Thursday, June 26, 2008

Letting the World In

equine art by Lori Levin
equine art by Lori Levin "The Veil"
oil on canvas
beginning stages

Currently I am working on two large paintings at once as well as creating greeting cards and prints to be sold on my website, galleries and retail stores. Soulful Studios has never been busier. It requires intense work but I am enjoying it. However, I look forward to the time when the business planning side eases up a bit and I am mostly focusing on painting as that is my true love. Developing new business opportunities will afford me the luxury of more painting time later. I love painting and creating pet portraits, not necessarily finding the work.

The painting above is in its early stages. If you are a regular reader you know that I anthropomorphize my animals. Come back to see the progress of this piece and I will then explain some of the meaning that inspired me to create this piece of equine art.

In the midst of my flurry of recent activity I was stopped in my tracks today by a little girl in the post office. As I opened a gift sent to me by my Canadian friend, Amanda, I was greeted with a big smile and belonging to a pretty little girl around the age of 6 or 7. As I met her glance she held out her hand holding an old silk rose. She quietly but confidently said "this is for you". I was taken aback and meekly said "thank you". Then she skipped out the door as I told her that she had made my day, though I'm not sure she heard me. I didn't even get the chance to share the chocolates that were waiting for me in the package I picked up. My guess is the little girl wouldn't even have wanted anything in return as this was her moment to just give. Something about this happening struck me to the core. So often I go through my day with a sense of routine. It seems every time I step out of that mindset I am pleasantly surprised by life. One little effort on my part to meet the gaze of a child resulted in a special moment that will stay with me and lighten my heart for days. Today was a reminder to not get caught up in my own head for too long as the world can surprise you if you stay aware long enough to let it in.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Learning to Dream Big

Horse Art by Lori Levin "The Old Sentinel"
oil on canvas

I decided to do a small oil painting of my sketch before I go to the large finish. I learned a lot from this little experiment and know now how to work this idea out even more. The horse's name is "Macho" and I look forward to honoring his position in life even more with the final large painting. This small treasure will be available shortly at First Impressions Art Gallery. One of the "Morning Horse" pieces has sold already and those also will end up in a larger format. Lately I am so full of inspiration and ideas. I can't seem to keep up with them all.

Currently on my easel is a 20"x30" canvas of a horse looking out through the trees. Later this week I will share that with you. Also, in progress is a piece for the cover of "Pet Companions Magazine". Both of these works a requiring much energy that takes me away from some other smaller projects that I enjoy like painting outdoors and sketching. I know balance will come once again so stay tuned for more of those works in the future.

On a side note I am always in search of other sites that I believe "do the right thing". I'd like to bring your attention to one in particular called It is hosted by Glenn Close who does great animal advocacy work and really has created an informative and usefull site. Proceeds from products purchased there go to animal charities and there is a wealth of information available there as well. Maybe one day Soulful Studios pet portraits will be found there as well. Someday I could be the pet portrait artist of the stars which would allow me the opportunity to raise even more money for my favorite organizations! You never know. I'm learning to work hard and dream big. I've come a long way from the lady that couldn't think past the moment she was in. Healing happens.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Being Open

horse drawing by Lori Levin "Old Sentinel"
sketch in moleskine

The show on Friday at First Impressions Gallery went very well. The artists pulled together to help Mary, the owner, in her time of need and things ran smoothly. There was a good group of patrons and a steady flow of sales. Miss Sarah sang a beautiful song for the crowd and a good time was had by all.

This weekend I was scheduled to paint en plein air in Millville. The week had been long and the weather hot. My heart was not feeling enthusiasm for battling the elements to paint outdoors. Lately I have been painting in the studio and working on my pet portraits and that is where my focus is. So, I made an executive decision and bagged the paint out. Guilt did creep in but I know sometimes plans are made to be broken. Flexibility is the key to happy accidents.

In exchange for what I sacrificed the universe seemed to provide moments that were more than I could have asked for, dreamt of or planned. So often we are tied to "doing" instead of "being". I'm as guilty of that transgression as the next guy. However, every time I leave myself open to allowing opportunities to appear instead of making them happen I'm always pleasantly surprised.

The above sketch is of a friend's horse in PA. He is old as you can see by the slight sway in his back. Being the leader of the paddock he faithfully watches and stays alert. This sketch will be a larger painting one day. This is the plan.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dog Portrait - Black Lab Puppy

Dog Portrait by Lori Levin Custom Pet Portrait
oil on canvas

Last night's "Yappy Hour" hosted by Canine Partners for Life was a success. I bought my share of puppy kisses from two future service dogs that were too cute and cuddly. A special surprise was in store for me when my dear friends Vicki Nixon and her husband Brian showed up not only to support CPL but to include their friend Jen who is a shinning star. It was a pleasure and an honor to meet her. I was very touched that my friends cared enough to support something with me that I believe in and help me spread the word. Animals and nature hold the keys to what is right in this world and I feel this organization stands for that. That in a nutshell is what my art is all about.

The above painting is a gift for someone special so I cannot give you the name of this dog but I can tell you he is precious. Generally, I don't do my dog portraits from puppy pictures as the personality is not as easily visible as when they are older. However, in this case, this canine is full of love and joy and I think the portrait shows that. Painting the colors of black was also enjoyable. Can you believe that no black paint was used to create those colors? That would be just too easy.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Soulful Studios Event Updates

Service Dog and Lori Levin
Lori Levin and Einstein

Isn't that such a face, you just want to squeeze it and kiss it? Of course I mean the dog silly! The photo was taken at the Canine Partners for Life brunch held a Buckley's Tavern two Sundays ago. This sweet pup went around the restaurant collecting donations for the organization. There’s nothing like sending in the secret weapon to do the dirty work. I had a great time as did everyone else. I even got to judge the pajama contest. Yes, canine and humans alike showed up to brunch in their sleepwear. Yes, I chickened out and came in shorts and a t-shirt. I didn't want anyone to see me in my yellow Eeyore pajamas. That would have been scary.

If you are sad that you missed that event don't despair. This Wednesday night you can join me and the folks from CPL at their "Yappy Hour" in Wilmington at the Iron Hill Brewery. Click here for more details. Also, don't forget Cow Bingo on Sept 13th. I will be there offering special deals on pet portraits and unveiling some of my new prints and note cards that will soon be available. If you can't wait that long to see me make sure you come to First Impressions Gallery in Salem this Friday at 6pm. I'll be there with many other well known local artists showing their new work. I know Alex Alampi will be there and probably Denise Erickson. That is a great opportunity to ask questions about art and learn about collecting art.

I want to finish this post by thanking Joe Pulcinella, my super talented photographer friend. Last year I gave him a tiny little colored pencil drawing. Just recently he had it framed with such love and care that it looks like a museum piece. Please check out his website and see the amazing work he does. He finds the "life" inside of everyone and captures it forever. Thank you Joe for honoring my work.

ACEO by Lori Levin

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Relationship of Trees

tree drawing by Lori Levin "The Relationship of Trees"
sketch in moleskine

There are only about 3 pages left in this moleskine sketchbook. This probably has been my favorite sketchbook ever and the only one I ever completely filled all the pages. It seems very fitting.

Out and about in my car, I stopped to sketch these trees touched by sunlight in a very densely wooded area. It struck me how they were rooted together and moved toward and away from each other, while both growing towards the light. It reminded me of human relationships. Yes, there I go anthropomorphizing everything again. Sometimes this pairing works and other times it does not. I think the survival of the trees depends on the fact that they both grow in the same direction, without overpowering the other and blocking the light. That is truly profound. However, just when you thought it was simple, I would like to mention the issue of disease and termites. Nothing is ever clear cut.

This coming Wednesday is a Canine Partners For Life "Yappy Hour" in Wilmington. Click here for more details. I will be there and will write more on this next week.