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.