Lori Sokoluk Art

Today in the studio I was transforming my art. Specifically, I reworked a painting from earlier this year that I was not satisfied with, and transformed it.

Watching the Dark Water (PortTown 8) (36"x36" acrylic and graphite on canvas $2850, available at time of posting)


I'd always felt the original version, on the left, was a bit 'thin'. Recently, I'd used dark wiped areas on a couple of paintings, and was very satisfied with the result. Given I wasn't happy with where this piece was, what did I have to lose? I applied a similar wash, and a pale blue-grey band above it.


Two simple but bold changes, and I'm much happier with the result!


What are other ways you can transform a painting?

  • use it as a base for a new painting, letting bits of the underpainting show through
  • glaze over part of all of it
  • turn it upside down and work into it abstractly
  • cut it up and make smaller pieces, or collage the bits into a new work

Be bold! You might be surprised...


Come help me dance the night away! 

The Eastside Culture Crawl turns 20 this year, and we're throwing a pARTy

Culture Crawl 20th Anniversary pARTy!

Friday September 30th  7pm-midnight
Dress artsy, eat, drink, dance...


Participating in the Crawl for the past 6 years has built connections with artists and art lovers in ways that bring so much joy to my life and propel my work forward. The Crawl event is just one of the the Eastside Culture Crawl Society programs enriching our community. What started 20 years ago with a few artists opening their studios has become a 'must-do' cultural event that draws tens of thousands of people!

There will be music by Dawn Pemberton, Frazey Ford and Tom Arntzen. Fred Lee will host. You have a chance to win great prizes in the silent auction and 20/20 Art Draw. 

Tickets are $75 (partial tax receipt). You can get your tickets online ($5 service fee) or from me (cheque made out to ECCS).


It’s going to be the party of the (double) decade. See you there!

I’ve just done a color mixing workshop, so color and color names are on my mind. I often wonder how colors get their names.

Older pigment often reflect the organic/mineral origins of the color:

  • Ochre: ochre is naturally tinted clay containing ferric oxide, and produces an earthy pigment varying in colour from cream and light yellow to brown or red. 
  • Sienna: earth containing iron oxide. Raw Sienna is yellowish. When burnt, it becomes an orangish mid-brown.
  • Umber: umber is a natural brown clay pigment containing iron and manganese oxide. Heating intensifies the colour, resulting in "burnt umber". 
  • Indigo: a deep blue colour pigment, traditionally made from the Indigofera family of plants.
  • Madder: originally created from the family of Madder plants. 

 Sythetic pigments new and old often incorporate the chemical as part of the name:

  • dioxazine purple
  • phthalocyanine blue
  • quinacradone gold
  • cadmium red
  • cobalt blue

 Once you leave the art store and enter the world of interior design or fashion, naming colors becomes a whole other ball game. In my days as an architect, I once specified that rowhouses be painted in “squirrel”, which was a light lavendar-grey. And I’d love a job naming colors for one of OPI’s nail polish collectionsHere’s a fun article about how commercial paint colors get their names. 


What are some of the most unusual color names you've encountered?

If you haven't seen this show yet, make a point of going. Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton is a Vancouver artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent. His current exhibition, 'Unceded Territories', at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC "confront[s] the colonialist suppression of First Nations peoples and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights to lands, resources, and sovereignty". 

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, "Scorched Earth, Clear-cut Logging on Native Sovereign Land. Shaman Coming to Fix" 1991 acrylic on canvas



This is powerful work, with glowing colors and amazing energy. The political context is a strong current in his work over several decades. Here's a short video with the artist speaking about his work.


If you haven't seen it yet, go now!


Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton

Unceded Territories

Until October 16, 2016


Museum of Anthropology at UBC

6393 NW Marine Drive

Vancouver BC 


Here’s another peek inside my sketchbook, thoughts about doodling, and a doodle from a famous architect. In addition to the benefits of doodling that I wrote about last week, doodling (and other kinds of drawing) also allows a conduit for feelings or ideas that aren’t best expressed with words.

Left to Right:

- doodle from my sketchbook

- doodle from my sketchbook

- doodle by Frank Gehry of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA



Frank Gehry is famous for his sketches, which often look like loopy doodles. There's even a documentary called "Sketches of Frank Gehry". Here's what he has to say about doodling (or "scribbles" as he calls them):


"I know I draw without taking my pen off the page. I just keep going, and that my drawings I think of them as scribbles. I don't think they mean anything to anybody except to me, and then at the end of the day, the end of the project, they wheel out these little drawings and they're damn close to what the finished building is ..."


* * * * * * *


Kids are often encouraged to draw as a way of expressing emotions or events that are painful to talk about. Drawing lets them communicate to others what has happened, and also starts the process of healing. Pretty amazing stuff, drawing : )


* * * * * * *


This Atlantic magazine article on doodling says it clearly: “For most people, the big question isn’t “when did you start drawing?” but “when did you stop?”. 

I often doodle during music events or while listening to audio, generating drawings like this these:

Did you know that scientists have found that doodling can increase your focus and actually help you remember details of what was talked about while you doodled? An art business conference I attended last year actually had doodle pages in the handouts!


Apparently doodling keeps your brain from day dreaming, about a vacation for example, which often involves planning and other cognitive ‘executive functions’. 


“Doodling, in contrast, requires very few executive resources but just enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming, which - if unchecked - will jump-start activity in cortical networks that will keep you from remembering what's going on. Doodling forces your brain to expend just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don't pay attention.”


They note that this doesn’t work if the activity you are immersed in also requires visual processing, so no doodling in art history class!



In business these days, there is a whole school of note-taking that utilizes doodles. The fancy name for this is ‘graphical notation’. The idea is instead of getting swamped under lots of detail, you capture higher level patterns and ideas while freeing your brain to capture that detail for future recall, similar to the experiment with the telephone calls described in the article linked above. I did this at an all-company symposium in 2015, capturing the main ideas of a series of presentations. It was challenging and exciting. Here is a great book that describes the process of visual note taking:

"The Sketchbook Handbook - The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking" by Mike Rohde.


Happy Doodling! 

I’m at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) this week teaching “Watercolors + Mixed Media = WOW!” to a great group of students. It’s a full-on teaching week, but in a lovely setting. I wind down from the day on a bench overlooking the inlet, and to wake up to the view and smell of trees outside my window. 

Yesterday evening, I did a presentation of my work, and talked about transformation. This morning I’m musing about rejuvenation and transformation.


Taking ‘time away’ can be focused on either. A week of relaxation and forest walks. A 5-day challenge to stretch and try something new. It’s easier, I think, to predict rejuvenation. The thing about transformation is that you never know when it’s going to happen. You can, however, set up conditions that make it more possible. I did just that earlier this year when I went on a residency. 


Have you ever given yourself a chunk of time to walk away from your day-to-day and immerse yourself in something new?  


Would you choose rest and rejuvenation, or transformation?

It’s rare that my art has a direct connection to current events. However, when the Burns Bog in Delta BC caught fire again this past Sunday, I thought about a series of paintings that were done a decade ago when the same bog was on fire.

Ardbeg 3, Ardbeg 4 by Lori Sokoluk

(each 48"x18", acrylic on canvas, $1700, $2900/pair, available at time of posting)

The idea for this series of paintings started with a postcard created from a box of a favourite, peaty, scotch whiskey. The peat bog was burning at the time, and the ideas merged in my mind:


Ardbeg, mythic hero, sucking on the teats of the earth. Mother Earth granting him the ultimate nourtishment. Full of deep secrets that surface in dark springs and permeate the black earth.


Near here, a vast peat bog burns beneath a seemingly solid surface. One could fall through into another world of darkness and fire, where none of the rules from ‘above’ apply. This series reflects deep hidden powers that can propel us to unimagined things and maps attempts at navigating through these forces.



Suzanne Northcott, a fantastic interdisciplinary artist based here in the lower mainland and one of my favourite people, did research and paintings inspired by the bog. I love her series statement about this work, which begins “Bog. I love the word, like God, only earthy.”  Check out more of her work here.


Bog Grass Fall by Suzanne Northcott


Links to articles about the bog fire:


Burns Bog on fire (Monday July 4, 2016)


Social media photos of the fire (Monday July 4, 2016)


Bog restoration efforts aid fire control (Tuesday July 5, 2016)



my . artist run website