Lori's Whimsical Girls have early beginnings in craft projects
As a child there was nothing like opening a new box of crayons with all those beautiful colours inside. Just looking at them was so inspiring; the possibilities were endless.
I can say in all honesty, this hasn't changed. I am always happy to see art supplies, and often look at ordinary objects as potential items for craft projects. However, over the years crafts created with my grandmother and in high school art classes were left behind. Life was busy and my artistic side was expressed through art projects with my children, home decorating, and a very occasional sketch.
During that time, I participated in an oil painting class for a couple of years, enjoying every second of painting cottage gardens using thick paint and bold colours. Claude Monet, my favourite artist, inspired me with his impressionist style and his beautiful garden in Giverny.
Graphic design is added as a tool for journaling
In each class, the hours flew by, and before I knew it, my brushes had to be cleaned and stored for the next week when I could set aside a few hours for “homework”. Eventually, my art teacher retired to travel the world so I determined to continue on with my efforts. This never happened. Unfortunately, my tubes of paint dried up and to this day, that last unfinished canvas is still stored on my easel.
Next, my creative outlet shifted to working on the yearbook at our local school. Then, I completed a graphic design program and used my skills to start my own business, designing and selling digital scrapbook design kits. During this time, I started putting together a digital art journal that was a precursor to my journals of today.
Art was something that “one day” I would get back to. It was an elusive bucket list item. I had no idea how or what I even needed to do to reach that goal.
Eventually, when my children were grown and I was determining my future, I saw a book, “Mixed Media Girls” by Suzi Blu. The pages provided step-by-step instructions on creating a whimsical girl using many mixed media supplies. This book's projects were achievable and I was inspired by all the whimsical ideas.
A mixed media style is developed through daily practice
I went through it all, every page. I tried out the art supplies, the techniques, and filled pages of a mixed media journal with my efforts. That was the beginning of my journey.
Thereafter, I took many online mixed media courses and began sharing my work on Facebook with my friends and other online students. I thank Jane Davenport, online teacher extraordinaire who encouraged us all to post our art and support each other with positive feedback.
Through all these classes, I filled many journals, attempted varying techniques. I was determined to find my own style.
Experimentation and repetition help hone style
While working on each lesson, and listening to the advice of many artists, I started to see a shift in my approach to creating. As a result, I began to resist some lessons or techniques that didn’t fit my idea of what I wanted to do.
Part of this course was following the steps of each lesson, but then redoing them, using my instincts, combining new creative ideas with preferred practices.
That experimentation carried on into my art journal, where “my style” appeared through practice, repetition, trying new things and just creating as often as possible. And that's how I developed my Whimsical Girls that are quite similar in style.
Lori’s whimsical girls seek to inspire the viewer
Using many layers of papers, pencil crayons, acrylics, watercolours and inks, I create whimsical girls. Every girl has an inspirational message with a different meaning for each viewer.
I add many hidden treasures such as antique publications, papers from around the world, letterpress letters and book pages to create a story for each piece. Each canvas can reveal a new find, a hidden truth. My Whimsical Girls start off looking similar when I draw them, but each one has her own personality revealed as she comes to life.
Checking off art goals from the bucket list
Then my children convinced me that I could take the next step: my bucket list goal of selling a painting. I spent a year painting and building up a stockpile of work for sale.
Last fall, I participated in my first show. I was encouraged by all the positive feedback and was ecstatic to sell a painting! Many attendees connected with my art in different ways. It was interesting to hear people describe what the paintings meant to them. My goal was achieved and then some.
From there I continued with another show and decided to try crossing off a second item from my bucket list. So I joined my local art association and exhibited my art alongside others in our local art gallery.
Every two months, we have a newly themed changeover. I find the challenge of coming up with a girl that fits the theme very enjoyable. It forces me out of my comfort zone and through that I grow as an artist.
I continue to participate in local shows and paint when I have the chance. Children question me about my art and sometimes are inspired to create an art journal of their own. This is what I love about art shows.
Future goals for Lori's Whimsical Girls
I am also now planning an upcoming fall art show and sale for the art group I joined. Two of us are putting the show together and I am learning a lot along the way.
Who would have thought that I’d ever be doing all of this? Not me!
I have definitely achieved some of my goals and have learnt that we can make our own dreams come true.
You can view more of my work at the Ottawa West Arts Association.
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View other similar guest artists who have appeared on this website here and here. View all Guest Artists here. If you would like to be a featured artist at Louise's ARTiculations, contact me as I am looking for guest artists for 2020.