Today as promised, I’m interviewing my friend and fellow artist Lori Rivera. I met Lori at an artist get together type lunch and learn at Stac Gallery a couple of years ago. We hit it off and have been friends ever since. I even own a piece of her beautiful abstract art.
We have a collaboration event coming up soon (more about that in a future post) so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to you. Of course we’re in cahoots together so she’s also featuring an interview type post of me on her blog (read it here).
I have the pleasure to introduce you to…
Lori, tell me how you came to art making.
My love of art making did not start intentionally, but rather by accident. Ten years ago I went to Michael’s Arts & Crafts for something totally unrelated to painting, but for some reason I ended up in the painting aisle. A step by step painting book/supplies caught my eye and I purchased it on impulse. That evening I got out the kit and went through all the steps of making a sunflower watercolor painting. I had so much fun with that, so I ended up going back to Michael’s and purchased some acrylic paint and canvas panels. From there on I kept painting and I noticed something wonderful about the whole process.
I have struggled with a mental health issue since my teenage years and what I found was that when I painted, many of my symptoms seemed to disappear. So painting became an outlet for me to express things that can’t be expressed with words. It was relaxing and invigorating, and I realized not long after purchasing the painting kit that art would always be a part of my life. Fast forward to today, I try to paint daily, but a least three to four times a week. I can’t imagine my life without art.
What type of subject matter is your favorite to paint?
When I first began painting, my favorite genre was nonrepresentational abstract art…you know, the kind of paintings that people remark with statements such as “My 7-year-old could paint that.” For me, that kind of art is the most difficult to create compositionally and through color. To create something out of nothing is the most challenging type of painting I’ve ever created. It’s truly based off of imagination alone with no references. I still enjoy painting abstractly and I’m sure I always will. This year I took a still life painting class and for most of this year I have been creating still life paintings. This past week I returned to painting abstractly and I’m fairly certain my still life training has influenced my abstract work. Some of the same principles apply to each and I mainly paint abstracts and still life.
I do love how still life painting gives you control from everything such as the subject matter to the lighting and background. Still life and abstracts seem to be on opposite poles. They are so different, but I love both. My favorite still life subjects lately include fruits and vegetables.
My abstracts are heavily influenced by the abstract expressionist movement…paint what you feel and focus on the process rather than the outcome. I imagine I will continue to jump around in my career and continue creating different genres, including abstract, still life, and occasional portraits.
As artists, we know our work will live long past our actual lives. What kind of legacy do you hope or want to leave with your art?
My daughter shows some interest in art and has taken art classes. I want my art to live on and influence my daughter after I pass on. I never want her to forget how passionate I am about art because I am hoping she keeps her interest in art. I think she has talent. I want her to pursue whatever career she desires, and I want her to know art is a viable career option as well. So many parents don’t support their children in pursuing art, and I find that very unfortunate. I hope my daughter follows her passion, wherever that may lead.
What would you like people to know about your art?
I want my art to communicate the message “Beauty is to be found in imperfection.” When I first began painting, I thought every circle, line, and mark had to be perfect. As I’ve progressed in my career, I now find imperfection to be more appealing. I am not a hyper realistic painter so there are imperfections in each piece, and I think that makes them more unique in my style.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by everything around me, including everyday objects. Objects with patterns, colorful outdoor scenery, and random household objects all inspire me. I am always on the lookout for things that would be fun to paint as a still life. When I paint abstractly, however, my inspiration comes from within, allowing my feelings to be captured on the canvas. I would like to become even more raw with my abstract work. Sometimes I feel like I disguise the paintings with bright colors, when I’m really feeling brown, grey, and black that day. Creating abstract work is very freeing, especially on a larger canvas. Getting all of my emotions out and transferred onto the canvas is quite therapeutic.
Do you have a favorite color to paint with? If so, what is it?
Ah, definitely turquoise. It is such a soothing color. I think when you look at my portfolio (www.instagram.com/loririvera.art), you’ll be able to see turquoise in many of my paintings, especially my abstracts. I guess you could say it is my signature color. I also love mixing turquoise with yellow to make a brilliant green or with magenta to make a beautiful purple.
Do you have a favorite living artist that you admire? If so, who and why?
Flora Bowley is my favorite living artist. Her paintings are intuitive so they feel transparent, yet gorgeous. She has several books on the market that are excellent and give insight into her painting process. She also has a wonderful YouTube channel and delivers workshops in intuitive painting. I would love to take one of her workshops. My art looks nothing like hers, but I do like her style and process. I use a similar process with my abstracts as she does…layering and focusing on intuition.
What is something totally unrelated to art that you love to do?
I love to write. Right now I am working on writing a book, but it’s a slow process because it’s secondary to painting. I also write in my blog once or twice a month and I find it fun. Eventually I would love to write a book that includes photos of my paintings.
Do you do commission work? Walk me through your commission process.
If someone would like to commission a piece, I welcome the opportunity. The commission process is a little different for each genre. But across the board, I have the collector explain in detail what they are wanting and share pictures of art they like. I do stress that the painting would be done in my style though. Having him/her show me art they like helps guide me in the right direction. On commissions, I require a 25% deposit with the remaining 75% due when the piece is finished. The 25% helps pay for materials needed. I share several pictures with the collector as I work on the piece. That way I know if the piece is going in the right direction, and if not, fix it in the early stages.
If you weren’t an artist and could be anything in the world, what would it be?
I would probably return to my love of computers and re-enter the workforce as a web developer. That was my first job out of college, and I loved it. This position was a creative one, too. Not only did I code the websites, but I created the graphics for them as well.
How can people find you and buy your work?
I have a website at www.loririverafineart.com and it links to my store when you click on “Shop.” Occasionally I participate in art shows and for those on my mailing list, I communicate shows that way. You can sign up for my mailing list on my website under the “Contact” link. I currently have several pieces at 22 Jefferson Gallery and I also participate in some group shows with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. I can also be found on Facebook and Instagram under the username ‘loririvera.art’. Lastly, someone can contact me through email at email@example.com.
Thanks to Lori Rivera for answering all my questions! I look forward to sharing with you what we’ve got brewing for that event I mentioned earlier. It’s pretty exciting!
Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page
under the additional links menu. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and
an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi
fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do
with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I
also enjoy painting abstracts and have started created more and more of
them. My most favorite thing to try to achieve in my painting is is
mystery and telling mystical stories.
If you would like to keep up with what I’m doing, I have a newsletter e-mailed about once a month that gives you special status for invitations, birthday greeting and more. I’d love for you to add your email to my Friends and Collectors list!