Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What Awaits

graphite bull rider
Explaining my art is something that I don't often do. I believe what a viewer gets from a piece is far more important than my intention or message. What I am trying to say with a work is only a motivation to create. The importance of it ends when I complete it. At that point it has a life of its own and hopefully brings something new to each person who sees it.

However, I would like to take a quick moment to explain a drawing I did a few years ago. "What Awaits" was my way of coming to grips with the idea that the fear of something is usually greater than the thing that is feared. This is a running theme in my life. Often what holds me back is something that I have created in my mind and not something that actually exists. I tend to explore this theme time and again in my art. I mention this because once again it popped up in my life and instantly I was reminded of the time I spent drawing "What Awaits". This time I believe I am aware that the fear is all in my head. If lose sight of this maybe one of you will remind me of what I said.

A quick thank you to the lovely ladies at the airport. I think you may be checking out my site. It was a brief encounter but one I will always remember.

I'm currently taking a brief vacation and will be back to the studio next week. Until that time...peace to you all.

Friday, March 24, 2006

"Brilliant Bloom" Is Sold

Please note that "Brilliant Bloom" (see entry below) just sold prior to auction. This Sunday's auction will now be a set of note cards.

Special thanks to my new art patron! Again...have a great weekend everyone.

eBay Friday - Brilliant Bloom

The sun is shinning, birds singing and it is a bit warmer than it has been. Top that off with it being Friday again and I would have to say YIPEE! Each time eBay Friday comes around I find myself saying that I can’t believe another week has gone by. It seems my life is just flying by. What happened to the days when I would boast that I was going to be eight and a half because those six months took forever to go by? Or when I was twenty and was just dying to be twenty one? Now I think I might just wake up one morning and I will be getting senior citizen discounts at the movies.

In the interest of spring I thought I would auction this painting of a rose blossom. It is oil on canvas that is 5” x 7”. I shared the process of this one on a previous blog entry. I don’t often choose flowers as my subject but I must admit this was a thrill to paint. It was a very sensual experience and I understand why so many artists love to paint them. It can be difficult to express the delicate nature of the petals without killing the vibrancy and power of the bloom itself. Here I purposely pushed the colors to give it a somewhat contemporary feel. I hope you enjoy it. The eBay auction will start Sunday night, so don’t forget to contact me prior if you are interested in purchasing it privately from me.

Little ‘shout out’ to Kelly Andreoli at WOGL-FM. I met her at the Expo and she offered to share marketing ideas with me and had lovely things to say about my work. I need all the help I can get so I am very appreciative.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Beginnings of a Dog Portrait

dog portrait by Lori Levin
Here is a quick glimpse of the start of one of the commissions I am working on at the moment. Not only are the easels full but my drawing table is as well. I would like to share the others with you but they are gifts and I would hate to ruin anyone's surprise. As soon as the gifts are given I will share the pictures with you.

This is Summer and I showed the photo of her in a previous post. At this stage I have worked out all composition, color and lighting issues in sketches and on the computer. I trace my final sketch onto canvas and then draw on top of it with thinned cadmium red oil paint to not only seal the drawing but to fix any last minute drawing issues. This also helps me feel of the rhythm of the work. It is like a warm up to exercise. Now I feel like I know my subject and I'm ready to paint. Oil painting is forgiving in that you can make mistakes however; I prefer not to put a brushstroke down until I know it will be right. This always results in a more lively and fresh painting but requires intense concentration.

Today's thank you goes out to everyone that reads my blog. The numbers increase almost daily. Not only do people take the time out of their busy day to read my endless ramblings but they also send me lovely emails commenting on what I have written. Thank you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Story of Cupid & Arrow

I am working feverishly on two commissions at the moment. More are coming in. I will be posting my progress later in the week so please keep coming back. However, today I would like to share with you one of my experiences at the Horse and Pet Expo that has made me a believer in miracles. (Second photo is Buck, Cupid and some lovely volunteers at the Expo. First is Buck with Cupid and Arrow on his farm in CT.)

Setting up for the Expo all by myself was really overwhelming. It was unseasonably warm and humid and I was really nervous. “Farmer Buck’s” booth across from me was filled with merchandise featuring the Cupid and Arrow story. Surprisingly, with all my work with horses I was not aware of this miraculous tale. Buck saw that I was looking stressed and took the time to tell me their magical story. He has an uncanny ability to read people and animals. Then he handed me the book and later gave me the DVD. All of this in hopes that I share it with others and now I am pleased to do it.

Buck did not need another horse but when he saw this frightened, starving mare at the auction he brought her home. The children at the farm named her Cupid for the perfectly shaped heart on head. As she learned trust and was eating more he discovered the mare was pregnant. Her gorgeous paint colt carries his own unique marking of a perfectly shaped arrow on his hind quarters. Now these two ambassadors of the animal kingdom travel with Buck around the country to spread the word of the special gift of animals and how they deserve our respect and kindness. Not only are there two books about them and numerous toys (including Breyers) but Disney is looking into their story as well.

It is so important to me that you take the time to learn more about them because this story reflects how I feel about animals and people. For this reason I create animal art. I don’t believe Cupid and Arrow exist by mistake. Often in the hustle and bustle of our days we forget to stop and think about what is truly important in life. These gorgeous animals are living, breathing reminders of what life is all about. Please take a moment to visit . Maybe you might purchase a book for a child in your family or for your church/synagogue library. Also, read about Buck’s work with individuals with special needs and inner-city youth. I promise you will be entertained as well as inspired.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ebay Friday - Mare in Graphite

This week has just flown by and I feel little has been accomplished. Much of this week has been spent working on business and not actually painting. Times like these when I discuss painting more than I do it are so difficult for me. There was a time that I avoided my art because it took so much from me. Now when I am not able to paint I feel like I have not eaten, I feel lost. However, I must be patient for this is all part of the business of art. The good news is that my hard work is paying off and my popularity is increasing by leaps and bounds, as well are my sales. At some points in the day success seems just as frightening as failure.

This Sunday I will be auctioning a little drawing I did a while back. It is a little sketch of a lovely grey mare. This mare always had quite the regal quality to her that I admired. Mares can be difficult to deal with because they tend to have greater opinions about the work that they are asked to do. A gelding can never touch the ability of a mare with a good work ethic and a positive attitude. However, the flip side makes you want to pull your hair out and swear you will never deal with another mare again. (If you are a horse person you are shaking your head "yes" right now.) This 7"x5" graphite sketch on archival paper, with mat, will be put on eBay for auction on Sunday night. Larger works are being saved for galleries at this point so small sketches are what you will see me auction on eBay from this point forward.

I mentioned before that I had more to say about the Expo. Come back Monday for the story about Cupid and Arrow. It will melt your heart and make you believe in miracles. It is wonderful because it is true.

Quick thank you to Kim for sending care packages to the sick. Being sick is never pleasant but it is made more palatable by sweet gestures of friends that care. I truly appreciate your friendship.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Excellent Expo!

For once I am at a loss for words on this blog. My experience at the Expo was so very positive. This was a unique experience for me to receive live feedback on my work. Most of my art dealings are done via mail, the internet or through a third party. So this was new and exciting for me to actually talk to people who were interested in my paintings.

I was really moved by the people who shared very personal stories about their pets and loved ones. They came to me believing that I could honor what it was they felt in their hearts not only what was there on photographs. They understood why I named my business "Soulful Studios". I felt completely understood. The show was not only financially profitable but emotionally as well.

Special thanks to a woman named Sandra who is a wonderful patron of the arts. She bought not one but two of my works and not just because they matched her decor. She inspired me with her story and reminded me how important my audience is to filling my motivation well.

Stay tuned for more about the Expo. So many interesting things went on there!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ebay Friday - Kissing Tomatoes

Red Tomatoes by Levin
EXPO DAY!!! Getting my usual Friday blog in early (6AM to be exact) so that I can spread the good cheer of Soulful Studios to the good people at the Fort Washington Center. Ha! It occurred to me that a wise person would have created this entry days ago when she was not so pressed for time and just post it when it was needed. Well, I just set myself up there for some good ribbing but what else is new. Actually, I like my blogs to be spontaneous so that you can get the sense of what I'm feeling at the moment. It is Soulful Studios after all.

This Sunday's eBay auction is called "Kissing Tomatoes". I originally painted a still life where the tomatoes were just one small part of the set up. As I painted their passage in this larger work, I realized there was a much more intimate painting here. So, I immediately set up another canvas and feverishly went to work on this tight crop of these bold and very red little fruits. I loved their graphic quality and how they were so "close" to each other. (I don't get out much.) This oil on canvas is 7"high and 5" wide. Don't forget to contact me if you would like to purchase this before I upload it to eBay.

Today's thank you goes out to a feisty woman at the craft store. In my pre-show panic I was having trouble framing a certain painting and this woman gave me framing solutions even though I was not purchasing anything. On top of that we had a lovely conversation the ended with her offering to show my promotional cards to someone that would want a pet portrait. There was nothing in it for her. Her good spirit and kindness calmed me down and really made me feel good. These type of people still exist in case you lost hope!

Have a great weekend and I'm sure I'll have much to say about the Expo next week!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Horse and Pet Expo

Mare and Foal by Levin
A very quick post to let you know that I'm buried in work getting things prepared for my booth at the Horse World Arena at the Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo at the Fort Washington Center. It is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Click on this link to read more about it and to print out a coupon for the event. Please come and visit me if you can. One of my framed drawings will be auctioned there as well. I am bringing 6 framed paintings and 1 framed drawing for sale there. My note cards will also be available. As a special incentive I will hand out postcards of my work that have a coupon on the back, good towards $25 off a future commissioned work.

This is the drawing that will be for sale at the Expo. "Momma Nose" is a graphite on paper, 11" high by 14" wide. It is behind glass, double matted with a beautiful cherry colored frame. I have held onto this one because I cannot bare to let it go. This mother and foal lived on my farm for some time and they were truly a pleasure. It is so hard to let my children go.

A quick thanks to Deborah M. who owns and runs the farm where my Dandy is stabled. I've been so busy of late, with little time for him but I never worry (but always feel guilty) because I know she is giving him such great care. On top of that his "Aunt Lori" (there are two lovelies named Lori at the barn and I'm the other one) always takes time to give him a scratch in just the right place. Probably both ladies load him up on carrots and cookies too. That's a good thing. Who doesn't like cookies?! MMMM...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ebay Friday - Island Time

Island Painting by Lori Levin
I actually was able to get out and run for the first time today in I don't know how long. It was cold and windy but I didn't care. I had wings on my feet to carry me so nothing was holding me back. However, I wouldn't mind a little spring and summer coming my way!

So with that thought, Sunday's eBay auction is called "Island Time". Named after yet another Jon Michaels song of the same name. Check out the song, it goes with the painting! I painted this in an experimental style. In real life it has a stucco under-painting that makes it very 3-dimensional. It is a somewhat abstract look at an aerial view of a tropical island. Oh Lord take me there! It is a 5" high by 7" wide mixed media piece on stretched canvas. Experimenting keeps me fresh. Nobody likes a stale artist! Don't forget to let me know if you would like to purchase this before it goes to auction on Sunday night. Also, don't forget to check out the current auction for charity.

Thank you Nancy Koenig at Mannington Mills for always being such a great friend and supporter of my art. Nancy was one of the folks in my life that made it clear to me that painting full-time was a leap of faith I couldn't ignore. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Pet Portraits

Very busy getting ready for the Horse and Pet Expo. I'm quite excited and nervous. I'm a bit behind on my schedule because of my recent case of the flu-bug but I'll "get 'er done"!

Just thought I would share a previous portrait I had done. It was a gift so I could not post it as I was doing it. Sometimes, as in this case, the pet has passed away and good photos are not available. That is when I depend on the "art fairies" to step in and help me create something from nothing. The dog's name is Holden and he lived to a good age and was well loved. I was honored to draw him.

It is my ultimate goal to capture the soul of my subject as well as the likeness. My clients wouldn't come to me if all I did was reproduce a photograph. They could have those done at their local drugstore. Only when I am able to do that do I feel that I did my job well. My portraits are not only about painting animals but helping people find closure or giving them something that honors how they feel about their pet. This is why I do it and love it so much.

A quick thanks to the folks at . I messed up my order and called 12 hours later to change it. They were so kind and happy to do so and so pleasant to talk to. This meant so much to me because I was worried that I would not have what I needed for the expo. They put my mind at ease. On the flip side I did some business with someone today that made me sorry I ever handed over my credit card. Let's hear it for good old fashioned customer service!