Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why I Live Here

Drawing above is in my moleskine sketchbook.
"Elsinboro View"

I'm often asked why I still live in Salem County. Being that I no longer work for Mannington Mills, I can live anywhere and work as an artist. Many times I've considered leaving this place because I thought there would be more for me in terms of culture and activity in places like Philadelphia or New York. The truth is I've made this place my home. Perhaps you can figure out why from the above photos.

Everyone can stop sending me emails about me cycling too much or painting too close to traffic. I've been benched due to some late effects of radiation in the area of my spine. There will be much more time spent sitting and resting for a bit so you can all calm down. It is up to me to make the most of it and not spend too much time being upset that I'm not riding with my Sunday group.

Gracie and I went to Elsinboro Beach this morning to do a little sketching. The tiny waves lapped the shore and we watched many pleasure boats and cargo ships pass. Only one or two cotton ball clouds dotted the sky. The occasional local went by on a kayak, probably working off last night's wine haze. I sketched the view across the river, thinking about the many people on their boats partying at The Chesapeake. This place is like a mini vacation. Even the sunset from the night before suggests a get away atmosphere.

I don't have to go anywhere. I'm already here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Indeed

CPL Wine Auction

It is just stinking hot out there. I don't know why they say it is "the dog days of summer" as my dear Gracie can't take this heat. Nobody should have their dogs out in this soup right now. 95 degrees in the shade is only good if you are on an island sitting by the ocean with a drink (complete with cute little umbrella) in your hand. Nuff said.

An exciting bit of news is that 16"x20" giclee prints are now available of "Ripening Fruits" (see art above). The original painting will be auctioned at Canine Partners for Life's Wine Auction in December. I am limiting the print edition to 150 and they are on top quality water color paper printed with archival inks. You can purchase a signed and numbered fine art print now for $85 plus tax and shipping. Contact me now if you would like to order a print. Who is the owner of #1? The very fine Dr. Howe-Smith of Pet PT was the first to put his order in. I am so thrilled as he is the man that put my Gracie back together and made her a happy pup. I'm pretty critical of doctors and veterinarians and he is 100% Lori approved! Just ask Gracie how great he is.

The second tidbit of information is that my graphite pet portrait work is now being represented by The des Champs Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey. I included the location photo above as it is such a beautiful gallery and it is a total honor to be a part of it. You can check out the site and see my name listed on the right hand side along with some very well known regional artists. This should make for a very busy studio here at Soulful Studios. Please visit the gallery if you are in that area and tell Lise or Suzanne that I sent you.

Finally, 4 of my dog themed works will be shown at the Orchard Artworks Gallery in Bryn Athyn during their "Dog Days of Summer" art show benefiting The Spayed Club. The show runs from August 12th-August 31st. On the opening day on Sunday there will be an artist meet and greet from 1-4pm. I'm not certain I will be able to make that but it is possible. 25% of the proceeds goes to The Spayed Club so it is a great way to own some dog art and give back at the same time.

Stay cool everyone.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm Just Nuts

Scion XB
Salem Art by Lori Levin
"Marsh Solitude"
acrylic on canvas

I think the photo of my location choice for this little painting says it all. I'm not right in the head. Someone asked me if I was taunting God by risking getting hit on the side of the road for a mere tiny painting. Maybe I am. All I know is I see this section of water with its little islands of green and it begs me to paint it. Photographs aren't doing it for me these days so chances are I will be back on the side of the road again daring the trucks to mess with me. Don't they know who I am and what I'm trying to do?

What you can't see in the photo of this work is that I am starting to experiment with texturing the canvas prior to painting. I'm getting closer to what I want. Also, the image is a bit red on the screen when in real life is glows more orange. I'm seeking a more minimal nature to my work. To say more with less is my ultimate goal and I'm just in love with the process of getting there. That in itself is a breakthrough for me and will ultimately result in great success. I can taste it.

That being said, I have some interesting updates to the business of Soulful Studios. However, you will have to be patient and wait for my next blog post. I'm off to the river to sit with my favorite sculptor and friends. I hear the osprey are very active today and I have my binoculars ready.

Before I go, I must make a plug for my friend Joe Pulcinella. A year ago I was introduced to his work in photography. I've mentioned here before. Please take the time to visit his site. I promise you won't be disappointed as he has great vision with a lens. He works for the people, so to speak, but is able to maintain artistic credibility in my humble opinion. If you like what you see please visit this site and vote for him (scroll to the bottom of the page). Good work deserves recognition.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Tour de Lor

Supawana Meadows by Levin "Movement at the Marsh"
acrylic on canvas

Last Saturday I set out early to Supawana Meadows to paint the marsh area again. Guided by my great wisdom I decided to stand amongst the reeds in the dirt. As the bugs devoured my flesh and my pochade box sank into the mud, I considered how much I had yet to learn about painting en plein air.

Later that weekend I cycled with my favorite group from The Peddler's Shop. After we rode for about 20 miles I was asked if I would be riding Breakneck Road. Only the diehards were going, as it is a few miles of a series of difficult inclines. Of course I would ride "Breakneck". Of course.

When Monday rolled around I thought it would be a good idea to really work hard at the gym because obviously I was feeling great. Now was the time to get in top form Now was also the time to get my art business going and to schedule meetings with galleries and book days for my booth. I was making business commitments left and right. I should have been committed.

Tuesday I bonked. The "Tour de Lor" had come to an end. Even Lance Armstrong went downhill sometimes. Didn't I just say that when you feel like you are going up the down escalator you should switch directions? Many posts ago I advised smelling the roses and taking time just to "be". Well, it goes to show you that even I, who should know better, got sucked in to the race.

The desire to be the best and move forward can be a force that drives you right into the ground. It can drain the joy out of your favorite activities. Left unchecked, it can make you lose sight of your purpose. I'm guilty, guilty, guilty.

I share this little lament because I want you to see that all that glitters is not gold. So many lovely folks send me emails telling me how great I'm doing and how they are inspired. Maybe if you know the mistakes I make you'll stop yourself before you do the same.

Life is so very short. Yes, that sentence has been played out. However, it doesn't mean that you should fill every minute with busyness in order to be really living. It means being present and aware of each precious moment, enjoying what you are doing not just working to cross off another task on your "to do" list.

I just threw my list away. Screw it.