Friday, December 30, 2016

What's Up for the New Year

They say that on your birthday if you do something close to your heart you will make more time for that precious thing throughout the year. The birth of a New Year could use a similarly meaningful start.

Rather than declaring resolutions, I like the idea of setting intentions. Name the thing that feeds your soul and then spend the year working to get closer to that.

I'm focusing on aesthetics - both physical and emotional. The physical part is easy because that's all about appreciating beauty in our world. For me that includes making artwork that aspires to being beautiful. The emotional part is a bit tougher since it has to do with how we feel and behave and I suppose it boils down to being sensitive as well as seeing sensitivity and kindness in others. Not always easy, but a good goal.

(Just thought I'd share that with you all because if I "say it out loud" it has greater "sticking power.")

And the other New Year's to-do is to make a list of tasks. Oh, you know, like... travel!

Here is list of some of my art-related tasks for 2017. There are lots of new adventures on tap already - and some actually might involve travel.
  • working on painting portraits
  • study drawing facial features
  • floral painting workshop
  • artist residency at Weir Farm
  • helping with Todd Casey's still life workshops (more info to come)
  • better internet marketing
work in progress, value study,
grisaille (value study)
One of my first tasks for the New Year is to add a works in progress page to my website highlighting steps and processes for whatever is on my easel. The first one is up now and I hope to change it a couple of times a month. Click on this LINK to take a look and check back often.

It's going to be a busy (and productive) year and I hope you are also looking forward to some new, creative challenges in 2017.

Here's to an aesthetically-pleasing, 
creative and kind New Year!
After all, the world can use more kindness and aesthetics... and possibly some ethics...

In other news...
Recently sold works include Purple Peppers and Morning Light at Seven Hearths, both sold were purchased at the Salmagundi Art Club' Thumb Box Exhibit this December.
Purple Peppers ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Morning Light at Seven Hearths ©2014 Lorenze

Thanks for joining me on my art journey. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and art lovers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Gift of Podcasts & Posts to Inspire & Inform

The support and feedback of my fellow art lovers inspires me everyday. So in the spirit of holiday giving, here are some sources of art and inspiration for you to enjoy.

Below are some of the art and marketing writings that I check out each morning as well as podcasts to listen to while painting. Most of these are free, all are worthwhile. As the artist/entrepreneur/publisher Eric Rhoads says - we should always be learning.

Podcasts can be accessed via the iPad app but you can also subscribe through iTunes or view on webpages where images and links to related subjects are available. There's a smorgasbord of art info on the world wide web. Think of these as small plates to enjoy at your leisure - don't let them eat up your time to create!
  • Gently Does It is a podcast wherein John Dalton interviews professional artists around the world discussing their work and their process as well as fears and foibles. John's interview style is down to earth, humorous, sensitive and enlightening. Links to related topics are included in his "show notes".
podcasts on art, The Studio podcast, Danny Grant
from The Studio podcast, American Sappho ©Graydon Parrish
  • Danny Grant is a classical realist painter whose podcast The Studio is a forum for interviews and discussion with other representational artists from schools like Water Street Atelier and Grand Central Academy. His webpage includes beautiful images of work by such artists as Graydon Parrish, Danny Ferland and Todd Casey. 
  • The Clark Hulings Foundation produces  The Thriving Artist where artists of various genres discuss marketing, process and project management. The Foundation provides grants to artists and the interviews follow up with grantees.
  • Your Creative Push is hosted by Youngman Brown (his pseudonym, I don't know why). Leaving aside the pseudonym question, it's a great, positive podcast that does exactly what it purports: providing a creative push to inspire artists and would-be artists to get moving. Interviews with successful artists confirm the not-so-secret reality that all artists deal with doubts, insecurities, and confidence issues.
I flip between these podcasts and a few others because each has it's own "voice" and some days I might need more energy than soulfulness. Also, some tend to be sprinkled with 4-letter words, so you might not be in the mood for that. Clear evidence that they're au naturale and not scripted ;)

Blogs or newsletters are also sources of art information and inspiration. They have the advantage of being visual so possibly more memorable for us visual types. (Of course you can't paint or drive while reading a newsletter, so there's that.) Here are a few I like to peruse.
  • Underpaintings, by Matthew Innis, is one that requires a paid subscription. Matt puts a ton of research into his newsletters so it's reasonable that he charges a little. His posts are actually mini art history lessons as well as descriptions of exhibits across the globe. He includes many beautiful images of the artwork as well. So much information! I learned about the fascinating film Tim's Vermeer through Underpaintings and recently bought a book on Emile Friant (in French, from because I was so impressed with Matt's review of the Friant exhibit.
  • Howard Rehs, of Rehs Contemporary Gallery in New York, writes Comments on the Art Market about everything from recent art discoveries to recent art scandals - plus the state of the stock market! It's thoroughly informative with a serious side and a dose of humor as needed. Rehs also has a feature called Rehsing Artists with advice for up-n-comin' artists.
  • John Weiss is an artist/author I discovered through the FASO newsletter (Fine Art Studios Online). A retired police chief, John is both an artist and a sensitive writer. His poignant art-and-life related stories are well-written, inspirational and down to earth.
  • The aforementioned Fine Art Studios Online (FASO) puts out Fine Art Views newsletter. Established by Clint Watson, FASO hosts websites for artists, provides marketing assistance and hosts the popular Bold Brush contests. Their newsletter features guest writers expounding on myriad art related topics as well as pithy advice from Clint himself.
  • Finally one of my first, and favorite, newsletters is The Painter's Keys. It was started by Robert Genn, a successful artist, gifted writer and sensitive human being. Since his death the spirit of the newsletter has been carried forward by his daughter Sara, an equally talented and sensitive writer who intersperses her publications with past issues of her father's timeless missives. Always informative, inspirational and oh-so tender reads.
    The Painter's Keys newsletter, Robert Genn blog
    Detail of Omnibus by Anders Zorn via The Painter's Keys
So there you have it - my Christmas gift to artists and art lovers. Check out a few posts or podcasts when you're in the mood to feed your creative spirit. If you have other favorites, please share.

Enjoy. And pass it on...'tis the season.

May your holidays be filled with family and all that warms your heart.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Art: the Agony and the Ecstasy

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

Thank you Kurt Vonnegut. I'm trying. And the trying leads to highs and lows. From hooray to holy sh*t in a heartbeat. And so, after getting some good art news this week, fingers crossed and ego checked, I signed up for a portrait class.
The Good. 
The good news is that I was accepted to an artist residency at Weir Farm Art Center. This means staying on site at the National Park and former home of American Impressionist Julian Alden Weir. By myself. Just painting. As luck would have it, I was given time in May and I'm looking forward to two weeks of dedicated art-making this spring!

oil portraits, studies
unfinished portrait studies
So, on that "high" I went to the portrait class. And came right back down to earth.

The Bad.
The bad news is portraiture is not still life! Capturing the nuances that make an individual unique - in oil paint - was pretty overwhelming.

old man portrait
latest portrait study
The Ugly.
They turned out to be a sour looking bunch! To be fair, the models were lovely and I feel kind of bad posting these rather ugly portraits. The following week was another exercise in humility, but things got somewhat better. It's still painful, but I'm learning.

After the portrait agony came some ecstasy: an award from Salmagundi Art Club! It feels pretty wonderful to have my painting "Sitting Pretty" be recognized by this group and I'm looking forward to drinks in the club bar to celebrate!
interior scene, oil painting
Sitting Pretty ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze

And then I tried my hand at life drawing (after many years of abstinence) and it was kind of torturous. Felt like I had never even held a pencil! Back to the drawing board. Literally. My painting practice needs more drawing. Out of the comfort zone and into the soup of insecurity. They say it's a good way to improve.

Sometimes you have to turn your habits upside down to start fresh. The Yin and Yang of life: balancing confidence and risk. A measure of each is needed to grow. Art-making is personal and egos get bruised. Hopefully as we take on challenges, we get tougher, or at least gain some perspective.
Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

In any case, it's not realistic to assume that recent successes  will predict steady forward-moving, accomplishments. In the inspirational words of Salvador Dali, Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.”

And so it goes...

Thanks for joining me on my art journey/rollercoaster.