
Really draw!
But that wasn't his passion. Drawing has to do with observing, and transposing three dimensions into two - which certainly helps with tinkering, creating, and inventing. For my Dad drawing was just a tool. He was skilled at illustrating ideas, but his passion was to be curious about everything.

Curiosity is the thing I got from my Dad that I believe has fueled my artistic creativity. Some pretty impressive folks have pointed out that kind of connection.

Like Albert Einstein, who said: "I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious."
Brilliant advertising exec Leo Burnett stated: "Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people."
And creative genius Leonardo da Vinci believed: "The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding."
But my favorite statement comes from Dorothy Parker: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

My Dad was never bored because there was always something to take apart, explore, rebuild or design. Artists are the same - with endless experiments in color, value, line or texture to explore. Keeping up with all the images and ideas waiting to be brought to life is what I'm sorting out these days.

I'll always be grateful to my Dad for the gift of curiosity.

Happy Father's Day

Thanks for stopping by to join me on my art journey.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Scaling Artistic "Heights" in Maine

Maine is absolutely an artist's paradise - so many great artists have painted here: Edward Hopper, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, and Winslow Homer. And that's just the H's. Let's not forget three generations of Wyeths! It's exciting, exhilarating and humbling to be among the hills, cliffs and ocean views that inspired such brilliant artists.

Spectacular views are punctuated with simple cedar shake houses. It's a throwback in time. There are no cars at all (just a few trucks) so all travel is on foot, carrying gear! We scrambled along ... and up and over ... the rocky coast. I thought I was scoping out a place to paint, but... not so much. It was hard enough to manage a camera and small sketch book. I finally settled down to draw the amazing rocks and part of the cove below.

Above Lobser Cove, Monhegan ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze
This drawing was started on site but finished later from photos - so windy on those rocks! It felt great to sketch again. While we were in Rockland we had enjoyed a gallery walk and my vertical hatching was inspired by the graphite and ink drawings of Robert Pollien whose work we admired at Dowling Walsh Gallery.

Drawing was my toe in the water, so to speak, for making art on Monhegan. Plein air is not exactly my comfort zone - give me a studio where the objects are placed just so and the light doesn't move, and I'm happy! Outdoors with blowing winds, shifting light and moving water it's a whole different ball game. I was feeling a bit timid.

No excuses. You can't turn a corner on this island without bumping into an artist, so it's pretty hard to let yourself off the hook. People are painting everywhere! There are many welcoming artist's studios, as well. I had a long chat with seascape master Don Stone in his beautiful studio. He was such a generous and encouraging gentleman. I can understand why his students think so highly of him.

Monhegan exudes art and there's a lot to take in. So, after a day of blissful wandering, I settled down to paint. Now I'm working on finishing those plein air paintings (and gaining the courage to post them!) More to come!

Thanks for stopping by to see my artwork.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Daily Painting or Painting Daily

There's an ambitious movement in the world of painting that has inspired lots of painting "hobbyists" to become more serious about their artwork. It's called A Painting a Day or Daily Painting, etc., and the idea is to commit to making a painting everyday for a specified period of time. It can be a great motivator.

The practice apparently started with Duane Keiser around 2004 when he decided to challenge himself and to maximize the internet as a marketing tool by posting (and selling!) a new painting everyday. Duane explains it in an interview in Huffington Post.

I first heard of daily painting through Carol Marine's Daily Paintworks around 2009, about the time I was trying to establish a painting discipline of my own - and totally clueless. The idea of doing a painting each and every day was intriguing, inspiring and seemingly impossible!

So I tried to paint fast and loose... and I really do like those painterly, vibrant brushstrokes... but it turns out I like the details even more!

Although I know there is great benefit to rendering quick interpretation of a scene and simplifying images, the pressure to complete a painting a day is more than I can take. And I'm never satisfied with the results. So, instead of Daily Painting, my commitment is Painting Daily.

Establishing a routine to paint daily was hard enough. I once asked Karen O'Neil how she organizes her day to paint regularly. She said, "I put my son on the bus, go for a run and then I paint." That sounds simple enough.

Now it's working for me (minus the running!) And the more time I spend at the easel the more I observe the subtleties and details that excite me in a composition and I know that's what I want to master.
©2014 Dorothy Lorenze, 9x12" oil on panel
This is Dr. Haines Petit Déjuener. (Dr. Haines is the owner of the top hat - it says so, right inside!)

I'm proud to say that after working on this painting for days, and thinking it was "done" I felt the need to refine the silver butter server and knife, and it's so much better. Maybe someday I'll get it right the first time, but for now, I'll practice patience and perseverance.

Just for fun, a close-up of the before-and-after of the butter server:
Now the silver shines, the bell is rounder and the knife lies flat. 
I'm a happy camper. And this painting is on its way to Greene Gallery in Guilford, CT.

Thanks for stopping by to view my art!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The pitfalls of painting pets

Let me begin by saying that I am not a painter of pet portraits. I truly admire those who can stay afloat in the emotional waters of commissioned portraiture. Painting loved ones, human, furry or feathered seems fraught with danger and disappointment. It will be a cold day in you-know-where when I splash in that pool.

Well, as you know, it's been a rather cold spring...

So, I said yes to a request to paint a beloved cat - that I have never met. And honestly, cats are sort of foreign creatures to me. But a wonderful photo was provided with great colors that compliment and contrast with her tiger stripes and I thought, this could be a really nice painting!

The only thing is... the cat was lying down and the photo was vertical. It just didn't feel right to paint a horizontal cat in a vertical format (and I don't know how to "leave well enough alone"). So, to fill a horizontal canvas I needed more cat. No problem. It's a cat. There are pictures all over the internet.

But none were in a similar position, or the same color... or fluffiness. Thankfully the cat's extended family surreptitiously provided other photos and important information about her white socks! So, after looking at many, many images of cats lying down, a horizontal composition evolved and I was fairly sure it wasn't a bad likeness. Not quite the same as knowing it's a good likeness.

Cougie's Quilt ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze
And this is why I paint from life. Well, from actual (but, non-living) things. You can look at all their parts and not have to imagine the shape of a handle or softness of a surface. You can see where the shadow falls or why a reflection is where it is. And if you don't like where a shadow or reflection lands, move things and change it!

To tell the truth, I really enjoyed painting this cat's sweet face. The translucency in the ears and the reddish light that glows through that thin skin were especially fun to capture. Plus, painting fluffy fur is just sort of mesmerizing!

And I'm happy to say, my friend who commissioned the painting, was very pleased with the result. Fingers crossed that the cat's family feels the same.

Thanks for visiting and viewing my art.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Painting Home Alone

Does this ever happen to you - you go to visit to friend and she says "Oh, I have a new chair, I think you should paint it." Of course, by "new" she means old and by "paint" she means on canvas.

So, like a good guest, I holed myself up in her guest room (furnished with antiques) and painted for two days. A good host knows when to let guests entertain themselves.

work in progress ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze
After two days the painting looked OK, it was coming along. Her antique chair has great lines, warm wood tones and looks well used. It was the star of the painting, but not quite looking like a soloist.

There were perspective issues that needed fixing, but the whole painting was sort of muddy and that bothered me even more. No soloist here, more like a choir with poor diction! (for my Taghkanic Chorale friends)

I try to consider the effect, or message, of a painting as I'm working. This is not so easy while focused on what objects actually look like. Individually. Making them realistic, precise and exacting. Like learning notes in the first days of rehearsal. (you've done that, right?) This painting seems to be about anticipation. Waiting for light to brighten the day, waiting for someone to visit.

chair, window, stil life
Home Alone ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze, 9x12"
Often a title comes to me early on and for this one it was Home Alone. Not the tear-up-the-house-while-the-folks-are-out sort of "home alone." It's more about aloneness, waiting for a friend, waiting for some light.

Back in my studio with that in mind, I lightened and softened the door panels for better contrast. Also accented the light on the floor, brightened the window and refined the chair. And, my favorite (and scariest) part: wood grain for the floor, which added more warmth and homeyness to this scene.

The chair might be the soloist but, now it has good support from the ensemble. Now, I think the painting sings. Hope you like it.

Thanks for visiting and viewing my art. All art work is for sale via www.dorothylorenze.com.