Finding Meaning in Non-Representational Work


Artist J.T. Kirkland has launched a Facebook page exploring this topic. Thanks, J.T., for sharing my thoughts today!

Install Day at Studio 1469


Thanks, Studio 1469, for making Mathematics, Maps, and Myths a two-venue show! Drop by the reception Saturday, October 19 from 6:30-8:30 pm for larger work by Joan Belmar and myself.

Monkeying Around in the Studio


artdc Gallery is having a show called Red. Work must be 70% or more red. It's a tough color for me so I appreciated the challenge. More details soon.

Joker Monkey (All Hail the King)

A Portrait of Restraint


A new one, 42 x 30 inches. Really getting into adding metal through the canvas.

The Joys of a Studio Cat


Misty follows me almost everywhere. She doesn't mind the music I listen to (except Trent Reznor) or the charcoal dust in the air. She watches me paint. She jumps up in my lap as soon as I sit down for a break or to think about my next move on a canvas. God, I love this cat.

Save the Date: Mathematics, Maps, and Myths Exhibits


One Exhibit, Two Places, Two Receptions: I'll be showing with the amazingly talented Joan Belmar at two wonderful venues this fall. I hope you have a chance to stop by!

A Short History of Romance

October 10 – November 10, 2013
Adah Rose Gallery
Reception Saturday, October 12, 6:30-8:30pm
3766 Howard Ave, Kensington, MD 20895

October 19 – 27, 2013
Studio 1469
Reception Saturday, October 19, 6:30-8:30pm
1469 Harvard St NW Rear, Washington, DC

about the artists

Lori Anne Boocks

Lori Anne Boocks is the keeper of stories. The passage of time creates layers of experience through the remembering, misremembering, and forgetting of stories. Each of these moments are important influences on her painting and thinking. In her newest work, text continues to serve as both subject matter and the basis for mark-making. Texture for each piece comes from her hands, brushwork, and a subtractive process where layers of poured washes are added to the surface, then partially removed with cloth. Her exploration of stories hinges on the juxtaposition of multiple directions of depth, including time, space, mathematics, and meaning.

Lori Anne Boocks earned a BFA from Old Dominion University in 1992. She has had solo exhibitions at Sitar Arts Center, Studio Gallery and the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center. She has also shown at BlackRock Center for the Arts, MAXgallery in Baltimore, artdc and the Maryland Federation of Art. She was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Bethesda Painting Awards, awarded a Living Gallery Residency at the Annmarie Arts Center in 2011 and won a first place award at the Festival of the Arts in Portsmouth, VA. This is her second show with Adah Rose Gallery.
Joan Belmar

In his recent paintings “Territories,” Joan explores psychological and political perspectives through the universality of maps. The series, based on maps from his native Chile, pay homage to the indigenous people who are so rarely referenced in anthropology and cartography. Finding himself suspended between the personal and universal as he rediscovered the maps of his childhood, Joan utilizes symbols, colors, drawings, grids, dots, and lines to search for freedom in a structured world. His works reference a time in our past that is impossible to recreate, but important to remember.

Joan Belmar was born in Santiago, Chile and emigrated to Spain where he began to paint professionally. Joan moved to Washington DC in 1999. In 2003 he was granted permanent residency in the U.S. based on extraordinary artistic merit. Joan has shown internationally and in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Project for the Arts, the American University Museum, Charles Krause Reporting, Addison Ripley, the World Bank, and was also a Mayor's Award Finalist in 2007 as an outstanding emerging artist. In 2009 the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities awarded him an Artist Fellowship Grant and in 2010 and 2013 he was awarded an Individual Artist grant in Painting from the Maryland Arts Council. This is his second show with Adah Rose Gallery.

Chesapeake Love Poem


Working in a variety of sizes these days, and some of these pieces are small and quiet, with rusted wire sewn through the canvas.

Chesapeake Love Song

Chesapeake Love Poem is open to a few interpretations, maybe love for the bay itself or for the environment in general. Or maybe love for a person connected with that area: a summer romance or a bond that's stood the test of decades. The thin wires sewn at slightly different angles horizontally echo waves of water. They also help mask the words and stand for self-imposed edits or private thoughts.
Swarm (Dreaming of Bees)
Swarm uses honey-like colors and pays homage to honeycomb-building bees and mysterious math they use in construction and flight that we still not fully understand. It also hints about strategies and tactical calculations we humans make, particularly as we consider Syria.

Six Ways to Sunday
Six Ways to Sunday is about childhood memories as a girl growing up in a Southern Virginia rural culture and the different connections I have to that world.

Paintings for Pain - CRPS Fundraiser


The Paintings for Pain project/fundraiser pairs six artists with individuals from the CRPS community to create paintings based on their experiences. In the first-of-its-kind event for RSDSA, the paintings will be shown on September 7, 2013 at the VisArts Gallery in Rockville, MD. The finished paintings will be donated to selected hospitals and treatment centers around the globe who specialize in care for individuals with CRPS.

I was honored to be invited to participate in this project and was paired with a teen who acquired Complex Regional Pain Syndrome after an injury. After the fundraising event, my painting There Are Days will become part of the Arts in Health collection at Monash Medical Centre in Victoria, Australia.

I named the painting “There Are Days” and tried to depict through abstraction good and bad days that a CRPS patient goes through. Paired with a teen girl, I talked with her about her CRPS journey and used numbers in the piece to represent a 10-point pain scale. I tried to imagine myself in her shoes: living with chronic pain, times when the pain feels off the scale, and times when the pain lessens in intensity. The words in the painting are free flowing and represent daily thoughts or maybe a personal diary someone dealing with chronic pain might keep. They also symbolize the telling and re-telling of a patient’s story to doctors, physical therapists, nurses, or other healthcare providers as he or she keeps trying to find answers.

The two red-orange stripes in the lower half of the painting represent the stilts that started this whole journey for the patient. She had mentioned that having an orange awareness ribbon in the piece would have special significance to her, so I included it in a non-traditional way and invite the viewer to imagine that the solid red-orange stripe through the middle of the work is the top loop of the ribbon and that the stilts are now actually the tails of the ribbon having crossed behind the canvas to return to the front of the painting like they are hugging it. By presenting the ribbon lying flat like this, I wanted it to be the road the patient or anyone else with a chronic pain disorder has to travel to advocate for the best possible care, strive for and enjoy good days, and keep on keeping on when things get tough. I also wanted it to stand for the embrace of supportive family and friends, and even the global family of people with CRPS throughout the world. 
There Are Days - 48 x 60 Inches - Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas


I have a few pieces in this show. Unfortunately I'll be traveling for work on the reception date, but there may be another reception in early August. 

The Artscape Gallery Network connects two dozen Baltimore galleries to a wider audience through a promotional campaign sponsored by M&T Bank and provides art lovers with an extended opportunity to enjoy Baltimore’s talented artists before, during and after the festival weekend. The Artscape Gallery Network exhibitions highlight 2013 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize applicants, along with artists working throughout the region.

Showcase Gallery: MAXgallery @ Maxine Taylor Fine Arts
126 North Madeira Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
Similar Differences
Reception: July 11, 5-9pm
Exhibition: July 1-August 10

Throughout this exhibit we challenge you to see the differences within the similarities on the canvas. Embrace the tension. Listen. Let them move you. The words below are from the artists describing their work. Mixed together, not in any particular order, these words, in the language of the canvas, will speak to you when you feel them.

Curator: Liza Lee
Artists: John Bodkin, Lori Anne Boocks, John Cleary, Annie Farrar, Sam Green, Evan Hume, Anne Marchand, Maxine Taylor, Megin Diamond and Kini Collins

Forgot how fun it is to draw. Been dabbling this month.

Big Red

Camera Sketch

Indian Textile Stamp

Boocks, DeVane, and Dwyer at BlackRock


Drop by my home turf for this three-person show at the beautiful BlackRock Center for the Arts. I hope to see you there! The theme is remembrance.

Lori Anne Boocks, Oletha DeVane, Nina Chung Dwyer
Wednesday, April 10, - Saturday, April 27, 2013
Artist Reception: Saturday, April 13, 5:30–7:30

BlackRock Center for the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive
Germantown, MD 20874

Rust and Bone and Stream, 40 x 30 Inches, Acrylic and Charcoal on Linen, 2013 


Bora Mici is an artist and writer who maintains a robust website of interviews with artists. She recently wrote up an interview about my solo at Sitar Arts Center and an in-depth look at Back in Memphis Again pictured below. Thanks, Bora!

Reception Tonight at Sitar!


If you're local please drop by Sitar Arts Center between 6:30-8:30 tonight. This reception for Narratives and Numbers is at 1700 Kalorama Road, NW, Suite 101 in DC. Hope to see you there!

An Interview with Artist Jean Hirons


I came into contact with Jean Hirons during my recent show at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda. Jean creates vibrant works in pastels with a wonderful sensitivity to color and natural light. I'm particularly struck by her Prague and Budapest miniatures.

A member of the Waverly Street Gallery, Jean recently published a book called Finding Your Style in Pastel to help beginning through advanced artists explore this medium. It's available in print and e-book, and it offers tips as well as exercises. She also offers a blog filled with instructional posts on process.

Q: When writing Finding Your Style in Pastel, what new things did you learn about yourself?

A: I’ve always known that the organization of information is one of my primary strengths. I worked at the Library of Congress in the cataloging area and wrote the standard manuals for serials catalogers. So I knew I could write and organize. What was more challenging was to figure why and how I did what I do in the much more intuitive process of painting. When teaching, students would ask why I used that color and not another and I really couldn’t answer.  In writing the book, I was able to think in terms of color theory to figure out what was the basis of my intuitive decisions. It was really an eye-opener! Having written the book, I now have a whole new vocabulary that I can use when I’m teaching, such as the “center of interest painting,” the “big shape painting,” “soft surfaces” and so forth. I feel much more confident as a teacher having spent an intensive 18 months writing the book.

Q: What's the one thing you'd like people who aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?

A: As an artist, I guess there are several things that define me. One is that I believe very strongly that we must be true to ourselves and paint what we love and in the manner in which we love to paint, regardless of current trends. Thus, I am not an abstract painter. It doesn’t satisfy me at all. I need to relate to something I see. I want my paintings to be painterly, not photo realistic, but also to have enough detail to engage the eye over time. The abstraction is in the underlying composition of shapes and values and I think this is the most important aspect of any kind of painting. 

Aside from painting, my other passion is the piano. I’ve always been a real amateur, but some years ago I began studying with a truly wonderful teacher. I joined a piano group,  bought a new piano, and decided to take myself more seriously. I’m still very limited but I get much more satisfaction because I know I’m giving it my all.

Q: What's your favorite piece from an upcoming show and why?

A: My next show will be at the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda in October. In 2011 and 2012, I had shows in Bethesda and Massachusetts called “Shore Houses.”  I’ve become known for my paintings of buildings and was dubbed the “Architect of Color” in a June 2011 article in the Pastel Journal. With both of those shows behind me and the book published, I decided to just paint whatever I wanted to paint. I realized that the one common theme was the presence of some kind of water. No houses this time, but brooks, harbors, rivers, ocean. I grew up on the ocean so this isn’t surprising.  I’m calling the show “Waterscapes.” It’s hard to say what my favorite piece is. I’ve been playing with squares and I particularly like the painting The Autumn Marsh, one of four 20" x 20" paintings that will be in the show. Marsh in Autumn (2) is another favorite. It’s of the same scene that I painted from a number of years ago. The older painting was full of bright reds and oranges; the current painting is more subdued and much more pleasing to me. Both paintings are from the Eastern Shore/Delaware Bay area.

  Autumn on the Marsh 
(On UART 400 grit sand paper)

 Marsh in Autumn
(On Pastelbord)

Q: Do you paint intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?

A: It all depends on the subject matter. If I have the perfect subject, I might forgo studies and just jump in to the painting. But I’m more likely in the studio to do composition and value studies and sometimes color studies. I love to work from black and white and supply my own color. I do studies to play with various places to begin the color as well as the overall color palette. Because pastel is all about layering, this is very important to the success of the painting.  Once into the piece, however, it becomes quite intuitive. I might decide to alter the composition or change the colors. What works in a small study doesn’t always work in a larger painting. I like to keep all of my options open! 

Q: Who is your biggest influence and why?

A: When I was in college, we had a show of paintings by RichardSchmid and I was completely taken with them. I still love his work and think he is one of the greatest living oil painters in the US.  The impressionists influenced my love of color and painterly representation. Among pastel painters, my favorite is Duane Wakeham, a landscape painter from California, whose work is ethereal and truly beautiful. However, the types of paintings I do more closely resemble the work of Washington State artist Susan Ogilvie, with whom I have studied.

Q: What do you feel is the best thing about being an artist in the DC area?

A: There are mixed blessings of being in DC. On the one hand, we have a wealth of great art easily accessible to us at all times. But I’m not sure that DC is a great art town when it comes to people purchasing art. I’ve been a member of the Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda since 2004 and since that time I’ve seen most of the galleries in Bethesda close. If there is any area that could support art, it is Bethesda. But there are now very few dedicated galleries. I hope that the improving economy will change this picture, but for now, it is hard.

However, there are a great number of creative people and I’ve been fortunate to be part of a community of wonderful artists and musicians that enriches my life far more than painting sales.

Q: A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever sell. Tell us about yours.

A: I sold the painting that I never wanted to sell!  It’s called “The Horse Farm.”  It was done as the second painting of the day during an outdoor plein air festival. I didn’t completely finish it and I loved the way it looked. My husband convinced me that I needed the money and could do others. So I sold it to a friend. I’ve never done anything else like it.  
The Horse Farm
(on Textured Board)

Thanks, Jean, for sharing your passion for pastels! It was a pleasure learning about you and your work. For more about Jean and her beautiful art, visit her website or drop by the Waverly Street Gallery on 4600 East-West Highway in Bethesda.

Today's Gratitude


I deinstalled my show at River Road Unitarian yesterday. Many thanks to curator Mary Ferguson for organizing it... and to the new owner of Red String (Fortune) for giving this piece a home. When she picked it up, she asked if I think about my paintings after they're sold. I told her I do, so much so that I worry about them. If someone redecorates or their taste in art changes ten years down the road, does the piece end up in a dumpster somewhere? My memories and emotions are embedded in my paintings. They are a huge part of me.

When people buy my work, I feel like they are validating my existence not as an artist, but as a person. They are understanding struggles, celebrating high points, and standing right with me as I make visual the intense wonder I feel, both when I was a young girl and now as a 43-year-old woman. Wonder about the world, why we exist, and what it all means.

Since my little sideswipe with uterine cancer last fall, I've been trying hard to express gratitude for something, no matter how small, every day. The big things I repeat often: how grateful I am for it being caught early, for surgery removing it all, for not needing radiation/chemo. But there are other equally big things, big quiet things, that I need to vocalize more. Like making sure my friends know how much I appreciate their support for my art. Here's my dear friend and co-worker Lesley who just happened to match two paintings at the River Road reception. Thanks to each of you who come out and look at art whether it's the work of someone you know or not. People who look at and experience art keep our visual culture alive, and make us artists want to keep on doing what our hearts know best.

Family Portrait by David Hagen


David Hagen does the coolest portraits and pictures of monsters munching on cities and more. He's also been known to add robots to otherwise innocuous scenes, so we asked him to add a robot to our family. Yes, our robot insurance is paid up.

He's usually a regular at Artomatic with lots of small works guaranteed to put a smile on your face, so be sure to check him out. Thanks, David!


My solo at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda is now up! Here's a new piece, finished on New Year's Day. Many thanks to Mary Ferguson for curating! Back in Memphis Again. 24 x 22 inches. I'm experimenting with not covering the words these days. I'm sure there's some kind of subconscious reason for that.

Solo at RRUUC in Bethesda Jan 5 - Feb 15, 2013


Number the Days, a solo of my work that continues to explore what remembering looks like is on display from January 5 through February 15, 2013 at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation Fellowship Hall, 6301 River Road, Bethesda, Maryland. Please drop by the reception Sunday, January 20, 2013 from 3 to 5 p.m. I'd love to see you!

The exhibit can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm by calling the RRUUC office (301-229-0400) to ensure that no conflicting activity is scheduled. Happy New Year, and my 2013 be your best year yet!!