Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Rose Petals Continued

Rose Petals by Lori Levin
This is a better picture of my painting (please see yesterday's post). Someone asked me if I actually see these colors in what I paint or do I make them up. The answer is that I really do see these colors and just push them a bit so that you can see them too. I think if we all just stopped assuming we know what we are looking at we would really see what is truly in front of us. Whenever a painting goes bad for me it is usually because I am not really seeing what is before me, instead I am just thinking about what the object is. Now, if I could only remind myself of that when things go wrong. However, then I would be perfect and nobody is perfect. :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rose Petals

Roses by Lori Levin
First...this is a LOUSY photo. I will post this again tomorrow if I can photograph it in natural light. Ok, I'm done complaining.

I don't consider myself a floral painter but I am a big fan of those who are. Georgia O'Keeffe once said she didn't see what everyone else saw in her flowers. She said her intent was not to paint sensual or sexual flowers but to show them on a scale that nobody had every seen, so that people would pay attention to them. Well, I'm here to tell you that I think she was not telling the truth. Maybe it is me but I found painting this rose to be a very sensual experience. As an artist, I must feel like I am actually touching what it is I am painting. Not only is it a visual experience but a very tactile one at the same time. I'll just leave it at that.

I have to laugh when I think of the music I listened to while painting this. Pink Floyd, Hendrix and Pearl Jam. Interesting mix for a delicate flower. Just thought I would share.

Please check back in the next day or so for a better photo of this to see the real colors.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ebay Friday #3

Spring Puppy Dog by Lori Levin
Is it Friday already? Wow...where did this week go? Well, it is that time again to show you what I will auction this Sunday night on eBay. This painting choice is unique in that it is from my private collection. I've held onto this piece for sentimental reasons and I think it is time to set it free. It is always difficult for me to say goodbye to my work and some tug at the heart a little more than others. Contact me if you would like to purchase this piece before it goes to auction.

"Spring Pup" is an oil painting on stretched canvas, 8"x10" image size, 12"x14" with the frame. It is signed 2002 by me, Lori Levin, and is ready for the wall. This is a Corgi puppy surrounded by lovely yellow forsythia. He's ready for spring and so am I. I love this piece because taking the reference photo for it was such a riot. I had 3 puppies in a basked of forsythia and none of them were cooperating. In the end, the puppies ate the flowers, pooped in the basket and would not stay still long enough to take a picture (I did not have an SLR back then). I only had 2 photos to work from out of 80 and this is the result. Looking at this piece makes me smile to this day. I hope you enjoy it too.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Zelda Cat

Cat by Lori Levin
Decided to shake things up a bit. Started 3 paintings today. Just the sketches on canvas though. This shows you how I start my paintings. I trace my working drawing (not shown) onto my burnt sienna stained canvas and then go over it with cadmium red strokes. Still have 1 to finish and 2 more ideas waiting in sketch stage. I figure with all of these pieces "haunting" me and begging to be painted I would either go mad or paint feverishly. Let's hope it is the second option. My family would tell you that I'm already nuts.

This kitty was given to an artist friend of mine. She supposedly has papers and cost a great deal on money but her owners couldn't keep her. In any case she is well loved now. Her name is Zelda...the cat that is. When I saw her, well...how could I not paint her???? Maybe I should call this "Make My Day" because she sure has a puss on her. This one probably will be sold on eBay when finished. I've had requests for some feline art...so here it comes!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Windy Wednesday

trees by Lori Levin
Here is a slightly better photo of yesterday's painting. Still, the camera is not picking up all of the yellow ochre and the greys in this piece. It is so windy outside and the sun only shows up for a few seconds, I gave up after the first few photos. What can I say...I'm a warm weather girl.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Snowy Landscape

Snowy Landscape by Lori Levin
First...let me apologize for the really bad photo. 8pm in my studio and obviously no light to photograph with. Sadly this looks nothing like the painting but I didn't want you to think I fell off the face of the earth. I will post this again tomorrow as soon as I can take a good picture of it.

"Snowy Landscape" is really called "Lonely By Your Side" in my head but I didn't want to ruin it for you. Ooops, I just did. When I saw the photo of these two trees, all I could think about was a feeling that sometimes comes over me. The feeling of being alone even though someone else is with me. This lonely feeling is actually made larger by the presence of another. Please don't send the men with straight-jackets...I can't be the only one who has ever felt this way.

Check back tomorrow for a better photo...I hope.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sunset Dock for Ebay

Oil Paintings by Lori Levin
FRIDAY!!!!! Need I say more? Actually, I think most of the weekend will be work for me but in a more relaxed fashion. However, tonight is my annual gathering of "The Fabulous Five". We are 5 gals that graduated Moore College of Art, back when computers still depended on floppy drives, that became rather close through the years. Back then I said I would NEVER use the computer for my art. I learned to never say never.

The Friday tradition here at Soulful Studios is to post my eBay auction for Sunday. Remember, if you would like to know my Buy It Now price for this, just email me before it goes to auction on Sunday night.

"Sunset Dock" is a "5"x"7" oil painting on stretched archival canvas (gallery wrap). There was a stoic quality to this bird that made me need to paint him (or her I don't know). I focused on bold shapes and extreme contrast. Sunsets by the water always give me a lonely feeling. Not in a bad way but the sense I am the only one around. Senses are heightened. I become very contemplative. I feel this painting reflects this.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Patches" Is In The House!!!!

Future Pet Portrait
Just want to say "welcome" to Patches, a 6 month old Brittany Spaniel, the new 4-legged child of my wonderful website designer, Joyce Carmeli. Joyce has been such an important part of my business and I wish her and her husband much love and joy with the addition of their new fuzzy companion.

Yes, I get rather excited about these things. I guess that is why I enjoy doing pet portraits so much. As a kid I was allergic to pets but lived with them anyway because I couldn't see living without them. Neither could my parents. So, it is just natural to feel joy when someone else welcomes a the joy of a new pet into their home.

As a side note, the Soulful Studios main website will soon be completely overhauled. Not only will the format be different but their will be a place to sign up for my up and coming quarterly newsletter for art lovers and artists. Lots to do this year folks!

Let's hear it for all you pet lovers out there!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Artist's Sketchbook

Horses Sketch by Lori Levin
Still working on the piece I showed you yesterday. It is going well. Simultaneously, I am thinking of what horse painting I will start next. I thought it would be interesting to include my thinking process so you could see how an idea develops.

This is a page right from my sketchbook. After I cleaned up my paints I sat down and knocked out this little sketch. Ok...doesn't look like much to you but it is how I think on paper. Working from some photo references I took one summer, 2 miles down the road from me, I played with this idea. At this stage it must be play, with no real consideration for accuracy or structure. The idea is to see if this pulls at my emotions enough to sustain a full painting. The sweeping marks of my pencil and eraser tells me what I want to do with the paint. The direction and the play of dark and light is what I'm after. This has promise believe it or not. Stop laughing.

I think you will see this one sketched out on a panel soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Beat Goes On

Horses and Landscape Lori Levin
No, you are not having deja vu, I am still working on this painting. I enjoy working on it but other paintings and duties come first. It is coming along and I think it will be a rather pleasant piece. None of what you see is in finished mode, however, as I said before, I am working this one differently. Usually I work the entire piece at once, not background to foreground. The foreground grasses will have to cover these horses a bit so that is why I chose to work this way.

Music is a huge part of my day. It is what drives me to work harder, faster and with more emotion. What I listen to depends on what I'm working on that day. I think I have rather eclectic tastes but I'm sure my music knowledge is limited compared to most. All I know is that performing artists are very important to my visual art. I think this is true for many of us. For this landscape about relationships (not just horses) I was listening to mostly Rachmaninoff. Don't want you to think I'm too top shelf...tomorrow I will probably listen to Nickelback! Lord!

So what's on your playlist? Give me some ideas on something new to listen to!

Oh...Happy B-Day MLK and Dad.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Horses for Ebay

Mare and Foal
Friday again!!!! That means it is time to announce my pick for this Sunday's eBay auction. The 14"x11" oil on canvas painting is simply named "Mare and Foal". Please contact me prior to auction for a "Buy It Now" price if you are interested.

"Mare and Foal" is a piece that I did when I used to run my own horse boarding and training facility. This gal and her baby were quite memorable for being a customer's horse and not one of my own. This was this mare's first baby and she was an excellent mom. Not all mares are, believe it or not. Much like people I guess. This little guy was quite large and spunky. I just loved how they would always walk with their heads in line with each other, like they were linked together, as seen in my painting. I also liked that she was an old retired race horse and he was a loudly colored paint. It was a nice contrast.

Oh...Chopper (see previous post) is doing much better. Thank you everyone who sent an email of hope and prayer. It seems he has Lyme's disease. Along with this it also seems they might have missed worms that they tested for. The combination made his blood sample look grim. So, I'll keep crossing my fingers! Thanks again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Prayer for Chopper

Just a quick post to ask my friends out there to say a little prayer for Chopper.

Chopper is an American Bulldog my cousin adopted from a local American Bulldog rescue. Karol(my cousin) adopted a female of the same breed through the same rescue last year. Last month, when she was checking out their website for breed info she saw his picture and just had to bring him home. He is so sweet and kind and gets along perfectly with her 3 year old daughter, the other dog Shelby and is terrified of their little old cat.

Chopper came to her very thin and in poor condition because supposedly he had been very depressed in the shelter. Sadly this is not the case. Well, as she tried to put weight on him he continually lost weight and started having accidents in the house. Frustrated and concerned, Karol took him to the vet for tests. Results are inconclusive at this point but he either has some sort of pacreatic disorder or cancer.

The rescue has offered to pay for his expenses and even take him back. She has only had him less than a month, however, in that time he has become part of the family and is loved by all. Everyone in her household is heartbroken.

So, please say a prayer for Chopper, maybe it will help. He is all I can think about today. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Here is the final painting of "The Medicine Man" a.k.a. "Mr. Forbes". This is an example of spontaneous painting. It requires intense concentration, focus and stamina. These types of painting are some of my favorites but I must admit they exhaust me the most.

As my brush moved as fast as it could so that I wouldn't lose my rhythm, my mind flashed back to choices I have made in my life. The image of this man brought this out because he reminded me of some of the people I met in the British West Indies while staying at my parent's island home. Yes, lucky me...my parents had a home in the tropics. Stupid me really. My father, back in the 80's, offered me a chance to live there so that I could paint the beautiful blue sky and turquoise water. I turned him down because I was "in love". Sigh.

Well, my father has since passed away, the house has been sold and I am single again. Do the lines in my face show this journey as I mentioned in yesterday's post? Probably. At first I looked at this sadly, full of regret. Now, I realize everything has its season (ok...a little melancholy). I never would have been able to paint "Mr. Forbes" with the passion I did if I had not lived my life just as I have. My journey has brought me right here, right now, just like this. Not so bad. However, the next time somebody offers me a chance to live on a tropical island so I can paint pretty pictures....I'M OUTTA HERE! Live and learn. :)

Monday, January 09, 2006

What Does Your Face Say?

Portrait by Lori Levin
Plastic surgery seems to be the way to go these days right? We all want to look younger and more attractive. Removing every line, wrinkle and blemish is considered beautiful, at least in the media. I must admit, I too am guilty of looking in the mirror and balking at the fine lines, that aren't so fine anymore, gracing my rather young face. However, today I painted a picture of a man that challenges my thinking.

This painting in progress is a tribute to a "medicine man" on a little island in the Bahamas. The photo was offered as a subject for painting to the community of artists I am a member of on the internet. I was so drawn to this man's image, I just had to paint him. He reminded me of people I have met in my life that have "wisdom" written all over their face. Every crease and crevice screams, "I have lived!" To remove any of these character defining lines would kill the very image that I saw as beautiful.

So this makes me wonder, what does my face say? Has age made me look wiser or just older? Do I look as though I have a story to tell worth listening to? As the years go by will I look tired or like I've lived a life of exciting experiences? Is it just your DNA that decides how you will look or is it the roads you have walked that create the image of knowledge?

I will finish this painting, photograph it in daylight and post it at another time so you can really see what it looks like. Until I do I challenge you to take a moment and look in the mirror and wonder...what does your face say? Let me know.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Red Impatiens

Red Impatiens Today's weather was such a joy for a January day. It was warm enough to walk around outside without a heavy coat. I even saw a few dandelions sprouting up in the pastures. Yes, I had to go out to the farm again today to ride. How could I possibly pass up an afternoon with my Dandy on a day like today! He was feeling good too and acted quite spunky. I rather like him that way.

In keeping with this break from winter, I decided to auction a piece this evening that was painted in the heat of the summer. I remember the day well. Using my new French easel given to me by my mother's friend, I set up shop on the patio in front of a pot of gorgeous red impatiens. The little boy next door kept climbing up on the fence asking me what I was doing. He wanted to know if I was "copying" the flowers. I had to laugh because copying is exactly what I did NOT want to do. My goal is for you to be able to smell the humidity in the air when you see the painting and feel the urgency I felt to capture everything quickly before the mosquitoes ate me alive or I had a sunburn. A Kodak photo was not what I was going for. Some days though, I guess I would settle for copying like the kid said.

So please visit my eBay auction for "Red Impatiens". Maybe it will remind you of a special day in the sun to help you beat the winter blues.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Earlier today I posted a picture of what I will sell in my next eBay auction. Well, a previous customer just viewed it and purchased it so this painting is no longer for sale.

I will still have a new auction on Sunday but it will not be "Spice Kitten". I will let you know what that will be before I auction!

Once again...have a great weekend.

New Friday Tradition

Spice Kitten by Lori Levin
I decided to start a new Friday tradition here at Soulful Studios. Every Friday I am going to try to give you a preview of what I will list for sale on eBay on Sunday night. These usually are my smaller pieces. Either drawings or oil studies or recent experiments. The materials are always top quality but these are generally not works in a series so I can sell these at a lower price.

This week's eBay painting is named "Spice Kitten". No Spice Girls jokes please (though I guess I set myself up for that). The colors and attitude of this kitty remind me of not only being spicy but actual hot spices themselves, hence the name. The reference was from a recent challenge on an online artists' community. It is 5"x7" oil on canvas. I have to say it was very spontaneous and lots of fun to do. Let's hope it finds a home!

I wish everyone a great weekend. I am surprisingly praying for some snow. I would like to do a series of seasonal works however, I need some snow scenes! When the snow finally does get here remind me that I asked for it because I will be sure to complain.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Alizarin Crimson

Horses by Artist Lori Levin
Today's studio time was spent on marketing once again and some planning for future painting. I try never to let a day go by without creating, sketching or painting. This day was no different. I saved a few hours to work on the piece I showed in yesterday's blog entry.

I'll start by saying that because most of the day was not spent making art I figured I wouldn't get too dirty. At least three hours were spent painting 3 tiny little 3 inch horses. What made me think that because they were small it would take me less time? It actually took more time because each stroke counted that much more. I went with the school of thought that says don't put the brush to the surface unless it is the right stroke. Well, I accomplished this but it certainly didn't save any time. However, each stroke was satisfying and exciting.

Now, I'll end by saying that when I looked in the mirror expecting to see a clean face I was surprised by the bright red/pink smears all over it. Alizarin Crimson. A very staining color at that. I bet you wish I took a photo of that instead. Sorry...my dog Gracie (see yesterday's post) couldn't figure out how to work the camera.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Dog's Life

Hores Landscape by Artist Lori Levin
Yesterday I completed a painting that sat around unfinished for too long. Today I thought I would attack another one. So I pulled out a 24"x12" panel that had been started with a loose landscape and another horse love story. As you can see here it is still very much in the beginning stages. This one is unique in that I was working background to foreground. Usually I work the entire surface at once. This is another one where there is an underlying relationship issue with the horses that I prefer not to spell out too much. Yes, I am always guilty of anthropomorphic comments on my subjects. However, if you know anything about horses you know that their relationships are very important to them. A little secret is I tend to play out some of my relationships in my art and use the horses as the players. Enough said.

While I was busy at work, my dog Gracie was...well...not busy at work. As you can see the photo I took of her disturbed her slumber. Even though it is quite warm in my studio she still likes to curl up tighter than a cat. If she isn't curled up she is barking at me trying to get me to notice her. She is a real beast. We all should enjoy a life like this dog. Maybe I should do a pet portrait of her?! Let's face it, the shoemaker's kids will never have shoes.
Future Pet Portrait

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Love Triangle - A Horse's Tale

Horses by artist Lori Levin
Finally! This painting sat around for weeks only half finished. Today it is pretty much complete minus a touch up here and there and the signature. I never sign anything the day I "finish" for at least a few days so it can "marinate" and I can later look at it with fresh eyes. It keeps me from over-working and over-thinking my art.

"Love Triangle", oil on panel, 12"x9", is an image based off of a series of photos I took a few years ago of some "rough stock" for the local rodeo. Yes...there is a rodeo in New Jersey believe it or not. I used to live two miles away from the pastures where the bucking horses and other stock were kept. These three were always together. The gruella in the back always was trying to get in on the action but never did seem to succeed.

The funny thing about this painting is that for as simple of a piece it is, I had to start it from scratch 3 times before I could work towards the finish. I started it in the beginning of December only to wipe the panel clean twice. 16 hours of work taken off in seconds with a towel. Sigh. I was in a funk, I couldn't paint my way out of a box let alone the likeness of three horses. The "Art Fairies" had temporarily left me. So, I set it aside and came back to it when the funk was over. I wanted to keep it painterly and have it tell its own story without explaining too much. I believe I will do a few pieces like this and save them for the galleries instead of putting them on eBay. Perhaps these will be made into prints as well. Let's just hope the others don't require the use of that towel!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays Not Getting Me Down

Such a grey Monday and the rain just keeps on coming but inside my studio the sun is shining. Don't hate me because I'm happy because there are days that I am not. However, today is bright despite the lack of sun. Why? First, my eBay auction that ends tomorrow has a bid. This is a repeat buyer...that's a great thing. Second, my horse's eye (the horse in my profile picture) looks really good since his last little infection. Third, I can still walk after today's tough workout.

Today's image is a drawing I did that I am currently selling on eBay. It inspired a later painting that sold on eBay on my birthday. I love this image because of how much I knew this man loved his horse. He is not someone I know well but I knew him enough to know about the bond between him and his equine. That is why I love doing pet portraits. The relationship people have with their four-legged companions always touches me. People glow when they talk about their animals. That is what I like to capture in my animal portrait.

When I'm done my post I will work on a painting of 3 horses I started a few weeks ago. Never had the chance to finish it. Perhaps by this time tomorrow it will be done. That probably will be tomorrow's image. Stay tuned and find out!