Lori Sokoluk Art

Wednesday June 11th - That's tomorrow!!  1-3 pm

(Please note the change in time - I had posted incorrectly!)

FREE DEMONSTRATION: Watercolor and Mixed Media

Opus Downtown  207 West Hastings (at Cambie)


We'll start by looking at the classic ink sketch with watercolor wash. This is a perfect technique for plein air painting. I'll be doing a lot of plein air (outdoor, on location) painting this summer, starting with a workshop this Sunday, and more throughout the summer!

Next we'll experiment with modern mixed media and watercolor techniques emphasizing play and creative process. It's hard to believe these are watercolors!! We'll look at ways of presenting these watercolors that don't require framing behind glass.


How do I register? The demo is free, but it fills up fast. Please call Opus Downtown at 604-678-5889 to register and reserve your seat so you won't be disappointed!


Plein Air Sketching with Watercolor and Ink

2-day workshops

starting Sunday June 15th

another starting Monday June 16th 

one more starting Monday July 6th


Watercolor and ink lend themselves perfectly to a compact take-along painting kit, whether you are on vacation, walking Vancouver's shoreline or sitting in your back garden. Learn how to capture the essence of a scene quickly and easily. Bring home unique, personalized mementoes from your travels. Experience your community in a new way! Classes begin in the studio for instruction and demonstration before heading outdoors. We will return to the studio for review after onsite painting. You may want to pack a small snack. All Levels. No drawing experience necessary.


2 Sundays June 15 and 22nd

at Coal Harbour Community Centre  10am - 3:30pm  $86


Monday-Tuesday June 16-17th

at Hillcrest Community Centre  10am - 3pm  $92

2 Sundays July 6 and 13th 

 at Hillcrest Community Centre  10am - 3pm  $92

How do I register? My website has all the contact info including links to register online.



Plein Air Guided Outings

Just want to get out there and paint? I'll be hosting single afternoon guided plein air excursions throughout the summer and early fall. I'll start you off with a demo, then be available to provide guidance if you need it. Bring your own materials, or let me know and I can provide them for you. 


Tuesday July 15th 1-4pm  

Tatlow Park (Kitsilano)


Monday Aug 4th 1-4pm  

Pacific Spirit Park (UBC)


Mon Sep 8th  4-7pm 

Queen Elizabeth Park 

How do I register?  Contact me to register.


Check my website for more information on these classes, registraton information and links. I look forward to seeing you out painting!

A cool sight in Toronto...

I've just returned from 2 weeks in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. I looked at a lot of old buildings and contemporary art. I liked this new building much more than I expected to, based on photographs. It's the Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, designed by Alsop Architects of Britain. It is a striking landmark, but it's a bit tucked away on a side street. It creates an interesting plaza space next to the very utilitarian existing building. You can read more about it here.


Another example of why it's important to experience things first hand (the topic of last week's post).

In Montreal recently, I had the chance to see several paintings by Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), a celebrated Canadian painter. The experience reemphasized for me the importance of seeing paintings in real life vs digital images. I think the same is true about hearing live music, and seeing live theatre or dance. 


bg_42241401199566.jpgUntitled, 1951, oil on canvas   


Images of Riopelle's work in books did not wow me. The depth, detail, and physicality of the real painting in front of me had huge impact. In addition, there is the experience of being in a city, in an architectural space, with paintings grouped by a knowledgeable curator, and with other people.


While we are blessed, in this digital age, with access to so much art that would previously have been unattainable, please remember that there is huge value in going out to see live art.



How do I know when a painting is finished?



Two weeks ago, I promised to write about knowing when a painting is finished. I get this question alot from students, usually when working abstractly or from their imagination. What they don’t realize is that the question is just as pertinent when painting representationally.


I ask my students to think about WHY they are painting something - what’s the content? Three people may be painting the porch of an old house, with gaily painted gingerbread woodwork and hanging flower baskets. But the content might be completely different for each one:  one may be interested in depicting the aspects that characterize a particular style or era of architecture. Another may be fascinated by the dappled light and shadow that dances around the filigree woodwork, leaves and petals. Another may want to paint the porch because it is the house that her Mother, her mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother’s mother were all born in. Those should be three very different paintings!!


Having a ‘thumbnail’ concept (like the ones noted above) in mind can help determine when a painting is done. It doesn’t have to be complex. It could be the glowing red-orange of a poppy that captures your attention. 


You can then step back as your painting progresses and ask yourself “does it say what I am trying to capture?” If a painting is about a spooky house set back behind a dark hedge, the detail on the shutters is probably not important.  If a painting is about the glowing red-orange color of a poppy, the exact shape of the petals is probably not important.


When working abstractly, it can be a bit trickier. The painting may be about an emotion or feeling. I imagine a mental ‘thumbnail’ of what that feels like, then compare with the impression I get from my painting.


None of this precludes looking with a more analytical eye at composition, design, and balance. I always look at how my eye flows through the painting. More about that in another post...

My work was featured recently on the Artist Run Website blog. Check out that post.  



Thanks to Rebecca Chaperon for featuring me, and for all the other cool posts she writes for Artist Run Website.  In addition to featuring different artists' work, recent posts offer help writing about your art, working with Instagram, and recognizing the work of Hieronymus Bosch. I often go for a quick tip or smile. I especially like the Sunday Studios features.


Artist Run Website is a great, affordable way to create a website to promote, exhibit, and sell your art online. I highly recommend them!

Many of my paintings start with a playful, experimental phase that establishes a base of color and texture. Sometimes I have an idea or theme in mind, but I definitely don't plan out exactly how the piece is going to look when it's finished. Here's how a small piece called "Sea Slug 1" evolved:


Starting on the left, I was playing with watercolors and inks on a canvas panel coated with absorbent ground. 

Sea creatures is a recurring theme in my work. In the second image from the left, I've joined two shapes together with a blue outline and added some texture with a sea slug in mind.

In the third image, I add some orange conical protrusions, like ones I saw on a sea slug out at Bamfield some years ago. 

At far right is the finished image. A wash of slightly darker value around the slug shape helps differentiate it from the background. Voila!

Next week: "So how do you know when you're finished?!!"



I had no idea that Harris produced all these light-filled abstract paintings, despite my love of the Group of Seven’s plein air inspired work. I vaguely remember one line in a book that mentioned Harris later left Canada and pursued some (“slightly wacky” was the intimation) spiritual pursuits.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has an exhibit that includes works from Harris' early artistic career, some classic pieces from the Group of Seven era, but the bulk of the show is about the abstracts. It echoes my own artistic development, starting with plein air landscape painting, and shifting to contemporary abstracts. This show closes on Sunday, so get down and check it out if you are interested in abstract art, Canadian art history, The Group of Seven, or spirituality in art.

This image is "Mount Thule, Bylot Island", 1930.



I'm happy that my painting Aeonswill be on display as part of "
Canvas Unbound", an exhibition that runs from April 29 - May 11th at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.

Federation Gallery. 1241 Cartwright Street, Granville Island. See www.artists.ca for more information. Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm.

my . artist run website