Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center is home to a unique local treasure: Art Group Gallery. Founded and operated by area artists, it is a true working gallery where area artists have a studio to paint and can display their works to sell in the front of the shop. Follow along as we feature different artists each month who will each share the inspiration and stories behind a few of his or her pieces.
At Home: Tell us a bit about your style. Do you have any subjects you are known for painting?
Lori Weeks: Some would say that I’m mostly known for my bright red poppy landscapes or colorful bursts of flowers. This little cutie (Poppies 17) would be a signature piece for me. Bright, colorful bursts of poppies and/or various flowers that I just label “poppies.” I started painting versions of this about 12 years ago, and they continue to evolve. I love painting these because I can be flexible on size and color options as well as texture. I can let my creativity flow and just dance around on the canvas. I work with both palette knives and brushes using loads of oil paint to make these poppies pop! I title most of these “Poppies” and number them to keep track in the Gallery, but you might see other titles for these like “Happiness”. I enjoy hearing that my work brings happiness into the homes of my collectors; that’s why I do what I do.
AH: What about your surroundings? Are you often influenced by your environment?
LW: This old barn is from the Greers Ferry Lake area, which is where I grew up. I’ve always loved painting barns! This particular painting is more unique for me because unlike my usual impasto (thick, textured) style of painting, I used minimal paint. I also let my canvas primer color shine through to make that pop of glowing sunrise, and then I applied the paint using a palette knife with a touch of brush work to make this sleek, pleasing feel. This is a perfect size for over a sofa, bed, or server. For me, it was simply “Lovely” that came to mind for the title.
AH: Do your paintings always go as you plan or do they morph?
LW: Believe it or not, this painting was originally a night hunting scene that I worked on for weeks and weeks, and I just wasn’t loving it. The colors were similar with the red and darks, so I just decided to make a change and went for a poppy field. My goal is to get a balance of impressionism with abstraction. The dramatic landscape was painted this Veteran’s Day, so I titled it “Remembrance” in honor of the fallen. It is a larger painting that would work nicely in a home or office environment.
AH: Do you paint from photos or en plein air?
LW: The more I paint the less I go by the guidelines. I use my imagination more and more; I get bored painting from photos so I sometimes squint my eyes or just paint from my imagination. This is a smaller horizontal painting that might work great in a kitchen. I must have been in a blue paint mode, so I went for Bluebonnets. I love painting outside of the zone, so here’s to Texas! What can I say, I just love to paint colorful flowers!
Learn more about Lori and how you can shop Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.