Our first ever guest blog written by Lori LaBerge! Lori is an incredible artist and a wonderful teacher. Read more about what motivates and inspires her and what her class will encompass below!
By: Lori LaBerge
The world is full of sites we overlook and pass by without a second thought. What if we really looked at things? What if we not only viewed subjects outdoors, but experienced them and brought that experience to our work? Working outdoors, or en plein air (in the open air), opens our eyes. We learn to see in new ways and to fully experience our subject matter.
What do you see? A broken down home or stone, steps, doorway, windows, weather-worn edges, collapsed stone, falling chimney, overgrown grass, moss and a feeling of isolation.
It was while sitting on the front deck overlooking the mountains that my thoughts turned to friends who paint. They learn, laugh and create some of their work outdoors. They meet in groups and share their knowledge of art while painting in the sun, wind, shade or even snow. I began to wonder why rug hookers could not have the same experience. What could we learn? How could we laugh? How could we create our work outdoors?
Typical outdoor set-up with supplies
Through plein air study I have expanded my knowledge of elements such as line, shape, space, value, texture, form and color. Seeing these elements in life brings a broader knowledge of how they function. I have read how shadows change with light, but stepping outside and watching the shadow of a tree change position as the light changes throughout the day brings that knowledge to life.
Plein air artists are known for creating realistic portrayals of the outdoors. They capture a moment in time with attention to light, much as the Impressionists did.
The bare branches of a small tree underneath a bridge and the light on the water grabbed my attention, leading to a combination of realism and abstraction.
What if we are not realists? What if we choose to depict the outdoors abstractly or in any other style? There is no reason to limit yourself. Creating art is a process of discovering yourself, trying new directions and finding what you are drawn to.
Here I studied shapes and shadows to create a geometric work from an outdoor sketch
I laugh to myself, and occasionally out loud, as I work. Every piece I have completed outside has an experience attached to it. There was the day I hooked on the sand by the ocean and a dog ran in front of me to catch a Frisbee while families played on the beach. Another time a bird landed in my pile of wool and flew off with a strip of wool hanging from its beak. If I were working in the studio, would a family of turkeys have walked right in front of a scene I was hooking? These memories will be with me forever.
“The Art of Plein Air” class at Green Mountain Rug School will allow us to laugh and learn while expressing ourselves artistically.
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