Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happiness and trepidation

Earlier this month I had the honor of receiving Best in Show at a Putnam Arts Council exhibit for my painting Cabinet of Basketry. It was my first "best in show" but the honor was tempered by concern for the subject of the painting.
antique cupboard, dusty blue paint, baskets
Cabinet of Basketry ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze

This painting shows the interior of a colonial house that was moved to California wine country and lovingly restored and rebuilt on a mountainside vineyard... which last month was surrounded by raging fires. The house belongs to a friend of a friend and when we visited, I fell in love with the place. Each room is a gem, with intimate nooks and crannies full of authentic antiques and furnishings. I was thrilled to be able to take photos for future paintings.

Then, for a very long week, voracious California fires approached the area. Looking at maps and reports it was impossible to tell if the house had been spared, but I'm happy to say that all is well. The home owner and her critters were safely evacuated and the house survived!

The fires were devastating and heartbreaking for so many, so it's wonderful to be able to report this happy outcome.

In other good news, two of my paintings, Gentleman Caller and If Wishes Were Horses sold after a collector in Colorado saw my work in Southwest Art magazine, which led him to check out my website! Many thanks to this new curious collector, to Southwest Art and to American Women Artists because receiving an award in their online exhibit is how my work was brought to the attention of Southwest Art.

Everything's connected on the internet!

Gentleman Caller ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
If Wishes Were Horses ©2017 Lorenze
And lastly, I participated in an exhibition at the Carriage Barn Art Center in Darien, CT which was a benefit for the Alzheimers Association of CT. I'm happy to say both of my paintings sold, supporting a cause that is especially important to me since my mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimers. 

Daffodil Launch ©2017 Lorenze
Ranunculus in Crystal ©2017 Lorenze
Thanks to all for your encouragement and kind comments. I hope to have more new work to show soon. Plus, there are a few art adventures coming up, so more on those later.

Happy Halloween!

Hope your day is full of treats!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Loss and creativity

Dear Friends,

As you know, this newsletter/blog is where I write about art, what inspires me, my painting process, upcoming events and all things art-wise. And although it’s not so much about family, sometimes that’s inescapable. I will try to stay focused on the art-side of life.

For most artists creativity seems to ebb and flow rather rhythmically and we know how to reignite the creative fire when it smolders. Sometimes it’s only a matter of going through the motions and being in your creative space to get back into that rhythm. Generally speaking I’m pretty good at staying fired up about my next art adventure. Right now, it’s so much harder.

My mother very recently died at the age of 93, and although losing her was not unexpected it has been unfathomable. I have written about my mother’s creative influence in the past, but what I will miss most is her laughter and her insights about humankind – as sarcastic as they often were!

Mom sharing her wisdom

So, I just have to say that it’s been a bit difficult to paint lately. Especially because I’m working on a personal subject, my first attempt at a "vanitas" painting. And vanitas paintings are a classic genre that, through symbolic elements, reminds us of the fragility of life. My composition is focused on the stages of life for a woman. Of course, since the references are my own, it centers on my mother. Although started months ago, it’s taken on a greater significance now. I hope I can do it justice.

Just setting up the composition and deciding what to include took a very long time. I must have photographed 10 or more variations of the elements – gathered, arranged and rearranged over many weeks - trying to make a decision.

So far I have drawn the “final” version three times and transferred it twice. I’ve completed the poster study and begun the 16 x 20” painting... which is going very slowly.

This is the small 5x6” poster study. It's a sort of trial run to check out composition and values. (symbolically the pocket watch, snuffed candle, antique doll's head, 1950s gloves, pearls, vintage photos, etc., all allude to the passage of time ... and relate to my mother's life)

vintage dolls head, old gloves, pocket watch
It’s a complex painting made more challenging by my current state of creative inertia. I've had some help easing into painting practice since a group gathers in my studio creating color wheels with Todd Casey each week. We compare pigments by various brands, make charts and totally geek out on color, mixing gradations of hue, value and chroma. It’s a meditative process with a fine bunch of fun, funny and determined painters. And it's been a perfect way to keep my hand in the paint these days.

There is good news to share, as well. Some weeks ago I was interviewed by Southwest Art magazine for their feature “Artists to Watch." I was a bit anxious leading into the interview, not knowing quite what to say. Fortunately their editor, Kim Agricola, asked interesting questions about my process and my subjects. She made me comfortable and there was a lot of laughter. You can read the article online... or pick up the October issue of Southwest Art at Barnes & Noble, it's full of inspirational artwork.
artists to watch, still life painter, dorothy lorenze
"Artists to Watch" in Southwest Art magazine, October 2017
Being professionally interviewed about my artwork: that's a first for me. I think my mother would have been proud.

As always, thank you for joining me on my art journey... and my sincere appreciation for all your kind words of sympathy and support.