Saturday, July 22, 2017


"Maine Gold"  14" X 11"   Lori LaBerge  2017,  wool on linen

"Maine Gold" is now ready for framing. The circle triangulates the whites and helps to anchor the work, giving a focal point. The repetition of diagonals contrasts with the straighter lines. Architectural forms in landscapes and buildings seem to be the direction future work is headed.

"Mulholland"  study 18" X 18"   Lori LaBerge  2017, acrylic on canvas

The second half of the week was spent playing with shapes by working with acrylic paint on canvas. When we visited our daughter in Los Angeles in May, we took a ride on Mulholland Drive. The contemporary homes with their curves, rectangles and other geometric shapes have stayed in my mind. This work was done from memory.

This soft mix of teal, green and yellow would look beautiful dyed on wool.

"Mulholland" was used to experiment with various textures using both brushes and palette knives. While I love the composition, this piece would present better in a smoother finish that would leave the focus on the geometric forms. It is a good study for development of a larger more finished work.

A visit to the Farnsworth Museum and seeing the Andrew Wyeth exhibit of studies showing both his painted works and sketchbooks has influenced me. Composition, line and shape are a larger part of my research now.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


We took a stroll along Fisherman's Walk in York, Maine during our trip and this stonework caught my attention. The gold color was beautiful and the shape itself was something I felt I could work with.

The first step was to sketch out the basic shapes from the photograph. I like to do a rough sketch first to have something to work with. The section that would be gold looks a bit lost in this sketch and needs to be larger. There is also more happening on the right hand side leading to a lack of balance.

First the whole size of the piece was compacted to fit a 14 X 11 format. I added a circle on the left along with a break in the lower section. The straighter bottom was changed to a diagonal adding a sense of movement, relating to the walk we took. 

A line creating a small rectangular shape was added near the top to balance out the shape in the bottom left and the far right shape was narrowed. The right hand shape was also curved a bit on the bottom (as was the lower left shape) to provide a break from the straight lines in the work. This reminded me more of the curves that were along the walkway. Color ideas were then noted. 

"Maine Gold" in progress,  14" X 11"  Lori LaBerge  2017

Hooking was started. A plain gold was combined with a textured gold containing a bit of red for the stonework section. The dark green consists of four different greens while the lighter mint green is from a spot dyed piece of wool. One more day and the work should be completed and ready for finishing.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


A sketch of one of the views from the cottage we rented in Maine,  Lori LaBerge  2017

We are back from vacation and it was wonderful. We rented a cottage in York with a view of the ocean and Nubble Lighthouse. It was relaxing to sit on the deck with a cold Maine craft beer and do some sketching. Rain held off, the water was beautiful and we were able to watch the lobster boats as traps were checked daily.

The outline of the rock formation was drawn blind contour (without looking at the paper being drawn on) then developed from there through regular sketching. Drawing blind contour helps to improve hand/eye coordination and increases observational skills as you are not constantly viewing back and forth between paper and subject. It can be difficult at first but becomes easier with practice.

 Some designs ideas worked on,  Lori LaBerge  2017

On the trip I became fascinated with the rooftops of ocean homes and boats. I studied some of the angles found and drew them out. Multiple scenes were combined into each of the works to form a composition. The circular windows on the boats added to the designs. I plan on hooking these as smaller works and then creating larger paintings of them. 

We found a local antique and used book store, Harding's Books in Wells, Maine. It was amazing. The aisles went on forever. I spent about two hours in the art section and purchased the books above. They include writings on Expressionism, women in art, Frank Stella, Salvador Dali and Paul Gauguin. If you are nearby at any point and love books it is a must stop as the store itself has so much more than the website offers.

Another purchase from Harding's that I am currently reading. Life is good!

Saturday, July 1, 2017


While in York, Maine, we took a day trip to see what the Farnsworth Museum had to offer. A Marguerite Zorach exhibit was on display with some hooked textiles. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed due to contract stipulations. They did allow photos throughout the rest of the museum. It was well worth the trip.

The Farnsworth Museum entrance in Rockland, Maine.

  "Portrait of a Woman"  by Louise Nevelson

 It was exciting to view some of Louise Nevelson's work I had not seen before. She is one of my favorites for her sculptural work. The museum had some of her paintings. They will be having a show of her works from October 6- April 1. 

Book illustration by Vera Bock

Vera Bock was well traveled by age 14 and worked as a book designer and illustrator. She also worked in relief, wood engraving, mixed media and illumination.

 "The Typist" by Milton Avery

I have always loved the simplicity and emphasis on shape and color in Avery's work.

 "Kym on White"  by Alex Katz

Katz strength is simplicity. He produced numerous portraits with one color backgrounds leaving the total focus on the figure, creating a bold effect.

 "Ophelia"  by Grace Hartigan

Hartigan was an abstract expressionist. I love the bold use of line in this work.

 "York Beach"  by Joseph B. Davol

Davol lived in Ogunquit, Maine and focused on marine painting. This work has wonderful shadows and tree shapes.

Some of Andrew Wyeth's sketchbooks were on display. I was mesmerized by the number of studies he created before deciding on the composition of a final work. A true master.

There is even an art library in the museum. Could have spent all day just looking at the books.

They also have a shop and I couldn't resist picking up the following:

 "Marguerite Zorach: An Art-Filled Life"

"Nevelson: Awareness in the Fourth Dimension"

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Hanging around Wells Reserve at Laudholm

We are exploring Maine and after a search on the ipad for things to do came across Laudholm located in Wells. There are a myriad of short walking trails with sculptures of all sorts along the way. The sculptures are on display through the summer and all are for sale.  

"Chickens"  by Lise Becu

 "Coyotes"  by Wendy Klemperer

 "Free Range Sculpture"  by Eugene Koch

 "Dragonfly"  by Digby Veevers-Carter

 "Vulture"  by Patrick Plourde

 "Of Course It's Safe"  by John Wilkinson

 "Owl Rising"  by Andreas von Huene

 "Castle"  by Constance Rush

I even spotted a hooked rug at the antique show held on the grounds.  Couldn't have asked for a better day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


"Structure 1" in progress , approximately 48" X 36",  Lori LaBerge  2017

I have been restructuring one of the pieces I began work on at Penland. It was a piece I just wasn't happy with as it looked too pretty. Various blacks and a textured wool were placed on top of and around the cotton section until I arrived at the above. Much more my style.

Here is the piece before:

This was my first time working with no plan, just stitching pieces together. As I always have a design planned, even if just in my head, this threw me off my game. It's just not right. The top was straighter leading down to the slanting of the lower section. This created a lack of balance. Why is the lower section crooked? No real reason there besides experimentation. Not working. 

The colors were lacking the contrast I was looking for. The piece was, also, just too feminine for me. After putting the work aside for a while, I pulled it out this week and decided a strong black would lead to what I was looking for. 

Rough close-up on studio floor

I started by cutting the piece where the lower slant began. I am now ready to create two pieces. The next step was placing dark gray textured strips across the piece. This gave an architectural feel. 

The next step was adding the edges. I continued with an overdyed black wool which worked well, but needed something. A textured wool was brought in to add to the feeling of structure. A plain black wool can barely be noticed directly below the cotton section. It is differentiated from the darker dyed black when you see the work up close.

The black was extended on the left hand side to give the work some space. The piece is now strong and stands well on its own. Now to see how the wool and cotton react to each other when stitched together. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017


In reference to the works I posted from my visit to The Broad, a comment was made questioning "Why are they all men?". Good question. The works posted were by artists I have enjoyed and/or studied in college and beyond and they are all by men. A visit to The Broad's website and a search under the collection link will show they have a good selection of works by women. 

With a background in Art History, I can name quite a few women artists. However, when I asked some people without an art background how many they could name the list came up short (Georgia O'Keefe and Mary Cassatt topped the list and pretty much ended it) and they did not recognize at least three quarters of the names I mentioned.

I love looking at art whether done by a man or a woman. I have juried art into shows by both men and women and have never known before hand whether the work was done by a man or a woman. I am interested in the art. Period. I have been in all women shows and have been one of few women in shows.

I find myself questioning all women shows at times. If men are at the top of the art world, shouldn't we be working toward showing our work beside theirs? If there is one thing I've learned from my husband, national rifle champion in 1991, multiple medal winner and coach of the U.S. team for eight years, it is to look toward those in front of you, watch and learn from them be it man or woman.

Art should be an even playing field, but is it? The upper end of the art world has been moving slowly toward including more women in high end galleries and museum collections. At that level, art is a financial issue. Artists who are well-known tend to lead to large ticket sales. Ticket sales pay the bills. Will people go see women artists if, from my experience, they can't even name a handful of them?

If women's artwork is to get the recognition it deserves it needs to be supported and promoted. Museums need to be aware people are interested in women artists. Artwork by women needs to be purchased by top collectors. Women artists need resources to get their art out there.

So what can we do to help those women near the top of the art world so that they can pave the way for others? 

1.  Study work by current top women artists. Choose a few you really like and write them or go to one of their exhibits. Tell them how you relate to their work. Encourage them.
2.  Go to exhibits by women artists.
2.  Stop at the museum desk and ask about female artists. Are there any plans for solo exhibits of women artists in the future.
3.  Write to galleries after a solo exhibit by a woman artist or after seeing individual works by women.
4.  Write to magazines who have articles on women artists. Make sure you focus on the work, not just the artist being female.

"Shadow Weave: Chiral Fret Wave" by Tauba Auerbach

A woven canvas work by Tauba Auerbach photographed during our visit to The Broad.

I would like to thank the writer of last week's comment.