Saturday, November 28, 2015


 "Dockside"  20" X 20",  Lori LaBerge  2015

"Dockside" is ready for the framing process.  After hooking, I cut metal rods, painted them and attached them to the piece with copper wire.  The metal on the dark side was painted gold and the metal on the light side was painted dark gray so there would be contrast with the background.

 Close-up of  metal section
While looking at some nearby docks and discussing the design with my husband, I decided to wrap yarn around each of the metal rods to mimic the rope tied around some of the poles holding up the docks.  The wire was twisted and left raw on the ends.

I also had time to color plan a design I had worked on for the connection series a couple of months back.  The mix of greens (mint, yellow-green and a chartreuse) should really pop against the gray background colors.  

"Winter Hideaway" in progress, 14" X 14"

With only seven months until the exhibit "Landscape: Four Ways" opens, I have designed twelve of the works to be exhibited.  Hooking on "Winter Hideaway" started this week.  The piece was developed from a sketch done last winter.  With the show being held in July, I'm figuring on having to complete a landscape every two weeks plus still work on my geometric abstracts and plan out a few pedestal works for the show.  When framing is added into the time plan I'll be fairly busy.  After our last artist meeting, I am excited about the exhibit.  We work really well together.

I always find it calming to work in the winter months, even when I am fairly busy. There is something about time alone in the warm studio while the winter wind is blowing outside that is soothing and relaxing.  Find your time and place to relax while creating and have a great day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


 "U-Turn",  19" X 29"   Lori LaBerge  2015

"U-Turn" is basically completed, though it still needs tacking on the backside and a hanging device needs to be attached.  Metal tubes were stitched into place down the center.  I enjoyed working with a different shape in this piece.

Studio work this week also focused on a new composition idea.  There is a lot of talk about inspiration and I truly believe that inspiration is work.  I never find myself sitting around waiting for inspiration to suddenly occur.  

Composition ideas for "Fault Line"

Above is a sketchbook page from this week.  The first idea is in the upper left corner and came from interest in learning there are fault lines that cross in the Linville Falls area of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  When completed, this piece will become part of the Parkway series.

The sketches note where light and dark values will be placed.  The straight line going across and beyond the artwork will be a metal bar attached with screws.  The placement of lines on the first sketch bothered me along with the plain rectangular shape.  The point here is to start with something and go from there.

Experimenting with the placement of lines and going back and forth from making the middle shape either rectangular or with more of a diagonal edge cut by a line going through the work led to a new idea.  The middle shape being broken seemed to call for another section to be added to its right.

While the second sketch down on the left used this idea, the straight edge on the shorter section of the broken rectangle bothered me as it did not denote the broken feel I wanted. The placement of lines, however, did work for me.

The composition decided on is the one furthest to the right in the sketchbook.  One line cuts down the piece and breaks the rectangle into two sections and the lines work well without being distracting.

Will the final work match the drawing?  I never know this until the work is done.

Have some fun working on design ideas, think about why some ideas appear to work while others don't and have a great day.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


"Baroque",  48" X 48"  oil and glass beads on canvas, Catherine Hall

While back in Vermont I decided to reconnect with my college art professor, Catherine Hall.  We often don't take the time to thank people who have made a difference in our lives. There are times we are with them for short periods and we move on.  It has been close to 30 years since we had talked and after seeing an article in the local paper on her artwork, I knew it was time to stop by and say "hello" to her.  

View of section of Catherine Hall's studio

We met at her studio in downtown Burlington.  Catherine is a versatile artist, exploring work in paint, encaustic, paper, sculpture and installation art.  Her materials consist of paper-mache, japanese rice papers, wax, dyes, plaster and oil paints among others.

Left side of Catherine Hall's studio

We talked about memories from the lecture hall and studio classes.  Projects she had students working on back then included collaborative murals, encaustic, egg tempera, oils, and weaving.  I still have some of my projects from those days.  My old Janson's History of Art and Arnason's History of Modern Art books are on my studio shelf today. 

A wonderful little alcove in Catherine Hall's studio

During our conversation, I learned of Catherine's link to the fiber arts.  Her father had run a textile mill in England.  She spoke of her daughter, Meg, who has an art studio in Brooklyn.  Meg Lipke works in felted wool as well as being a painter.  

There is an excellent article Catherine wrote telling of the art connection between her mother, herself and her daughter.  She writes about the textile mill, yarns, and includes photos of works.  The article portrays the strength of women in the art field and is inspiring to both current and future artists.  It can be read here.

By Catherine Hall, 2015

Of course, I couldn't leave without purchasing a piece of art.  I'm excited to return back to North Carolina and hang the above work in its new home.  

Look up those who have inspired you, aided you in your artistic work or simply been a source of encouragement and have a great day.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


"U-Turn" in progress, 19" X 29",  Lori LaBerge  2015

Hooking was completed on "U-Turn" this week.  I still need to find metal parts and will have to wait until I return home to complete the piece.  I wanted to make this piece a bit unsettling.  This was accomplished by centering the rust rectangles while placing the u-turn itself off center.  It is related to the unsettled feeling we may have when we reach a point in our life that we need to turn around and start over or try a different route.  

The finishing of the edges has not been decided yet.  I am debating between whipping them or folding the linen toward the back.

While hooking "U-Turn", I found I did not have the right color wool for the top of the work.  I wanted a darker beige.  The wool I brought with me was too light and had a grayish tint that blended too closely with the gray shades below it.  Luckily, while going through old clothes to donate to Good Will I found a plaid blazer.   After cutting the blazer up, the wool was washed, dried and hooked. Perfect shade!

Plan for "Dockside",  Lori LaBerge  2015

One thing I love about creating art is how it can change during the process.  The design above was created a few weeks back.  As I started the hooking process, I decided against the rectangular section.  I had done it before and it was not fitting the feel I wanted for the piece.  I knew this would be a piece with water and I wanted more of a free feeling rather than containment for the water section.

"Dockside" in progress  20 X 20,  Lori LaBerge  2015

I did away with the rectangle and decided to fill one of the shaped areas with multiple shades of blue and green.  I like seeing how things change and grow as artists progress in their work.  Sometimes the reasons are simple (mine was avoiding repetition of a rectangular shape I had used before and creating a flow for a water feel) and other times they are more complex, but change always leads us somewhere new with our work.

Look at your favorite artists work through time, see how it changed during their careers and have a great day.