Thursday, January 28, 2010


Starlings by Lori Levin
"Starlings' Wave"
acrylic on panel

Winter is a time to gather oneself together and store some energy that will be needed for spring. However, I find winter somewhat draining. Being that I get cold thinking about the season, much of my strength is used just keeping warm.

What I like about this time of year is how my mind slows down and I'm able to just sit and be in my own space. With a cup of hot kukicha tea in my hands, I stare out the window and watch the woodpecker take her fill from the suet. The golden finches sneak by almost unnoticed in their January garb. Only the starlings disrupt the peace but even they can be amusing.

This year I've been honored with an acceptance into the annual Oxford Fine Arts Fair, May 28-30. My time is now divided between my large dog portrait on the easel now and creating smaller works for the show. I'm very excited to participate in such a beautiful venue. I have to thank my friend Alex Alampi for encouraging me to apply. He truly helps me broaden my horizons.

So here I sit in Soulful Studios trying to balance calm with anticipation and renewal with work. Success to me is the ability to do just that. Perhaps the birds will tell me what I need to know. Where's that tea?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pet Portrait - Buddy Bear

pet portrait by Lori Levin
"Buddy Bear"
graphite on archival paper
private commission

It has been mentioned to me many times that people will not think twice about purchasing a portrait of their dog and yet they might not do the same for the people in their life. From my experience, I can say this is true. My belief is that our pets provide us with a sense of well-being on a regular basis in a way that people cannot. Petting your dog or walking him in the fresh air is more therapeutic than anything. If you've ever woken from a bad dream and couldn't shake the badness only to have your favorite pooch jump up and lick you demanding a little playtime, you know what I'm talking about. If you've ever tried to push yourself for a little exercise and your dog looked excitedly at his leash, you have been talked into the outing. If you've ever sat on the couch think the day was sad and cold and your warm kitty plopped himself on your lap and purred, you know how joyful it is. Really, there is no way to put the feeling into words. That's why I paint them and don't write about them.

Above is Buddy Bear, my most recent dog portrait. He is a retired Canine Partners for Life service dog. His owner can't imagine ever being without him and wanted to immortalize him. Buddy Bear is quite the character and still has his sense of humor in his old age. We all should have the experience of a dog like this in our lifetime.

Pet portraits at Soulful Studios are still alive and well. I ordered a new canvas for a large oil painting of three dogs. Three others are awaiting their birth. Learning to juggle the fine art business along with commissions has been a challenge and has a real learning curve. That being said, I've received comments and mail from quite a few young and emerging artists who ask for advice or admire my blog. I'd like to thank you for contacting me and want you to know I am very appreciative of your words. If I could share one bit of insight it would be to not try to sell your work until you have a large body of consistent pieces to show at once. Do one thing well and focus on it. If you don't, you might be spending years trying to catch up with the demand if your work is received favorably. Someone told me that during college and I didn't listen. Live and learn. That's ok, I'm NEVER bored.