Artist at Work: Lorraine Weidner, Painter of the Lives of Flowers

by Laureen on February 19, 2014

weidner12-1_o5Lorraine Weidner, “Lives of Flowers 1” (oil stick/paper)

The artists who exhibit with Grasslands Gallery are some of the most talented and inspiring people I know. This occasional series introduces them and their artwork.

When painter Lorraine Weidner looks at flowers, she sees the mystery of life. A dedicated gardener as well as an artist, she is never without a bouquet in her home. In her studio Lorraine uses oil bars (oil paints in stick form), oil pastels and graphite on paper, canvas and medium-density fibreboard to explore her flowers’ many faces and the emotions they represent. Starting with a focal point, Lorraine adds layers of colour and texture until the image suggests the lives these flowers have had.

Here Lorraine Weidner talks about her painting practice, her story as an artist and what is coming up for her next.

weidner12-1_z5Lorraine Weidner, “Lives of Flowers 2” (oil stick/paper)

“I’ve been painting for over 20 years. I began by taking classes from [Prince Albert artist and well-known Saskatchewan teacher] George Glenn at the Emma Lake arts campus. I was hooked after the second class. A close friend had taken a course from George and told me what a great teacher he was. I loved her work and knew I could trust George to be my guide. He is a very perceptive teacher who knows how to relate to all personalities. He makes you work very hard. Because his method is hard and fast, the creative mind emerges and the rational mind is pushed aside.

“During the very few rigid art periods I had in elementary school, I could never give the teacher what she wanted. I didn’t draw the standard house as I didn’t care for straight lines. However, I still kept a glimmer of creative yearning and knew it would only take the right teacher to draw it out. Before George’s class, I took a community night class in Didsbury, AB. I was also a failure there because I couldn’t copy calendar pictures – the teacher would come along and touch up my paintings.

weidner12-2_g5Lorraine Weidner, “Lives of Flowers 5” (oil stick/paper)

“Now I live and paint in a house at what was the south limit of Regina 60 years ago when my parents built here. For an eight-year old it was wonderful, great piles of dirt, sand and rocks, lots to explore – just like I’d come to live in the country. Now it’s pretty much a central location. My studio is in the basement with good-sized windows, as it was roughed in for a basement suite. I paint mostly on Saturdays and daily on trips. Saskatoon artist Louise Roy and I began travelling in 2007 on our first trip to New Mexico which is an artists’ paradise in the way of landscape and art galleries. We decided to make all our annual travels sketching trips.

“I like flowers because I see the mystery of life when I look at them. My choice to paint them was a kind of probe into their interior. When I view rain droplets on them, they look so perky, it’s like they’re saying, “That drink was heavenly.” In a scorching sun, they droop as we do. I wonder if they have emotions. Can they show fear, joy, sadness or anger?

“I immerse myself in a painting, inhabiting it as much as possible. I stop when I feel the rational mind becoming dominant, that is, when I begin thinking too much. Then I re-visit it days later to assess it. I don’t usually work on more than one painting at the same time. I like to use oil bars because I need less paint thinner with them and there is less smell. I also love doing pencil sketches. I began painting by putting bright complementary colours together. Currently I’m working with tones of one colour, limiting the palette, which I find challenging. I never know ahead of time exactly what I will focus on but let it come to me when I sit down to paint.

“When I visited Grasslands in August 2013, I had the feeling I should ask Laureen if she’d like to take my work, and I’m glad I did. I admired her courage in moving and opening a gallery, and it felt right to have my work in her space. It was a kind of intuitive thing, I think because the beauty of the landscape around Val Marie captured me. Now I’m applying for solo exhibitions in other Saskatchewan galleries, with my series of flower paintings called Interior Lives. I don’t think I’ve explored even a fraction of what flowers have to offer.”

weidner12-1_q5Lorraine Weidner, “Lives of Flowers 2” (oil stick/paper)

Lorraine Weidner’s paintings and many other choices are available for purchase at Grasslands Gallery. Just click on the image. For stories about other Grasslands Gallery artists, please go here.

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The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates with beautiful images, stories about the Grasslands and its artists and inspiration every week, just put your email in the box on the right. We never share your email address.


Pam February 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

I really look forward to seeing these, Laureen. The thumbnails definitely intrigue.

Laureen February 20, 2014 at 11:37 am

They are beautiful pieces. The gallery opens in May for all to see!

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