Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three Years

salem county art by Lori Levin "Big Sky"
acrylic on panel

vultures by Lori Levin "Conference"
acrylic on panel

salem county art by Lori Levin
"Above the Bale"
acrylic on panel

custom pet portrait by Lori Levin "Scally"
graphite on archival paper
Soulful Studios Custom Pet Portrait

The "Artists at Work" open studio tour was a success. Many new people found their way to my studio and my work found new homes. Brady the Studio Dog improved his greeting skills and by the end strangers no longer upset him...much. I was much less stressed this time as we weren't putting the door handle on as patrons were walking up the path to see my art. No, we were ready well before opening and I have to admit I was pleased with the display. My oils and acrylics look very consistent and cohesive and the reception to my work was quite positive. More and more I feel that I am going in the right direction. No longer do I wonder if I'm just spinning my wheels. Rarely do I feel I should be doing something else more practical. Every single time that doubt flashes through my mind, an admirer of my work tells me what my art means to them and I know I'm home.

This is a far cry from where I was exactly three years ago. I close my eyes and I can still see the group of doctors standing over me telling me I had Lymphoma. My chest still aches when I cough or laugh but the memory hurts more deeply than the surface pain. Just now do I think I should cut my hair shorter because it is "too long". The wounds are all still so fresh. It seems like yesterday. However, if I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax and enjoy my new world, I can see I've indeed traveled far. In October of 2006 I learned how little control I had over my life. The universe was letting me know it had its own plans. Reading through my old posts of that time I realize how I covered over what i was really feeling and kept the brave face. Maybe there was no time for fear and pain. Maybe that is just how it goes.

Now I'm sitting here cancer free and I know how lucky I am. It doesn't always go that way. For some time I felt a pressure to make my life count for something. Once again I sought control. Finally it hit me a few weeks ago that I had not yet surrendered to the path of just living. Your life counts just as you are no matter what you do. You can make it a more pleasant experience by giving thanks and going with the flow and living in a healthy manner. However, no matter what you do there are no guarantees.

Sure, I believe what I write but the human in me still fights it sometimes. I recognize those times by my stress level or fits of anger. During those times I try to reset myself and SEE what is really around me.

What is around me in 2009? A beautiful house on two acres surround by farmers fields and beautiful sunsets is where I call home. Children that think I'm pretty and smart (at least for now) greet me when I awake. A charming little dog keeps me company as I create in the most beautiful studio a girl could imagine. My art is in demand and painting fast enough is my biggest worry. My family is healthy for the most part and we all enjoy a good ribbing. Most of all, a man, my husband, lets me know every single day that I am the most loved woman there ever was, even the ugly parts of me.

Yeah, I think by just living a lot has happened. In three years I've gone through chemo and radiation, tackled the lingering health problems that come with such treatment, got engaged, sold my home, planned a wedding, got married, built a studio, rebuilt my art business and won an art exhibition. Wow.

It's been a hell of a journey. It often felt like an uphill battle. It was harder for me than I'd like to admit. It was worth it.

What will I write three years from today?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Artists at Work - Tour of 18 Salem County Studios and Galleries

pet portrait
pet portrait
acrylic painting Above are just a few of the things I'm working on in the studio.

October 10th and 11th from 10-6 each day, Soulful Studios as well as 17 other galleries and studios will be open to the public. This focus of this tour is artists in their working environment demonstrating their process. I will be working on my recent dog portrait in graphite as well as a large oil painting. New works I've recently completed will be on display and for sale as well as select prints and cards. As always, light refreshments will be served and plenty of good conversation will be offered.

This is a great way to spend a weekend and there is no charge for admission. There are plenty of places to explore. For example, you won't have to go but one mile from this studio to see the beautiful water colors by Alex Alampi. He has released a new stunning print and will be demonstrating his technique as well.

To everyone that congratulated me on my recent award, I say THANK YOU! I feel the support from you all and I appreciate it very much. I apologize for the lag in posts. It's getting harder and harder to keep up with talking about art when there is so much art to make. That's a good thing.

Though I've been putting less information out on the internet it seems the word about my art is still traveling fast. In the past two weeks I've received numerous calls about commissions and requests for paintings that were already sold. It seems the busier you are the more people want work from you. Then as luck would have it a friend and patron was kind enough to mention my work in her blog that is created for Horse and Rider Magazine. Sandy is an expert on weight loss and healthy living by way of experience and she is very inspirational. She included a painting she purchased from me years ago on her September 15th post. (Thank you Sandy!) This is just a few examples of what has been happening.

So, please come and visit this weekend and check out my new work, have some munchies and chat with me. I look forward to seeing you all. Until next time...