My artistic story begins the day I was able to pick up a pencil. Even at a young age I was fortunate to have inherent dexterity and any painting tool or drawing instrument felt natural cradled in my left hand. I attended SUNY Potsdam for two years and transferred to SUNY Stony Brook. I felt the need to get all of my core requirements done in the early years of college – leaving all of my art classes for the end.
In my senior year at Stony Brook I went to see my art advisor for help with my final year’s course load (I needed extra time since I transferred and had a ton of art to make up). He drew a deep breath and told me that based on the doodles on the back of my notebook, that I should rethink my art career. I did. I quit Stony Brook that year. This is my biggest regret – yet strongest inspiration.
I had learned that I was dyslexic in fourth grade and have since become a pictorial learner. Even though I didn’t have a degree, somehow my visual methodology of learning helped me to impart my knowledge easily. I started teaching graphic design, computer illustration, and ultimately, fine art.
The senseless, heart breaking tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut was the painful catalyst for me to immerse myself back into portraiture. I was haunted by the beautiful faces of these angels and began, through tears, to try to capture their reflection. It was through these faces that I regained my love for art and passion for expression. I received an amazing gift from the ashes of sadness that I will never forget. I have since donated my portraits to the families of Sandy Hook and Arapaho, Colorado shooting victims.
I have recently moved to Pittsburgh from Colorado. I work in my studio daily and am currently doing a series of portraits to raise awareness for the refugee crisis. These renderings are my therapy and creativity is my aspiration. I have learned that I have not learned enough. I strive to grow as an artist and teach others. Though graphite is my favorite medium – I am dabbling with oil paint. This I find to be a lifelong education. My traditional realism inclination has been greatly influenced by the eminent masters Albrecht Durer, Caravaggio and da Vinci.
My drawings seek to tell a story of the drama and triumph within my subjects and help me to see the world in a different light. My message is to never, ever, give up your dreams - to never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something. The important motivator should be to do art because it feels good, for you. If you stop trying, you stop living.
This is Week 21 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Lorrie’s story today. To connect with her and see more of her work, please visit the following links: