Saturday, August 31, 2013


This was another busy week.  Monday was spent on jury duty, which was quite an experience.  Tuesday through Friday were spent placing siding on the studio building. There was time, however, to sneak in a bit of hooking.

"Road Movie" in progress  20 X 20  Lori LaBerge  2013

The difference in value between the two lower blues may not be enough.  It is better than the photo shows, but may need to be adjusted.  My thought at this point is to mix a lighter value in with the middle blue, adding interest as well as lightening up that particular section.  As usual, I will wait and see as the piece progresses.

For an art journal exercise this week, I turned to the surrealists.  I have been interested in surreal art since college.  Modern Art History was required for my minor and I was drawn to the work of Rene Magritte.  Where did he get those ideas?  This has been on my mind every since I drew out "The Giant Red Pear Warehouse".   I have decided to work on my off hours (I'll find some somewhere.) beginning a surreal series with each piece including a pear.

"The Giant Red Pear Warehouse"  digital art  Lori LaBerge  2013

A great exercise for thinking in a surreal fashion is to create columns of words consisting of nouns, verbs and prepositional phrases.  This is a game my husband and I used to play with the kids to learn the parts of speech.   Here is an example: 

Nouns                         Verbs                                         Prepostional Phrases

Pears                         singing                                        in a warehouse
Boats                         walking                                        on a pier
Chairs                        swimming                                    in a tub
Boxes                         relaxing                                      on a beach
Books                         strolling                                      with an umbrella
Cat                             jumping                                      from a skyscraper
Vases                        riding                                          on a skateboard

Now mix up the columns. Some examples from above would be "books walking on a beach" or "boxes jumping in a tub".  You can tone it down and just use the nouns and prepositional phrases.  How about a chair on a beach (make it an unexpected chair) or a model sailboat on a skateboard.  I really like that one!  This is a great way to get your mind thinking creatively.

American Art Collector magazine, September 2013

My favorite surreal artist of today is Andrea Kowch, whose work is pictured on the cover of American Art Collector above.  Her work is realistic, surreal, etheral, haunting and beautiful all at the same time.  It just takes me to another place and has me forever wondering what her subjects are thinking about.

If you are interested in painting, American Art Collector magazine is an excellent resource showing the work of some of the most talented painters around today.

Mix things up, think a little differently and have a great day.


  This week's work on the siding.

Do it yourself building takes forever,  I have decided to use the as yet unfinished space whenever I can.  Here is an art frame I was sanding.  You just have to do what makes you happy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


An e-mail was received this week that "Rural/Urban Compatibility" was juried into "A Fine Line - Contemporary Drawing" at Morehead State University.

"Rural/Urban Compatibility"  Lori LaBerge  2013

It is always great to see rug hooking recognized in shows that contain other media.  I was informed about the exhibit from Susan Feller, who suggested I apply.   

It is always difficult to decide whether to apply to an exhibit or not.  It takes a careful reading of the theme to decide whether a piece would fit with it or not.  There is also the venue.   I think universities are always a good venue for an artist.  These are places where the learning of art takes place and new ideas are encouraged.  There is also the juror to consider.  If this is someone I would be happy to have choose my work, I would be more likely to apply.

  It was a week of paperwork.

It pays to look carefully at what is required in the application.  Reread everything. Some calls for entry simply require name and photo while others may require resumes and artist statements in addition to a quality photo of the work.  Slim down the resume by picking and choosing what best shows your experience.  I include solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, any work related to art, awards, publications, work related to art (jurying, gallery salesperson, setting up shows, etc), public promotion of art and teaching experience. Each category is dated with most recent information first.  

Look at the jurying fee and be sure to be ready to pay shipping fees back and forth if your work is accepted.  Before sending out information, reread again and make sure all forms are filled out completely and all required information is enclosed. Leaving out anything can mean your application is put to the side and not looked at. Never be discouraged if your work is not accepted.  There are a multitude of reasons for this and jurors have to make limited selections of work and plan a cohesive exhibit.

This week was also spent creating a new design for "The Roads We Travel" series.  Here is a look at how it developed: 

I really enjoyed working on the last piece which included 2-inch squares and wanted to incorporate them into a new design.  This design did not have my eye moving the way I wanted it to.  The top and bottom were missing something and my eye seemed to be going out of the design instead of into it, following that last middle square to the edge of the frame.

This version improved on the first.  I eliminated the middle grouping of squares and placed where colors would go.  The top and bottom seemed to still be lacking something. It was just too plain.

This is where things changed a bit as a new idea developed.  I was watching "Thelma and Louise" and thought about road movies.  These are movies where characters travel from one place to another and learn about themselves along the way.  I decided to incorporate a film strip on the top and bottom.  Still not what I was going for but getting closer.  I changed the color to blue as blue represents freedom and I liked that thought to go with traveling on the road.

Here, I changed the white lines to go on top of the blue.  This allowed me to separate out different shades of blue within that area.  Like this a lot better, but the top and bottom were still bothering me.

This is where I brought the black squares closer to the top and bottom edges.  This allowed me to incorporate the black strips into them and add another thinner black strip, creating a more film strip type look.  I like the balance of the piece better and the way the background shows through the film strip area.  This will be the final design.

Create your own designs, enjoy the process of change that occurs as you go along and have a great day.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The hooking on "Coastal Route" was completed this week.  

"Coastal Route"  20 X 20  Lori LaBerge  2013

This piece ended up with the feel I was going for.  Though it may seem like all the lines and squares would make it busy, the color palette of grays and blues give it a calm and serene feel.  It is the feeling I have when we are driving along the ocean, taking in the salty air and watching the waves slowly come upon the shore and fade into the sand beneath.  I find myself longing for a trip to the coast.

I have been trying to tell stories with "The Roads We Travel' series.  It can be a difficult thing to do with geometric abstracts.  During the creation process I wonder "Will viewers understand the work?",  "Will viewers be able to tell their own story through my work?", and "Are these roads the viewer has also traveled, whether literally or emotionally?"  I hope to be able to improve on this aspect as the series progresses.  Every series is full of challenges.

  "Bump and Grind"  18 X 24  Lori LaBerge  2013, created for "The Moods of Color and Value" curated by Susan Feller.

The internet always surprises me.  In January of 2012, I was contacted by Susan Feller after she saw my work in a "Pushing the Limits" exhibit.  We have been in contact ever since.  

Susan is a wonderful friend.  She is one of the most encouraging people I have ever had the pleasure of communicating with and her contemporary pieces show the breadth of her creativity.   Recently, her work was juried into 7Stitch, a show at Morehead State University.  Susan is talented in creating both traditional and contemporary work.

Last August, Susan contacted me to participate in "The Moods of Color and Value", currently on exhibit at Sauder Village, with eight other artists. We each chose a color and created a piece encompassing our emotional reaction to that color.  My choice was orange and my first reaction was movement.  This led to the idea of dancing torsos. I used the lyrics of Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky" to bring in green polka dots and purple stripes.

 An orange colored sky across the field in front of our house.  Gotta love living here!

I've been in contact through the internet just this past week with Jen Lavoie.  There was recently a class reunion site set up for our 35th high school reunion.  I placed a post and Jen contacted me.  35 years!  I could not believe she was a rug hooker! She is show chair for the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild, has won awards for her work,  and has had her rugs photographed for books.    

Jen is a true artist.  Her work is realistic with wonderfully blended colors and depth. She brings an emotion to her works that gives a feeling of being in the scene she has depicted.  Her work has been shown at the Cooley Gallery and more works can be seen here.

Enjoy the wonderful talents of others, connect, let your common interests bring you together and have a great day!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


"Coastal Route" in progress,  20" X 20"  Lori LaBerge  2013

Gray wool is flying through the cutter as "Coastal Route" progresses.  I am hoping to complete the hooking and start on whipping the edges this coming week.  The decision has been made to definitely change the upper left white line now that more of the piece is hooked.  It is a bit too choppy over the second from left dark square and needs to be smoothed out.

I had a visit from friend and weaver Mary Kircher this week.  Mary had been working as an assistant in a tapestry class at Penland for two weeks and took some time on her way home to stop by and say hello.  She showed me four of the smaller pieces she had worked on.  Her color combinations were beautiful. Mary's work can be seen here.  After her visit, I followed the urge to work on something new.

I thought of last week's journal activity and decided to hook one of the drawings done using three lines.  Here is the result: 

    "Architecture 1"  10" X 10", Lori LaBerge  2013

The plan for this piece was to focus on shape and color.  With that in mind, I filled the buildings in randomly rather than in a vertical direction.  The upper section was hooked horizontally for contrast.  It is a minimalist, geometric approach with no windows or doors that would normally appear on a building.  For those of you who like geometric forms you can go to Geoform, which shows the work of artists who focus on this aspect of art.  

This weekend, I plan to go back to school in my own living room.  I have to admit, I miss the art history lectures from my college years.  Recently I purchased two courses from The Great Courses.  If you do want to purchase, I would suggest waiting for their sales which are quite frequent and a great bargain.

You simply play the DVD and it is like you are right back in the old lecture hall. There are plenty of pictures to go along with the video lecture and the professors are well respected in their fields.  Also included is a course guidebook.  The courses I purchased were  "How to Look at and Understand Great Art" and "The World's Greatest Paintings".  

Grab your favorite drink, curl up in your favorite chair, do a search on art history and have a great day.  If you want to test your knowledge there are a variety of art quizzes at FunTrivia.)

Saturday, August 3, 2013


This was a busy week and I surprised myself by actually getting some hooking done.  I am loving working on this piece.  

"Coastal Route" in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2013.  

I may change the upper left white line as things progress.  For now I will leave as is since it will be an easy fix if needed.  The blues are giving the calm, relaxed feel I am going for.

The grouping of small squares is allowing me to really focus on each section in relation to the others around it.  After each section is completed I ask myself "Are the lines straight?" and " Are the loops packed too tightly to keep the square in proportion once the next square is hooked?" 

Though hooking was started, I decided to put the original sketch into Photoshop and add some color to see how the whole piece will feel.  Here is the Photoshop picture:

Color added to "Coastal Route" design in Photoshop.  I also drew in the metal which will be attached to the piece.

I am torn between using and not using technology to create handmade pieces.  The more I use it, the better I feel about it.  I no longer think that placing color in a hand drawn design with Photoshop is any different than placing the colors with paint or colored pencils. Sometimes I feel like a brush and pencil and sometimes I feel like using the computer.  It is a matter of preference.  

The art journal exercise worked on this week relates to lines.  This is a great exercise for both realistic and abstract artists.  Draw twelve squares on a sheet of paper.  Within each square draw only three lines.  A line ends when you lift your writing utensil or touch the edge of the square.  The lines do not have to be straight. For example, a circle would qualify as one drawn line.  I also limited myself to 10 minutes, but there is no time limit on this exercise.

Art journal page

I seemed to spend most of my 10 minutes deciding which direction to go with this, but once I started on the architectural theme it went fast.  This type of exercise encourages working with limitations.  When limited, how far can you go?  I am now contemplating a series of small architectural works.  You cannot just sit back and wait for inspiration to happen, you have to work at it.

There are no limitations in the art world, but forcing them upon yourself now and then can stretch creativity.  It is similar to working with what you have.  I can't count the times I have grabbed a stash box full of wool and just worked with what was in it.

Try working with some limitations this week, see if it changes your outlook and have a great day.


 Here's where we are now.  Luckily, my husband knows how to do wiring, so I am in training.  When we are done we just have to call the inspector to check it.

 Recessed lighting is being placed up above.

 Picked up this cool faucet for the dye sink.

Went into Asheville to pick up the sink.  Also stopped at Papa's and Beer Mexican Restaurant for a margarita and spinach quesadilla because all work and no play is just not a good thing.