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.