Friday, April 26, 2013


This week I continued some work on the latest road series piece.  As you can see below, very little was accomplished as we traveled up to Vermont and are currently visiting my parents.  The next two weeks Kami LaBerge will be taking over the blog from Los Angeles, CA.  She will show you some of their museums and other things related to the art world.

"Through the Cherry Blossoms"  in progress, Lori LaBerge  2013

For a journal project, I decided to look at some of the rug hookings I've done throughout the years.  I do not have photos of most of my very early work as I had an older camera and was not using the computer back then.  

   2001-- "Spring's Gift" was one of the first large patterns I worked on.  Patterns are a great place for beginners to start.  You can learn from others designs before working on you own.  I completed the floral center first and waited quite a while to attempt the scrolls.  Florals are quite popular and it is a great way to learn shading.

  2002--I did quite a lot of original realistic pieces early on.  This was derived from a photo I took on a trip to England.  Each of the abbey's we visited had a resident cat. The cat and vases were added for interest, but I just loved the angle of the windows.

  2005--This seemed to be a year when I did a variety of pieces and stayed with creating my own designs.  There was a lot of experimenting with where I really wanted to go with my work.  Animals are always a favorite.

  Another 2005.  I had taken a class and was told there was no such thing as a blue leaf.  I did a green leaf in class and came home and designed this, where I did my own blue leaf.  Lesson learned:  Don't let anyone tell you you can't create what you want with your art.

  2005 again.  This is where the stripes began to develop.  As I look at these pieces done in the same year, I wonder if the above tree piece with the tall stripe-like trees, led to the decision to do strictly stripes.

 2007-2010-- These years consisted of quite a few crow pieces.  These developed from a move to Spruce Pine, NC where our front field was full of crows.  They varied from realistic to the start of abstraction in "Tears of the Crow" above.

  2011--  I turned back to stripes during this year and have never looked back.  I seem to see them everywhere.

  2012--  A variation of the stripe is used in the latest road series group.  In this series the stripe varies from straight to curved to cut-off to random and more.  

Look back on your own past work, try finding how you got to where you are today with your pieces and have a great day.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The urge to work a little larger hit me this week.  I will be heading to Vermont on Saturday for a two week period and do not want to bring multiple pieces to work on. An 18" X 60" piece was designed, wool dyed and hooking started.  The design is based on one I had developed during a weaving class at Penland.

  "Through the Cherry Blossoms" in progress  18" X 60"  Lori LaBerge  2013

There will be alternating lilac and pink down the center strip, random white lines through the piece and various grays in light, medium and dark in the background.

hand-dyed wool

When I decided on colors, my son stated they reminded him of a cherry blossom tree.  That idea led to the title "Through the Cherry Blossoms".  The deeper pink is fairly bright, but should be fine once the grays are surrounding it.

I took a break from hooking on Friday to work on a journal activity.  A list was made of my ten favorite artists along with short notes on what I like about their work.  They are in order by time period.  

1.  Vincent van Gogh-  swirling brushstrokes with lots of texture, bold use of color in later works (around 1888) which was a change from his earlier use of duller colors. Love his paintings of buildings and was lucky enough to find a Kindle download at Amazon of 500 works for a mere $3.99.  Now I can look at photos of Van Gogh's work on my Kindle or ipad to relax in the evenings.  Heaven!

2.  Henri Matisse-  wild, happy, pure color.  Used color unrealistically as form of expression.  This had a strong influence on many of the artists who followed him.

3.  Amedeo Modigliani-  simple, elongated portraits.  There is something melancholy and intriguing about his work.  His interest in African masks can be seen in his portraits.  He portrays average people and does not attempt to make them appear regal in any way, though there is an elegance to the longer necks.

4.  Lauren Harris-  simplicity and wonderful use of shadows.  He was one of Canada's Group of Seven artists.

5.  Joseph Albers-  use of the geometric, color relations.  For those interested in how colors interact with each other, this is your guy.  It takes a great deal of dedication and discipline to work on repetitive pieces.  When you see his Homage to the Square series as a grouping, it is a breathtaking wall of color.

6. Aaron Douglas-  a clean style with the ability to create emotion even though he is using flat silhouetted figures.

7. Georgia O'Keeffe-  though known for her flower paintings, I am drawn to her buildings.  They are defined with great geometric lines.  I especially love "New York Street Moon" as, for me, it tricks the eye.  I am drawn to the sharp jagged shape of the sky area before my eyes are drawn to the shape of the buildings.  My eyes go back and forth between negative and positive space.

8.  Frank Stella-  canvases of various shapes, stripes, color, geometrics.  Not sure about his latest works, but I love those geometrics.

9.  Sean Scully-  abstraction ,stripes, stripes, stripes! and areas of color built up through layers.  Like Albers, great dedication and discipline, working with stripes for years.

10.  El Anatsui-  light and shadow created by the draping of attached items such as milk tins and bottle caps.  I can't believe the beauty he has portrayed with found objects.  He also uses wood for some pieces. 

This activity brought back college memories of art history class. Sipping on a Coke and viewing painting after painting on the huge screen in the auditorium. Those were the days! 

The internet is a wonderful source for viewing artwork.  Look up your favorite artists, determine what it is you like about their work and have a great day.

Studio Update:

The windows were finally installed this week.  Now we need to work on more roofing.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


"Night Ride"  14 X 14  Lori LaBerge  2013

The hooking on the fourth of the road series, "Night Ride" was completed this week. The work includes both a house key and a car key, ready to take the viewer out for a ride.  I used squares in the background of the piece as they remind me of the grids on maps.  Three values of gray were used for the evening sky's transition from light to dark.  The washer was placed so that it could represent the moon in the night sky.

    Close-up of key area

In working on this series I am finding the background areas to be a challenge.  With the predominance of gray, there needs to be care taken in how the variety of grays are placed.  The grays placed near the one color have to vary in value from the color so the color does not disappear.

Earlier this week, I had some people ask about an exercise for thinking abstractly, so this week's journal activity relates to this.

The first step is to create a viewfinder by cutting a piece of cardboard into two "L" shapes as seen below.

This technique works better than a square cutout as the "L" shapes allow you to adjust the size of the viewfinder.

Look through various magazines (I used Interior Design magazine as I love all of the modern products they show) and place the viewfinder in various areas looking for something that has a nice composition. 

I found an advertisement for lighting fixtures and focused on a small section of the photo.  I love the bold curved red stripe outlined in black blazing through the white and gray background.  I also like the width of the stripe in relation to the background.

This was a section of an ad for a fan company.  I am actually tempted to hook this as a runner.  I would love it in a hallway!  However, this is not my design and belongs to the photographer or the company who had it photographed.  I would need to make design changes to make it my own.  Look at the relation of white to green.  Any more white might be a bit overwhelming.  The thick and thin areas of white add interest.

This was part of a photo of a metal table with the image rotated.  I liked the way this angle made the shape of the letter "A".  It would be a great idea to do a series of abstract alphabet letters.

The original picture was of a living room scene.  I really like the red against the black wall.  Notice how two-thirds of the viewfinder image is black and one-third is red. This makes for a nice image.  I also noticed how the middle pillow is on top of the others, leading to the idea of placing one hooked piece on top of others so the hooked work would have dimension.

This exercise is great not only for composition, but for future ideas for works. 

Create a viewfinder, find some old magazines, search out some new ideas and have a great day.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


The third piece in the road series project was hooked this week.  I normally veer toward yellow-greens, but lately I have been trying to go outside of my normal color use so I chose a piece of wool I had dyed emerald and mint green.  To my surprise I found that Pantone, the authority on color, has made emerald green the color of the year for 2013.  Go here to see Pantone's page and slide show on the color emerald. 

"Time to Go"  14 X 14  Lori LaBerge  2013

"Time to Go"  depicts a main roadway in green and various routes in white.  The background represents u-turns with the thought of coming and going.  A washer was attached to represent a clock while the fishing sinker below represents a pendulum. It seems like it is always time to go somewhere, whether shopping, picking up kids, a long country ride, vacation or other destination.  I definitely see an influence from Josef Albers Homage to the Square series, which I love. 

Yesterday, it was time for me to go to the PAF Gallery and take down my exhibit. Three weeks goes by so fast, it seems I was just there setting it up and teaching a class. My journal activity this week was to check out some of Siler City's artists.

Johnny Glaze, a potter and metal worker with a studio at the Incubator, was at my opening and I really enjoyed discussing ideas with him.

Here are a few of Johnny's works.  I love the texture in the larger piece, it makes you want to touch it.  That small piece on the right is pretty much how I look when I have to get up early in the morning.  Love all the little characters he creates.

Here are some more pieces with great texture.  Look at all the shapes he incorporates into each piece.  Simply wonderful!

Karen Stack, who participated in my beginning rug hooking class, was in her studio working with leather.  You can see and purchase her products at her etsy shop.  

Here is a carved piece of leather on  Karen's worktable.  She showed me all the tools she works with to create her designs.

Karen's custom leather clothing and handbags.  These are absolutely beautiful! The leather has such a soft feel to it.

My next stop was across the street at Person to Person Gallery.  I met Roger when I used to have my studio in Siler City.  He is one of the most talented and creative artists I have met and has a wonderful sense of humor.

Roger created these works from instruments he had been given.  They are alive with personality, looking like they are ready for a good party.

This scene greets you to your left as you enter the gallery.  Great combinations and works that make you stop and look.  Though Roger does not consider himself a painter, I am drawn to quite a few of his paintings.  Love the way he combined the three canvases on the wall piece.  The big head flying the plane is priceless!

Yes, those are mannequin legs holding up that giraffe in his own special chair. Great!

These houses are Roger's current project.  Love the way they tilt creating a sense of whimsy.

As if one gallery is not enough to keep him busy, Roger's second gallery is kitty corner across the street from Person to Person.

At the Wingnut Gallery are more of Roger's paintings.  I have loved that rabbit since the first time I saw it.  I just really like all the colors in these works.  They make me happy!  I may need to save up some more money for my art addiction.

Meet "Rasta Man".  This is an amazing piece.  The animal skull, pipes for arms, and Roger even felted the dreads himself.  Just great use of various objects to create art.

Take some time to explore artists in your area, ask them about their process, savor the joy artists bring to others through their art and have a great day.