Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm Interviewed by Suki...

The sweet and talented Suki has chosen to interview me and has come up with five tough questions. Here they are along with my answers. I'll try to be interesting!

Your love of animals pervades your blog. Can you tell us a story of a special animal friend?

My very first animal friend was my childhood dog, Curly. He was a black Cocker Spaniel mix with a little Spitz thrown in, or so they said. He was the most loyal friend ever. If it weren't for him by my side I truly believe there were days when I wouldn't have made it. Let's just say that life wasn't easy when I was a kid.

He was my confidant ( I told him everything) and my shadow, my heart and soul. He got a raw deal in life but he never complained. It's because of him that I've dedicated my entire life to caring for animals.

Tell us a little bit about Studio Lolo, which I know you have just closed. Whence the name? How did it feel to run a gallery in which to show your work and others? Or any other bit you want to describe.

Studio Lolo kind of presented itself to me. The most unbelievable, affordable space opened up downtown. I had just lost a space that I had in the back of a private home because they had to move a family member in. I had been thinking of a new space in the back of my mind, never dreaming I'd find something on the main street. It was filled with light and it had a full balcony overlooking the main street! It was meant to be.

Lolo was a childhood nickname my father had given me. He told me it meant "stupid", so obviously I never felt comfortable with it. Believe it or not, I was daddy's little girl. My dad loved me the only way he knew how, so only recently I've forgiven him for the past and decided on the name Studio Lolo. I loved it right away! Now people other than family call me Lolo and it feels right.

I only showed other artists work if I put out "a call to artists" for a special themed show. Mainly Studio Lolo was a working studio and a place to finally showcase my own art.

The best show I ever had was my best work from my first year of Illustration Friday. It was so fulfilling to see them all framed with their stories and watching crowds of people reading every word. I always knew which ones they were looking at by the sniffles or the laughter. I'll never forget the experience.

(click here to see the show!)

Your artwork is incredibly varied. Collages, hand-painted furniture, murals (some quite large), paintings, illustrations in Cat fancy Magazine and others. What is your favorite medium to work in or with, and why?

As a primarily self-taught artist, I find myself exploring new mediums every now and again but usually end up going back to basics. The latest medium I'm enjoying is drawing on brown paper bags because it's a handy material. Most of my art supplies are packed away in the garage and I foolishly didn't mark the boxes! I refuse to EVER miss a week of Illustration Friday so I just grab what I have in the house. My "Bag Ladies" have emerged from this lack of supply situation and they're kind of growing on me. (See my header for the first one I did.) I also love doing mixed media ( paint and colored pencil) on patterned card stock/scrapbooking paper. Illustration has always been my first love.

I've pretty much retired from doing murals just recently. The money is very good but the body is feeling my 55 years. No more ladders or working in the cold. I'll leave that to the young painters!

I have to say that I miss my studio space sometimes, but my dining room table provides a good enough place for me to create for now.

You are anticipating a move from west coast to east coast. How do you maintain your center through all the changes that are occurring?

We moved out here from Rhode island fifteen years ago. We've been talking about moving back home for at least five years now. For one reason or another things just haven't lined up~mainly, a job for my husband. I can do what I do no matter where I live.

I've always been a "bloom where you're planted" kind of gal because of how many times in my life I've been "uprooted." Staying centered is difficult sometimes, but being outside in nature has a soothing effect on me. I'll miss the freedom this climate affords. Cold weather will definately impose some restrictions! Art keeps me centered too.

Can you suggest one or two books for us to read for inspiration?

One of my favorite books that helps to unblock my creative self is "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin. I pick it up at least once a year when I need a creative tune-up! Lately I've noticed mention of it on a few blogs and some folks even started a weekly group inspired by it.

Another book I just bought myself for the new year is "The Art Of Extreme Self-Care" by Cheryl Richardson.

As a caregiver I fall into the pile with many others who don't take care of themselves until our own wells have run dry. I've been feeling the physical, mental and spiritual effects for months now~my own personal 'car wreck' if you will. Not being one to wallow and stay in misery, I decided to make my first priority be self-care. It feels strange to focus attention on myself, but I know in order to be effective in my work and be present in the moment then I must be as kind and loving to Laurel as I am to others, and as others are to me.

It's a process!

Thank you Suki, for these questions. I hope I didn't put anyone to sleep!

If any of you would like to be interviewed by me...here are the instructions.

1) leave me a comment saying "interview me."

2) I will respond by emailing you 5 questions which I get to choose.

3) You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4) You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.


  1. 'put me to sleep'? i was riveted! so many new things i learnt too, specially liked the story about 'lolo' and the fantastic 'if' exhibition you hosted.
    you were, are and always will be my first'hero' in the blogworld and now even more so.
    love you lolo (and love the name too). hugs and wfs.

  2. That was great...reading your interview!!! You are a very positive person in life! Rolling with the punches and coming out on top! I hope you get a chance to move back east if it can all work out for you! Good luck!

  3. This is a great interview - tells alot about you. I always liked the name Lolo and am so glad that you are able to use it despite your early experience. And of course, I agree with everyone that your artwork is amazing - and if you did it on the bathroom sink it would still be wonderful!!!

  4. Laurel, I agree with Soulbrush. What interesting and elegantly written answers. I feel inspired byh your early inspiration re: Curly. How he influenced your life's work. So wonderful you had a confidant like him. So fascinating too about the name. And how you forgave your dad and named your wonderful studio. I know what you mean abt the art supplies being packed. I am now packing mine into boxes. I've been moving in and out of places for over 4 years now. My first move, the boxes were so well labeled i could find almost anything. Now 5 moves later, I am not as enthusiastic about detailing what's in the box but am trying to make myself do it. Ugh. Good luck with all you anticipate doing. And so glad you are putting self care into a priority position Blessings and thank you, Suki

  5. I think this is a great interview. Good questions and informative answers. It is great getting to know you better especially since I haven't been reading your blog for very long. You have such positive energy. I love your bag ladies too. You could do a book with them in it. Just think of the tales they could tell. I often do think of stories that could go with them.

  6. Very interesting interview Lolo!
    Loved to read all these thing about you!
    I think you are great and it´s fun to learn more about you.
    I also feel a little pain when I read it, hard to explain but it is just some kind of melancholy.
    Leaving the sun behind, where are you going?
    I have just been interviewd by Soulbrush!

    love >M<

  7. ps after my comment I saw your comment on my interview.
    Not only did we post it at the same time but also commented on each others interview!

    Great job Suki!

  8. I totally enjoyed your interview and learned so much, especially to persevere! You had a very good interview and I great appreciate your sharing so much.

  9. Great questions and intriguing answers. I love learning about blogging friends.

    There were a few things that I could really relate too. I keep seeing that book come up and need to get it!

    Thanks for doing this (from one bag lady to another :)

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  11. Sorry...the delete above was me...my spint got in the way of my keyboard...LOL:)

    What a fascinating interview...Amazing questions and thoughtful sensitive answers...Thanks for sharing! :)

  12. Enjoyed the interview but had a hard time reading it for the colors. I too had a dog that was my confident and friend growing up. Mop's. She would follow me & my bus to school if my folks didn't watch her. :))

  13. You are obviously a prime example of how the spirit of a person can triumph.

    I am so happy that you had your little dog as a trusted companion.

    Take care of you.

    Love Renee

  14. No, I'm sorry to say the art isn't mine. I have been an art stealer over the last year and have so much art without an artists name attached. I wish.

    The writing is mine but none of the pictures.

    Now at least I try to ask the artist and link their name or stick it by the picture (since I am link illiterate).



  15. Lolo, so tenderly felt and shared – your name :) I truly enjoyed this interview, and to learn more about you and your process is inspiring as well as uplifting (we can rise above our past), so thank you for being open, and to Suki for her time and inquiry.

    Have a joyous weekend!

  16. Wonderful interview Laurel, I knew there was so much to you, I could feel the depth everywhere it is felt and seen in your work... and your expression... and your kindness - patience with animals / people.
    You are a warrior, so glad you posted about yourself and Studio Lolo's history!
    And then those 2 books... now I'm like Teri, curious... One I got from the library just yesterday :-)

  17. a great interview. i've always wondered about 'lolo' ... i'm glad i came here today.

    i know whatcha mean about packing...after all the moves my husband and i made...it wasn't until our very last move together that i got anal enough to make invoice sheets for every single box...and i numbered them and everything.

    i used to think i'd remember what was in them when they got packed. HAH.

    i agree that your artwork is awesome. and you are creative in every way imaginable. i'm glad you're here, lolo.