Today on Artist Strong we welcome artist Lora Frost. From her biography: “I have been passionate about creativity all my life. I have had a camera in my hand since I can remember; I started my first photography studio when I was eight, it had huge profit margins, but it lasted a total of two hours! 🙂
My biggest personal inspiration was my grandpa who was a photographer, artist and gardener. He encouraged me to pick up a pencil and start drawing and he was always so excited to see my newest art.”
Carrie: Lora, welcome to Artist Strong. You’ve had a unique journey to lead you to becoming an artist. Our readers would love to hear about it!
Thank you so much for asking me to share my story with your readers! Like most artists, I took a bit of a roundabout journey to where I am now.
I took fine art and photography in college before branching out into graphic and media design. Looking back at that journey I was convinced that I had to shoot weddings to be successful in photography and I hadn’t a clue how to turn my passion for art into a career.
During my graphic design training I was hit by a car as a pedestrian. I finished my schooling, but I knew I didn’t want to be trapped behind a computer screen for the rest of my days. Long story short, I found my passion was applying my design skills to landscape design. I started my own company, Urban Eden Design, after working for numerous people who didn’t have the same attitude and passion I have for sustainability. I believe that each design should be tailored for usability and aesthetics but also for how a person wants to feel in their outdoor oasis.
Coincidentally 8 years later, on the exact same day as my first car accident, I was T-boned by three other vehicles. In order to heal I had to stop working in my business of landscape design. It was around that time a business mentor of mine saw one of my paintings and was astounded to learn that I wasn’t selling them. I received my first commissioned work shortly after that.
Carrie: What kind of feelings and emotions do you convey in your work?
As a person who is sensitive to my surroundings, I am very conscious of how our environment affects us both in a positive and negative way.
I want my viewers and clients to gain a positive experience or feeling when looking at something I have created. The range of emotions that I work with are calm and peaceful to quiet and exciting, keeping with my theme of positivity.
Carrie: What are important strategies or choices you make that help support your creative process?
I always start with declaring the emotion or feeling that the piece is to convey. Sometimes I use my own photographs to inspire me with the movement of the paint, other times I leave it to memory. Next I choose a colour palette that reflects my vision for the piece. I used to need music playing when I painted, but this year I sometimes paint in silence; I think it’s helped me listen to my inner creative eye, the internal part of me that helps me see the direction of the painting.
Carrie: How do you navigate the feelings of vulnerability that show up during the creative process?
I only show work in it’s beginning and middle stages to people I trust and feel safe with. Also I realise that not everyone is going to like what I have created and as I have matured I have learned not to take it personally, though it is still is a conscious effort. I think having a supportive group, online or offline, is also a key tool to getting perspective and feedback while feeling safe.
Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?
I am so passionate about beauty, especially in our personal surroundings. As a designer and photographer, being able to see things that others would pass by is a real advantage in my painting. Observation of movement, especially plant life, and the play of colour and light completely intrigue me. I once had a landscape design client tell me that I “paint with plants.” When I am out walking with my dog, I quite frequently stop to take a picture or observe something up close.
I also love to be creative in the kitchen with everything from gourmet breakfasts and dinners to creating unique jellies and balsamic pearls. While this type of activity doesn’t directly affect my art, I find the ability to exercise my creative muscles keeps the ideas arriving for my art. Maybe someday a dinner guest will remark that I “paint with sauce, garnish, and flavour!”
Carrie: Where do your ideas come from?
As I mentioned earlier, I have gained a lot of my inspiration from nature and photography. I truly think that most of my ideas come from observation of architecture, people, and “spaces” in general.
This year I have embarked on two instagram challenges. Each gives me a simple prompt from which I take a photo a day. Being “forced” to be creative on a daily basis inspires different thought patterns to emerge and this also helps me see new ideas.
Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”
There are a few things I do. I set a timer and I just start painting and move through being stuck by working on something that has no specific outcome just to see if I can find a revelation. If that doesn’t work I go for a walk.
Other times I start playing and experimenting with media I wouldn’t normally use. For example, I just started using watercolour paints and I think when you are working with something you are not completely comfortable using, you create a space where you can play. Play for me has always opened the door for inspiration.
Carrie: What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a small series inspired by the Montreal Metro, it’s on panel and they are small (16”x16”). I am finding it challenging working on panel as it’s slippery to paint on. To compensate for the different texture, I have had to learn to paint with a different technique. It’s so much more comfortable for me to paint on a large canvas, which leads into the next project I am just starting. I just stretched a nice big canvas and am in the beginning phases of getting my creative inspiration.
Carrie: What is one piece of advice you have for struggling creatives?
We are all human and all people go through struggles, even those who have been working and honing their craft for 20 years. It all comes down to mindset, how you view the world and your ability to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself. Be persistent.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
I am inspired by so many different genres of art, it’s really incredible. Everytime I am in a city I make a point of going to a gallery or museum to see what others are creating. It blows me away to see how people think and choose to express themselves.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity is the ability to think and create new ways of expression. It’s the ability to see the possibility in the unknown or in the not-yet-created.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How have you been persistent in your creative practice? Share in the comments below!
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