Lori Putnam, "The Keeper's House," oil on linen, 20 x 24 in.
Lori Putnam, "The Keeper's House," oil on linen, 20 x 24 in.
"In this book, I have included plates of paintings that are meaningful to me," says Lori, "occasionally grouped with a story, a sketch, and a studio work. They are shown chronologically, beginning in 2013."

Plein Air Painting News > We’re excited to share with you the news that Lori Putnam has published a beautiful collection of her works in a book titled “Lori Putnam, So Far.” The following is from the Preface, in her own words. Enjoy!

From “Lori Putnam, So Far”
by Lori Putnam, on plein air painting & more

It has taken a long time to pull all of this together. I am glad it did. The title “Lori Putnam, So Far” came to me after I had been working as a full-time artist for the relatively short period of 15 years. It is more appropriate now. I am further along in my career and artistic development.

The phrase “so far” has several distinct, yet open-ended, meanings. First, I have traveled a very long way from a small house on a dirt road in Middle Tennessee to paint in dozens of towns across the United States and the world. However, more important to me, is how far my work has come “up to this point.”

Plein air painting of a boat harbor
Lori tells us, “‘Abstracted Harbor’ (11 x 14 in.) was painted in San Diego, California. I was one of the faculty members for the annual Plein Air Convention there in 2017. As I painted it, I remembered a photograph I had from Charleston, North Carolina. It was a quick snapshot taken through a car window while on a trip with Plein Air Painters of the Southeast. Three years later, ‘Safe Harbor’ was painted in my studio. Sometimes it takes a long time and miles of travel for an idea to materialize.”

When I jumped into painting in 1997, I felt as if I was drowning in the wake of the contemporary artists whose work I began to recognize and admire. Even though we were of the same generation, I was years of study behind most of them. Starting to paint in my mid-30s I felt a sense of urgency. Coupled with natural enthusiasm, my dedication to learning, growing, and “catching up” meant working day and night. I set personal goals: to gain approval from my teachers, to exhibit with them, and to earn their respect. I have pushed myself more in art than in any previous profession for personal satisfaction.

Plein air painting of the Talbot House
Lori Putnam, “Talbot House,” 2022, Oil on linen on panel, 36 x 14 in.
“This house on Talbot Street in Rockland, Maine is one of the many places painted by Edward Hopper,” Lori said. “Several other artists have painted the house as well. I wanted to be sure I was influenced in no way by any of their paintings. Perhaps that is why it took many years of consideration before I painted it. I needed to feel confident of what I wanted to say about its iconic roof and the individuality of each of its windows.”

The most significant difference between this vocation and my previous work is that it takes as long as it takes. You cannot rush learning to paint. All you can do is your best on any given day. Getting “up-to-speed” is an unknown factor. As the old saying goes, “The more you know, the more you know what you don’t know.” Painting is a life-long pursuit — one I am happy to embrace. ~Lori Putnam

Lori Putnam, "Here, Kitty Kitty," 2021, Oil on linen on panel, 36 in x 48 in, Charlotte, Tennessee; Award of Excellence, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Fall Online Showcase, 2021
Lori Putnam, “Here, Kitty Kitty,” 2021, Oil on linen on panel, 36 in x 48 in, Charlotte, Tennessee; Award of Excellence, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Fall Online Showcase, 2021

“It may seem as though Lori has moved quickly from being a skilled painter to an artist finding her own point of view,” says Dawn E. Whitelaw in the book’s Foreword. “This transformation has happened due to the “miracles” of hard work and determination. Her paintings are the product of experimentation and play, not formula.

“She is not just a slightly different version of other painters, but is uniquely herself. You see this in the choices she makes about chroma, key, and composition. Oh… did I mention subject matter? Lori’s paintings are not limited to particular favored subject matter. You certainly will not be bored as she takes you on her journey. She finds something to paint everywhere. You would expect spectacular views as she travels to New Zealand or to England’s coast, but she is finding extraordinary compositions nearby in Charlotte, Tennessee, or down a back alley in Florida. This is because her real subjects are shapes and color/value relationships.

“The title of the book is ‘So Far.’ I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Plein air painting of a tractor
Lori Putnam, “Spent Shells,” 2015, Plein Air, Oil on linen on panel 14 in x 18 in Apalachicola, Florida. “A painting is never about subject matter to me,” Lori says. “I am captivated by interlocking shapes, color harmonies, and precisely related tones.”

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