Saturday, September 8, 2018


"Blueprint Aqua"  6" X 12"  Lori LaBerge  2018

This work is the first of a triptych. It was brought about by water, how our interiors are an escape from the exteriors, how our homes are part of our community, and how color affects the perception of a work.

The design process is done through sketches and drawings on paper and through the use of Photoshop. As a means of recording works I take photos, print out copies of the process and place them in file folders. Included for this work are:

The sketch of the background layer of the work for hooking and blueprint for painting.

Color plan for background layer

Mock up of final look of work minus blueprint along with framing option. A photo of the actual work with framing will be taken when done.

Information on work including title, artist, size, materials, framing and design thoughts. Any future information (shows, sales, etc.)  will be added as needed.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


"Where We Live"  30 1/4" X 12 1/2",  Lori LaBerge  2018

We had a wonderful vacation, but there is always something special about returning home. It is where we live. What does a house say about us? How do we treat it? Is it a place to escape from the world and relax? Is it a place to share with family and friends? Does it tell others about us?

"Where We Live" explores these thoughts. A modern home is fronted by walls or fencing and a small gated opening. In the background are four figures. Friends? Family? I prefer this piece to be left to the imagination of the viewer. 

I'll leave you with some of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Nina Persson:

"And maybe dreaming of houses can save me
Give me a place where it's quiet 
And my head can rest at night
Oh maybe dreaming of houses can save me
Scenes in the wallpaper
Map the architecture of my mind"

You can listen to this song here.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


 Standing next to "Lion" by Bernard Langlais

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine may be small in size, but don't let that fool you. The museum has shown the work of major artists. An outdoor sculpture garden greets visitors who can stroll the grounds and also catch a beautiful view of the ocean. There are plenty of benches to sit down, breathe in some ocean air, revel in the art and do some sketching.

"This is Us"  J.T. Gibson

On our trip, the work of Lois Dodd was featured. The simplicity of her work has always drawn me to it. Dodd studied both art and textile design. 

 "Green Shotgun House, Baton Rouge"  Lois Dodd

 "Red Drape, Blue Shadows"  Lois Dodd

"House and Barn"  Lois Dodd

Close up. Sketching and grid lines were left to show on the final work.

Works by other artists on display:

  "Interior, From the Living Room"  John Edward Heliker

"Great Windows"  John Hultberg

"Birds of Paradise"  Beverly Hallam

 "Emily Dickinson Poem Number 1101"  Will Barnet

"Vapor"  Dozier Bell

Friday, August 3, 2018


Untitled work in design process,  14" X 11"  Lori LaBerge  2018

Shape is an important part of the design process. The shape of a work has to be decided on as well as how shapes will be formed within the work.

Start of design idea for overlay, Lori LaBerge  2018

My current work is developed in three layers. An underlayer, an overlayer and a blueprint layer.

Shapes we see are defined by other shapes around them. The shape of the turquoise rectangle above is a rectangle due to the way the shapes around it are placed. If one or more other shapes had been overlapped onto the rectangle the shape could easily change. If one shape changes due to the shape of another the decision has to be made as to whether the new shape works with the artist's intention or not.

The intention of the overlayer shown above is to show an aerial view of a city section. Things begin to change again when the blueprint layer (in white lines) is added to the work. 

Shapes in the work become divided, forming other shapes. For example, the red on the left is now divided into three shapes, an L and two rectangles. The only diagonal line is added to the bottom right which forms a triangle in a section of the dark gray. The blueprint section is an open shape which can be entered near the diagonal line. The variety is added by the background being composed of closed shapes.

Related designs in progress

Changes in shape led to the related ideas above. The large circle overlapped by turquoise vs. the small circle. The horizontal rectangular turquoise vs. the mint green vertical rectangle. The vertical ivory line not touching the top of the work vs. touching the top. The royal blue rectangle extended beyond the turquoise vs. the light blue being shorter and held within the green. 

Shapes can also add simplicity or complexity. A few large shapes vs. numerous small shapes or squares and rectangles vs. angled and organic shapes are two examples of this. 

Art Exercise-
Look at the shapes in abstract artwork and how they were formed by shapes around them and think about why the artist may have wanted a certain shape.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


"Enter Aqua"  14" X 11", Lori LaBerge  2018

Last week's post was about the design of this work. This week bright colors, houses and water are going through my mind as summer moves along. "Enter Aqua" contains all three of these. Bright colors of green, turquoise, pink and white dominate the central area. The turquoise building becomes reminiscent of water with a combination of vertical and horizontal lines through it. Houses surround the center welcoming one into the scene. 

Angles are everywhere in the underlayer of this work with more created from the painting on the top layer. The juxtaposition of straight lines against a few wavy or jagged lines lend an imperfect feel. The white lines were done by hand and left as they are for the same reason. 

Close-up of "Enter Aqua"

As summer moves along vacation is approaching. Our destination will be Maine and I started stacking a variety of books I can relax with (it is vacation after all) that contain houses as an important element. Here's the list (fiction and non-fiction):

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen-  a parody of the Gothic novels I read as a teenager and still love

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne- the story of the Pyncheon family and how a cursed house affects them

Death in the Castle by Pearl S. Buck-a story of a couple obsessed with their castle and their reluctance to let a buyer move it piece by piece to its new location

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- a mystery is contained in the inheritance of a family home

The Murder at Hazelmoor by Agatha Christie- Guest are invited to Sittaford House and before they know it they are involved in a murder case

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James- a governess is hired to tend to two children at a country home as supernatural events begin to plague her

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton- A woman is not happy in her new home and received a miniature replica which she proceeds to furnish with the help of a miniaturist. Secrets become revealed.

A Mansion in the Mountains by Phillip T. Noblitt- Moses and Bertha Cone create a mansion off the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. (We have visited Blowing Rock Manor numerous times, the family made their fortune in denim in the textile industry.)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett- A monk decides to build a great cathedral. Set in 12th century England.

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan- Consuelo Vanderbilt writes of life in aristocratic times, including Blenheim Palace where Churchill was born. (I picked this up on our first trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC)

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe- A classic early Gothic written in 1794. A woman's parents die, she is kept prisoner in a castle as her abductor looks for her to marry into money he can then possess. Lots of description and a tour de force of the psychological state of the characters.

Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier- A woman marries a man whose first wife drowned. The truth of her death evolves throughout the story. Mrs. Danvers is one of the best characters in fiction.

The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake- An odd assortment of characters live in Gormenghast Castle. This was a PBS series and the author is said to rival Tolkien though he never became as popular.

The Fate of the English Country House by David Littlejohn- The author covers a variety of country houses throughout England and discusses their downfall, use as tourist attractions and the importance of Britain protecting these homes along with their place in art history.

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Design and color plan of overlay for "Enter Aqua", 14" x 11"   Lori LaBerge  2018

This design brings back memories of neighborhoods I have entered. The surprise of what is around the corner and what will be discovered. The joy of finding a building that stands out from others due to shape or color. The invitation to explore and feel welcome in a new place.

This idea developed from a stairway. It was like jumping off the stairs into an imaginary world. It is planned as the overlay for a painted textile.

The left edge of this stairway struck me as a rooftop. I took to sketching.

Here the various shapes from the photo are sketched out. 

The triangle on the left is enlarged to eliminate some odd angles.

 The bottom shape on the right side is elongated to start working on balance and add a bit of depth leading to the center of the piece. The architectural aspects are coming into play.

 Some of the upper lines were eliminated and a rectangular shape started the focus of the piece.

 The bottom diagonal line is straightened while the center diagonal lines are moved so they do not meet the triangle tip and top of new straightened line. This adds a more interesting shape to the center rectangle. The smaller rectangle's top is given a horizontal edge.

 Details are added in. The half circle, a smaller rectangle on the left to break up a larger shape and lines on top of sections of two diagonals and one horizontal.

A 2-value plan is sketched up to know where lights and darks will be placed. The darks surround and enclose the lighter areas.

The final decision for color use.

All that is left is the decision as to what the hooked underlayer will look like before being painted over.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


"Blueprint 2",  14" X 11"   Lori LaBerge  2018

Last week the thought of using a closeup section of one piece to create another took root. "Blueprint 2" uses a sketch of the layout of city buildings and overlaps them with lines that depict interior spaces. Here is how the studio process worked:

This is the closeup section used as the basis of "Blueprint 2". It shows how you can start with a section of one work and develop something totally different in a finished artwork.

This work was hooked as the foundation to be painted over. Values and hue were taken into account to fit with the completed work and how the paint would affect the colors. If you look closely at the finished work you can see this structure as the underlayer.

The paint starts to be applied. A division of a gray and blue section was decided upon representing both the city and the idea of a blueprint.

Various blues and grays continue to be applied.

The cityscape is finished and it is time for the blueprint lines to be painted over the top.

The finished work to be matted and framed.