Lori Sokoluk Art

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Pysanke (piss an keh) are often referred to as “Ukrainian Easter eggs”, although the tradition is much older than Christianity. The egg is symbolic, the colors are symbolic, and the designs are symbolic. Some of these are traditional designs; others are of my own devising.


They are made using a process very much like batik. Using beeswax in a tiny brass funnel called a kistka, lines are drawn on the bare egg. Then the egg is dyed yellow. The areas covered with wax remain white. Once the yellow egg is dry, additional wax lines are added to areas that you want to remain yellow, and then the egg is dyed red. And so on, getting successively darker. Often, the final dye bath is black, resulting in a lumpy waxy black ovoid blob. Then the wax is melted and removed, uncovering the beautiful glowing colours!


One of my ‘traditions’ is to make these while watching Stanley Cup playoff games, but this year I’m super busy and Easter is early, so maybe next year will see some new ones!




We've had some glorious sunshine in Vancouver. The magnolias and cherry trees are blooming. While other folks are planning their gardens and packing their motorcycles for road trips, this time of year makes me think of painting outdoors!


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My high school art teacher, Gregg Johnson, instilled an early love of outdoor painting. Since then, I've had my share of crouching under pine trees in a sudden downpour, witnessing firsthand the effects of Deet bug spray on watercolor washes (generally not a good thing), and have completed small paintings in less than 5 minutes because that was all the freezing cold I could stand. I've sat on the edge of a steep rock cut with a Boy Scout troop frenzied around me - "Oh you paint!  I paint too!  I like to paint motorcycles. Do you like to paint motorcycles?!!" Then with a blast of the leader's whistle, they were off, leaving me in the trees and silence.

 

Sketchbooks from trips years ago bring back powerful memories of the sun, breeze, food and interactions with people. When you slow down and really look at what is around you, you build much stronger connections and memories than is afforded by just snapping a picture.


I have a number of Plein Air painting classes and demos scheduled in May, June, and July. I'll also be doing some single afternoon guided excursions. An earlier blog post describes my basic plein air painting kit. Join me for a lovely day painting outdoors.

 

I hope to see you out with your painting kit this summer!


 I've always wanted to be a Go Go dancer...

 

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This year, I'm supporting the Stephen Lewis Foundation through their GoGos campaign. GoGo is a Zulu word for Grandmother. African grandmothers are turning the tide of AIDS as they care for a generation of children orphaned by AIDS. The Greater Van GoGos and the West Van GoGos help provide housing, bedding, school fees and uniforms for the children in their care.

 

Over 100 unique artist-painted chairs will be auctioned

Saturday May 10th, 2014  1-5pm

at the West Van Rec Centre

2121 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Please consider attending and bidding on my chair!!


My chair is currently on display in West Vancouver at

Redfish 

1512 Marine Drive 

West Vancouver (Ambleside)

Mon-Wed 10-6 Thur-Sat 10-7 Sun 10-5

 


I love my studio! And I am immensely grateful for it. 

 

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Do you need to have a studio to feel like a legitimate artist?

 

I have two rooms in the Hamilton Bank Building in East Vancouver. Its a building with a lot of character in an increasingly hip neighbourhood, with lots of characters living upstairs. The building was a bank in the early 1900's and (we think) a brewery before that. I've got big windows that let in natural light, and provide great visibility on the street. The building owner likes having responsible artists, and I've been here for 6 years now.

 

For me, a great studio needs to have the following qualities:

- well lit, with natural light during the day

- safe (in the space, and en route to-and-from)

- stable (I can't work if I have to move every year. My clients can't find me easily if I move every year)

- affordable

- spacious enough to store materials, finished and in-progress paintings AND to be able to stand back and view a 4' x 6' painting

 

I've had other studio spaces that I've loved, but I've also managed with much less. When I lived in New York City, my 'studio' was an 18" x 42" table in the corner of my bedroom. 

 

In your home or separate?

 

I’ve tried setting up a studio in my home. For me, I find a space outside my home is much more efficient. There is no refrigerator, no laundry, no phone, no cats, no husband. Until I got a smart phone, there was no internet or email. I go, I work.

 

To share or not to share?

 

Ideally this is a matter of personal preference, rather than economic necessity. I like sharing with 1 or 2 other artists as long as they are respectful, responsible, and don’t have exactly the same working hours that I do. I like the perk of creative energy when I come in and see what my studiomate has in progress. Other artists need solitude to create and don’t want interuptions in their process.


There is a lot of discussion about artists losing studio space and being forced to change their art to something that is manageable in reduced space. The New York Times has an article here.  


Artist Run Website features a different artist studio in their blog every Sunday. My 'Sunday Studio' feature is here.


Regardless of how much space you have, and what the situation is, the most important thing is to continue to make your art!


Heads down, my companion sees wet trampled trash. I see heightened colors and sheen. Someone looks at grafitti and sees a beautiful riot of color and energy. Another sees lack of respect and crime. 


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The title of Ed Burtynsky’s current exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery says it all. I’ve loved Ed Burtynsky’s large format photographs for many years, and am enjoying the current exhibit of his work at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The curator’s talk is tonight at 7pm. 

 

Interestingly, while at the exhibit this week, I saw people sketching (as I was) the patterns and noting the colors. I was inspired thinking about compositions for abstract paintings. I overheard another viewer angrily  say “I can’t look at these any longer” (followed by an empassioned diatribe against ‘people today’).

 

You might want to check out the great documentary film called “Manufactured Landscapes” (2006) and a newer one called “Watermark” (2013). In the film “Manufactured Landscapes”, the artist himself is careful not to step fully into either side, carefully maintaining a perspective of witness, and sharing what he has seen with others. 


What do you think?  Can art reflecting terrible facts be beautiful? Does your art, or art you love, have a political or ecological message? Does it need to have such a message to be valuable to you? Or does having an agenda outside of the art decrease your enjoyment?


We all have a romantic idea of the artist in his/her studio, channelling the creative muse. But like the swan, legs churning away beneath the tranquil water's surface, there is alot of work behind the scenes that goes into being a successful practicing artist.


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In order to be more consistent in my non-studio activities, I'm following this plan:  Every week, I will spend at least 30 minutes doing these scheduled activities:

 

Money Mondays

Pay bills, do bookkeeping, send invoices...

Toot My Horn Tuesdays

Blog posts, distribute flyers, send out press releases, ...

Widen My Circle Wednesdays

Follow up on leads, communicate with other artists, ...

Teach Myself Thursdays

Learn one new feature on a software program, try a new technique, ...

Fill The Well Fridays

Recharge or explore (from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron)

Powerful Pictures (Pick A Day)

(Saturday or Sunday or a weekday in addition to the regularly scheduled activity)

Photograph my work, edit/organize photos, print portfolio pages, update website galleries, ...

 

"30 minutes" sound like a short enough time that I don't talk myself out of beginning. And I can usually squeeze 30 minutes in even if I'm super busy with something else. Once I get into an activity, I often work for more than 30 minutes with ease, but I consider myself successful if I do the 30 minutes.

 

Thanks to Deb Chaney for the idea, and to Gwen Fox for the recent boot, applied strategically : )  Check in with me in a month and see how will I'm managing to stick with my plan!

 

Other artists and small business owners - how do you manage all this 'behind the scenes' work? Do you do it all yourself, or enlist paid or unpaid assistance?



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I've been experimenting with watercolors and mixed media for a while now, and am really excited about the results!  These watercolors are dynamic, modern, bold.  I've developed ways of mounting them on canvas or board so that they do not need to be put behind glass.

 

Learn more at one of my upcoming demonstrations or workshops!

 

Saturday February 22nd

Demonstration

11am

Venus Art Studios

Palm Desert, CA

For more information, check out the website

or call (760) 340-5085

 

Workshop

Mon-Tues February 24-25th

Venus Art Studios

Palm Desert, CA

Register by calling (760) 340-5085

 

Saturday March 15th

Free Demonstration

2-4pm

Opus Art Supplies

Downtown location.

These demos fill up, so please call 604-678-5889

to register and reserve your seat. 

 

 

 

 


Nice to start the year with paintings on exhibit!  

Form And Place

Paintings by Lori Sokoluk - Metal Sculpture by Veronica Aimone

Opening Wednesday January 8th

6:30-8:30pm

 

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    Britannia Art Gallery

    1661 Napier Street

    Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays 8:30am - 5pm

    Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8:30am - 9pm

    Saturdays 9:30am - 5pm

    Sundays  1 - 5pm


    The show runs through January 31st.

 


my . artist run website