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Check out Lori Drew’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Drew.

Lori, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When I think back on my whole life, I see a creative soul, happiest in natural surroundings, comforted in knowing God’s mercy and love. I am proud to say I served four years of active duty as a Navy photographer and had a successful career as a hospital public relations director, which I gladly gave up to be a stay-at-home mom to three wonderful sons while operating a portrait photography business. That’s the gist of it, with the details left out to keep this walk from turning into a backcountry hike.

While there have always been challenges to overcome in my life, I had a huge one come my way about seven years ago, and it led to a need for creative expression. My best friend suggested I leave the job I had at the time and take the summer off to paint. I started with acrylic but yearned for something more. I found oil and cold wax medium and never looked back. I love the process, grateful for its forgiving properties. I crave the imperfections and delight in the unexpected. I don’t draw. I develop. And just as I was fascinated by an image magically appearing in the darkroom so long ago, I am equally fascinated by the images that appear as layers of this mixed medium develop with each swipe of my drywall knife. It serves my creative soul and smoothes the rough edges of any of life challenges.

Because art has help me heal, I try to help other artists by coordinating pop-up galleries in our community. As you say, every artist has a unique story to tell, and he or she deserves a platform to communicate through pencil, pen, brush or knife, cutting through to the heart of our audience.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do? Why? And what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I would like to say I create peace. That’s my goal. I live near the Gulf of Mexico, in Santa Rosa Beach, along scenic highway 30a which connects wonderful little beach communities. We have rare coastal dune lakes and state parks and a multitude of quiet places to connect with nature. For me, there is nothing more peaceful than to sit on the sand and listen to the waves, watching sandpipers scurry along the water’s edge. So this is what I paint — peaceful scenes of emerald water, alabaster sand and blue-gray skies with marks that make you wonder and paths that make you want to keep on walking to where those little birds run.

I want to remind people that in the midst of chaos, they can still find peace. It comes from within, so you can find it anytime, anywhere… you just may need a beach image to bring back the calm.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I think the role of the artist remains the same — to express one’s inner self, bringing a voice to those feelings that lie beneath the surface of our fragile human bodies. As the world writes its history, the artist will continue to “speak” of the good, the bad and the beautiful that surrounds us. We cannot help but be affected by current events. We may not be able to change the world, but we can give a small piece of ourselves in our artistic expressions and enable others to connect with us on a deeper level, with the hope of silently communicating that we are in this life together.

Most recently, I felt the need to express the beauty of our national parks. The government shutdown has taken its toll on our precious land.

My solo exhibit at our local library in March is dedicated to delivering a plea for peace, cooperation, and stewardship while challenging my own artistic journey with the new subject matter and palette, still remaining true to my personal style.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My studio/gallery is my sanctuary, and guests are invited to visit me there. It is filled with my most recent works and changes weekly.
I believe strongly in helping other artists gain exposure for their art in our community, and I have partnered with East End Gallery in South Walton, curating new exhibits quarterly that showcase the works of approximately 20 rotating artists, including my own.

Finally, I organize pop-ups at Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s Front House Gallery throughout their professional performance season each year, and my work can be seen and purchased there with 20% of all sales benefiting ECTC.

Anyone interested in learning more can contact me through my website: www.loridrew.net

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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