Saturday, July 29, 2017


Work in progress,  14" X 11"  Lori LaBerge  2017

A title for this work has not been decided on yet. It is based on city buildings. The white half circle developed from the shape on top of one of the doors on a building, though I placed it sideways. The black circle was divided into 2/3 on the right and 1/3 on the left.

The textured gray section has bits of red running through it to play off of the red sections of the work. There is a bright turquoise and a duller turquoise running through it, also. This gives the gray a bluer look overall. It works well with the red and I'll see how it works once the pink is added.

The idea was drawn out in a sketchbook. There are plenty of erasures before I get to something workable. The photo shows where I had originally placed a triangle in the back. If I think a composition is headed in the right direction, even if future changes may be needed, a check mark is placed next to it.

 Color planning on work,  Lori LaBerge  2017

Photoshop was used to work with color planning. A left section of the black was added to the original sketch along with an angle on the bottom gray.  I wanted to repeat the angle from the red for more cohesion. This will be added to the hooking as I work.

The piece reminds me a bit of mid-century modern design with the bold shapes and wild colors. Mid-century modern was set from approximately the 1940's to the 1960's. It focused on graphic design and included furniture and architectural designs. It was a time when pop art and other ideas were developing. 

Enjoy some wild mid-century artwork and color by clicking here. It may bring back some memories if you were born in the 50's or 60's.

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"