Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Go for the gusto... and wine, and art!

You know what they say, "life is short" so...

photo credit: The-Artists-Room-Fine-Art-Gallery
This Friday you can do at least two outta three at a wine tasting and meet the artist event at Cellar XV in Ridgefield, CT (the artist is me).


The folks at Cellar XV know their stuff when it comes to wine, selecting well-priced artisan wines from around the world and this Friday you can enjoy tastes of special selections from 6-8. I'll be there as well, enjoying libations and talking with guests about my paintings and art focus.

Coincidentally, one of the paintings that will be hanging at Cellar XV is a local artisanal cheese. Wine and cheese: goes together, right?!

This cheese is called Amram, named after musician David Amram. It's a semi-creamy, semi-stinky but totally flavorsome cheese and you can read more about the Amram connection in an earlier post here.

I hope you will stop by to learn about wonderful, affordable wines and chat about art!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Filling in the details... on the right track

There are some lovely old store fronts in France and this one in Avignon is positively eye-catching. It's actually a sweet shop chain that can be found throughout Europe (now also in Le District in lower Manhattan) and it's a memorable image of Europe for travelers to France and beyond.

La Cure Gourmande ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze
I started painting this two years ago when I returned from a workshop in Provence. But after laying out the basic forms and blocking in some color I had set this canvas aside. To be honest, the details were just too daunting. It's been mocking me ever since.

So, armed with Pandora stations on my ipad to ward off impatience, I set upon a marathon painting spree this Labor (of love) Day weekend.

Classical music was my first choice since it  helps me slow down and connect to the work. But after a couple of long days I switched to Broadway tunes to keep me going. Pippin in particular - and the song that rumbled in my head as I persevered with lettering and louvered shutters was "On the right track."

Later, listening to the same Pandora station in the car, I actually focused on the words and had to laugh:

You look frenzied, you look frazzled
Peaked as any alp
Flushed and rushed and razzle-dazzled
Dry your lips, damp your scalp
Now I can see you're in a rut in
And I'm not one to butt in
But in fact I must say
If you'd take it easy, trust awhile
Don't look blue, don't look back
You'll pull through in just awhile
'Cause you're on the right track

This is now my "go-to" anthem for painting cobblestones and all those details that make you want to scream... and quit! Turns out one of Pippin's themes is to get in there, keep working on the thing that feels worthwhile and eventually be fulfilled. Really.

The sweet inner sanctum of La Cure Gourmande
So, with the help of Broadway show tunes, "La Cure Gourmande" will be part of "A Bygone Era... in Oils" at Ruth Keeler Library in North Salem this month. And that's perfect because the company says they create sweets "inspired by a blend of tradition and magic...[that] reflect emotions and memories."

Once again, a nostalgia connection. Guess that means that eating cookies makes us more human too.
(That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!)

Thanks for joining me on my art journey.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Paintings inspired by an elegant era

The Happy Couple ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze
A Bygone Era... in Oils is the title of my current solo show in North Salem. Maybe it's the Downton Abbey wannabe in me, but I like old homes and their decorative furnishings. Over time my studio has taken on a near museum-like quality, full of the vintage china, silver, books, and textiles from days gone by that I enjoy painting for their richness and evocative, nostalgic nature. Well, I guess it's not literally "nostalgia" since I never lived in the Victorian-Edwardian age, but you get it, right?

Some folks think nostalgia is for the staid and sentimental. If that's so, you've got to wonder why Downton Abbey is such a hit. Elegance envy? Snooping on society muckety mucks?

At the Opera ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze
For me, it's the degree of artistry intrinsic to everyday objects of an earlier age. Decorative, vintage accoutrements are more interesting to paint! Depression glass refrigerator dishes or Tupperware? You be the judge. Taste aside, it turns out there is scientific evidence for why nostalgia is good for us.

When Dr. Constantine Sedikides was told by a psychologist friend that his wistful nostalgia for a former home meant he was depressed (the heretofore official association with nostalgia), he disagreed saying, “...Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships.”

So he decided to study how nostalgia really effects feelings and determined that it, "...counteract[s] loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders." His overriding conclusion is, "nostalgia makes us a bit more human." Not a bad goal! (See the New York Times article "What is Nostalgia Good For.")

So, go ahead, be a bit more human. And you can indulge in the art of nostalgia by visiting A Bygone Era... in Oils at the Ruth Keeler Library in North Salem. This exhibition of my latest paintings includes interiors of gracious spaces (Seven Hearths, artist George Lawrence Nelson's studio; a historic Greek Revival stone house and a private home in San Francisco's elegant Pacific Heights) as well as some favorite vintage-yet-familar objects.
The exhibit continues through September 29th during regular library hours (closed for Labor Day 9-5 to 9-7). A few paintings are currently on display in other shows and will be added on September 8th. Stop by to take a look or join us at the reception 3-5pm on Sunday, September 13th. Hope to See you there!
Thanks for joining me on my art journey!