November 9, 2018

living the life I imagined

I have always known I was an artist. Since I was very, very young I knew! If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always say "an artist". I really didn't want to do anything else. I spent every extra hour sketching and painting and creating and I always received such positive feedback from everyone! Well, opportunity changed in drastic ways once it was time to decide to go off to college and begin the artist life I was destined for. Let's just say things didn't quite turn out like I had assumed.

Fast forward thirty-plus years after a lifetime of friendships, working as a nurse, having 2 children and raising them as a single parent, quitting everything and putting myself through school for graphic design, working in the field for many years and then one day telling myself "Lorrie, it's time you follow your dreams and work as an independent visual and design artist for a living". Not, 'do a project, event, or creative job here and there', but full-time, all day, every day! It was finally time to follow that dream I would build and create in my mind during all of those years where something else always came first.

This year has been quite an eye opener with everything that is happening in our country. Very concerning for sure! It really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? As we witness so much ugliness, hatred, verbal bullying and chastising, vulgar prejudices and one senseless tragedy after another it becomes acutely aware that it is time to live your life right NOW! Do not wait until tomorrow!

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”
Proverb 27:1

I love this ride I am on now, following that dream I had all the way back to when I was a little girl. Living my professional life as a full time independent artist! It's never too late you know! I mean Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't write and publish her first Little House book until she was 65!!

Maybe now is your time, too!

September 4, 2018

diy: build your own light box

I have needed a photo light box for quite some time now. Actually, much too long especially now as I am taking my work more serious, and since it has been raining almost non-stop lately here in Florida, well, that has now forced me into full buy it or make it mode! So let me explain...

I have been using my backyard as my photography studio so I can optimize the most perfect lighting that I have available to me at this time. My indoor space & studio just does not have ample enough natural light or the space to maneuver it. Of course, even outdoors, the perfect lighting window of time is very limited each day and even more-so when it's raining. 

So, I usually drag a table or stool outside to the backyard during that golden hour for photography and take several trips back and forth to collect all the supplies and art I will need for my little photoshoot set-up. I will admit it can get pretty challenging and even comical, at times. Such as when my back was turned and the neighbor's cat decided to jump onto my display bringing everything crashing down into the grass, or when a gust of wind decided to explode into the yard unannounced and scatter small pieces of art everywhere, or recently when it's sunny one minute and the next I am screaming at the top of my lungs in full panic-mode for the kids to come out and help "save the artwork" as rain comes pouring down. Welcome to Florida.

So, yeah, it's time for a light box!!

Anyone who knows me also knows that if it's an option, I will most often make it rather than buy it. There are a lot of tutorials out there for building one of these using everything from a cardboard box to pvc piping. The important thing for me was function, storage, durability and if possible, I wanted to use what I had on hand! 

My motto is and always will be

As I searched throughout my studio and garage, I knew a cardboard box just wasn't going to be sustainable for me. I wanted something that would LAST and would be easy to store away, too!

The one thing I do have available as an artist is tons and tons of student-grade, back-stapled canvases that I use to teach with or try out new techniques and so on, and I realized the wood frames would work perfectly! If you don't have these just laying around like I do, you can get these at your local craft store for just a few dollars. They are generally very inexpensive.

So let's get started....

Three 16"x20" Student-Grade, Back-Stapled, Stretched Artist Canvas (used or new) can use larger sized canvas also (I do believe that will be in my future, too)
Foam Core/Board
Poster Board, White (choose according to what you will be photographing)
15" or larger Parchment Paper
Two 8.5" or larger Utility Clamp Work Lights with Aluminum Reflector
Two Natural Daylight CFL Bulb's (Compact Fluorescent Light not LED)
4 Large Binder Clips
Duck Tape
Clear Package Tape or glue
Utility Knife, Scissors

First you will need to strip the canvas material off the wood frames using a utility knife. You can remove the staples that remain on the backside and sand the wood lightly.

Now it is time for construction. I thought I had some hinges in my toolbox and would have preferred that, but just couldn't find them, so duck tape was used instead. Laying two frames side by side joined at the 16" side, tape them together. Then 'fold' them into each other, like a book, taping the backside of the fold. Remember you want each side to fold inward eventually like a box, so make certain you are not taping both sides flat. Then, tape the remaining frame to one of the 16" sides.

The openings now need to be covered with a white material that will help diffuse the light coming from the lamps onto the item being photographed. There are a lot of options out there suggesting what to use, such as tissue paper and even old bedsheets. I decided parchment paper was my best option, I had it on hand, and it would have a bit more durability in the end. Cut three pieces that cover the openings of the frame and then glue or tape them down. I used clear packing tape.

We're almost there! Just a few more steps to go.....

Next you will need to cut a piece of foam core/board the size of the squared opening that remains at the top once it's set up (19.5"x20" for mine) and using 4 large binder clips, 2 at the back, and one at each front corner, you can sit the foam on top of one of the handles of each clip. There is also an option of creating a wood plank for the top with a cut-out circle in the middle so you can take photos from above, but I will show that construction at a later time.

The construction is basically done at this point, except for the lights and the backdrop.


The lighting I use are a pair of 8.5" utility clamp work lights with aluminum reflector (you can find these for under $10 almost anywhere) and most important, the bulbs should be a Natural Daylight CFL - compact fluorescent light (not LED). I clamp my lights onto a couple blocks of wood I had laying around.


There are a lot of different options for the backdrop. Generally, I prefer an infinity curve backdrop so I get an ultra-smooth background with no corners or angles and since it doesn't have any corners, shadows won't gather in the background.

An easy and inexpensive option for this sized light box is poster board and it comes in a wide range of colors and prints. I love the faux wood planks poster board I found and can't wait to use it. Hang your backdrop from the 2 binder clips in the back, letting it curve down so it lays on top of the table and you are ready to photograph your product!!

August 29, 2018

insects and botanicals: bee

My studio is filled to the brim with years of collecting surface substrates in every imaginable material and size just waiting for its due transformation! Many times I have found these fantastic 'canvases' in the bottoms of bins, at garage sales, on the side of the road, or end of season sales and often they aren't even intended to be used as a canvas at all. My family and friends can attest to this crazy obsession of mine, and although they don't always see my vision at the time, once I do my thing I usually get the thumbs up. 

When I found these smaller blocks of wood at an end of season sale, they had little mass-produced messages printed on them....but I LOVED the wood. The wood was real. The color of the wood was a-ma-zing! And let's just say they were marked way, way. way down!! Ultimately, they came home with me, the messages were sanded off, and there they sat waiting their turn for transformation.

Late the other night I decided to grab one and just try something a little different. I really didn't want to add color this time and kept the palette black and white to allow the wood grains and tones to dominate. 

I honestly didn't have a plan in place (which is more often than not the case in my creative world) but once I began, it came together perfectly. I love, love, love how the ink and paint stained the wood, and once the illustration was designed it gave it a bit of a retro-grunge feel.!

I can't wait to do another! and another!! 

Looks like a new series has now been birthed for these remaining blocks of wood: Insects and Botanicals. Stay tuned for more!

August 27, 2018

the message of the spirit owl

Spirit Owl - 8x10 - Wood Canvas, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish
 "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire!" -Unknown

As I had a few weeks of health issues recently, I ended up with quite a bit of quiet time in my world. And it got very quiet around here. So very quiet!

It's funny really, when we beg for some 'quiet time' in our lives, to just be left alone for a little while, and then, all of a sudden when it arrives, you realize how precious your life is with all of the chaos and interruptions and friends and family. It was good though. It was.

It gave me a chance to have some serious heart to heart, uninterrupted conversations with God. It gave me opportunity to step back and just breathe and rest. And it gave me moments to clear my mind and allow inspiration to come forth like a firestorm. I came to realize I cannot just sequester these ideas and pursuits away, especially when fed by fear. There is no room for fear in my life!

I am so thankful for the quiet time and even more thankful for the chaos! I am definitely thankful for the chaos! And I love this sweet little forest creature born in the midst of it all. A strong and beautiful spirit owl filled with wisdom and intuition. And when his spirit guides you, you can see your true reality, all while offering guidance to explore your unknown and the magic of life.


August 9, 2018


Blue - Approx. 5x4.5x0.5 - Wood slice, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish
 “The bluebird carries the sky on his back” Henry David Thoreau

As many times as I try to use more subtle colors when I create, I often find myself these days drawn back to the vibrant color family of blue. It's ironic really because growing up, I hated blue! I mean really hated it. It's actually my birthstone, Sapphire, and I received a lot of gifts surrounded by the color blue or my birthstone. A lot! I thought it was dull and blah! I was jealous of my sister and her green Emerald! I mean, wow! LOL

Too funny because I wear a lot from the blue family, my home is decorated with a lot from the blue family, and I have created a LOT of artwork where blue and all of it's relatives are a big part. I am not sure what changed other than my love affair with earth. Whatever the reason, blues and greens and everything in between, make me smile!

August 8, 2018

let's sleep under the stars

Let's Sleep Under The Stars - Approx. 4.5x4x0.5 - Wood slice, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish

Lately, I have been dreaming of the stars and camping and fresh air! I haven't pitched a tent in a bit too long and I look forward to much cooler weather so we can escape and sleep under the stars. There is nothing better!

These little wood slice rounds I had in my studio were a perfect earthy canvas to paint that dream. It can be hung on the wall, or hung as an ornament, or even sitting on a shelf or desk. It makes a fabulous gift for that camping lover in your life, too!!

When life gets busy and you need an escape, it may be time to sleep under the stars!

July 30, 2018

snow owl and hexagons

Snow Owl and Hexagons - 10x10 - Wood Canvas, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink, Gold Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish

I had such an amazing response with the other owl that I did, so I figured why not? Let's do another owl! and oh, how I love him!!

I have always loved snow owls and really wanted to experiment this time. I kept seeing earthy, earthy colors but really wanted to find a way to incorporate some unexpected bright and trendy color combinations without being too overpowering to the snow owl. And then hexagons showed up over and over in my thoughts, so hexagons it was! Using both watercolors and gouache provided me the opportunity to maximize the transparency of the watercolor, especially for the background and hexagons, and the opaque qualities of the gouache for the snow owl. Once the black ink was discreetly added to enhance details, I was in heaven!! The response and requests were overwhelming and it was another "ah ha" moment for me, for sure!

I do love this new process and believe I will be creating a few more owls. 💛

July 25, 2018

carpe diem and a bird

Bird and Berries / Carpe Diem - 6x6 - Wood Canvas, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish

These smaller sized canvases make a huge impact! Perfect for a tiny space on the wall, or perfect on a tabletop, too. I don't have too many in this size, but I am positive I will buy more soon.

Well, maybe not too soon. I just may have to take a photo of the stacks and stacks of canvas in my studio already, wood and linen. PLENTY to keep me busy for a while.

July 24, 2018

owl with botanicals

SOLD Owl with Botanicals - 8x8 - Wood Canvas, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish

I love owls! I mean who doesn't? Right? So obviously that was where I headed first in my new wood canvas addiction.

I love how the watercolors took to the grain of the wood for the background. The entire piece has such a modern but earthy feel and I just love it. 

July 23, 2018

botanical no.1 on wood slice

Botanical No.1 on Wood Slice - Approx. 11x12.5x1 - Wood slice, Watercolor, Gouache, Ink. Sealed w/ UV Satin Varnish.
I have always loved wood and all its characteristics. The different colors and tones, the growth rings and knots, the organic beauty of each and every piece. Probably because I have such a serious love affair with trees and mother nature as a whole! Swoon!!

Over the years I have been drawn to wood as my artistic canvas over and over again. Everything from building from it to wood burning to carving to painting on and even drawing on wood surfaces with colored pencils. It is an amazing surface to express your artistic talents! Recently, I committed to myself to using supplies (mainly so I wouldn't buy any more art supplies lol) and inspiration that already lives in my studio and in my life. I had a naked wood slice in my stack of studio supplies and well, the rest is history!! I was once again addicted to working on a wood canvas.

This time I wanted to try something different and incorporate watercolors or gouache and possibly ink as my medium. I wasn't quite sure how it would absorb or expand once water was introduced, and whether to 'prepare' the wood before or after or in-between stages, but I figured it out and now I can't stop. I have several pieces completed since finishing this Botanical and I'll post the other pieces here over the next few days. Botanical's have always been a favorite inspiration for me but, hint hint, owls have also found their way into this love affair I am having. I love all of the feedback and purchase requests I have already received on Instagram or Facebook so I think I will be lingering here in wood canvas world for a while.

July 20, 2018

the story of chromosome X

So very much can happen in a months' time! And how amazing it can be!

'The Story of Chromosome X'  36x36 | Vintage Ephemera, Graphite, Acrylic, Ink, Colored Pencils, Pastels, Gold Leaf

Unexpectedly, and a bit last minute, I decided to submit a painting to Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center's 10th Annual juried exhibition "X". SBDAC invited the artists to interpret the symbol X to honor their 10th anniversary season for the month of June.

Once committed, I still had to figure out my interpretation of the symbol X.

I stared at my blank canvas for a couple weeks waiting for it to speak to me. Nothing. Then more nothing. It continued to stare at me and still nothing. I only knew my daughter would be the subject. But how on earth does that interpret the symbol X?

And day, out of the blue, like an explosion or the excitement of Christmas morning, Chromosome X was born! Of course I had to double check and look up Chromosome X and Chromosome Y to 'just make sure which was which'......just in case I didn't pay close enough attention in Middle School Biology. LOL. Whew! It was all good! I was on the right track.

....and so it began. I didn't know anything at that point other than using my beautiful daughter as my muse and using an element of all the techniques and mediums I am forever drawn to.

The painting was essentially intuitive. I had no real plan. No sketches. No idea. I didn't see the final piece in my head. I let the painting tell me the story. The Story of Chromosome X. The beginning when God created woman. The love songs. The definition. The beauty of a woman.

I loved every part of this painting adventure including receiving the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center's Choice Award! Such an honor! And surprise! I overheard and was told such amazing compliments and "WOW's" from the Center and the public and fellow artists. I am honored.

It filled my heart & soul and affirmed once again, the path I am on as an artist!!

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center 10th Annual Juried Exhibition 'X' Choice Award 2018

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