Lorie Merryman



Profile Lorie Merryman

As an artist in the Pacific Northwest I am fortunate to live in the vibrant arts communities of Fox Island and Gig Harbor. As a member of the Peninsula Art League, I have the privilege of painting with outstanding artists—all of us drawn to the rugged beauty of a natural landscape encompassing expansive views of the South Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascades, beautiful Northwest gardens, numerous islands and harbors.

Growing up in the Southeast and Midwest, my earliest influences in art were my family’s collection of Japanese wood block prints, which included ukiyo-e prints and shin hanga prints by Hiroshi Yoshida, 1876-1950.  Yoshida’s landscapes, in particular, with the clean lines and views of far away worlds enchanted me.   Although I always loved drawing and painting, I majored in English literature and eventually worked in marketing, advertising and communication

For the most part, my study of painting and drawing has been independent, outside traditional university or art academy settings.  When I came back to the world of painting after my career in communications and public relations, I studied watercolor at various workshops and classes in Oregon and North Carolina.  However, it wasn’t until I studied oil painting with artist Chris DiDomizio in his Old World Art studio in Atlanta that I began to see a transformation of my work.   It was this life-changing decision that helped me improve and grow as an artist. 

DiDomizio, a classically trained artist who studied in Italy, makes every student (every single one) go back to the basics of drawing.  Every person has to start from the beginning, drawing cubes, learning values all over again and progressing to the point of copying fine art drawings.  Only when deemed ready, can the student pick up the brush and paint in oils.  From then on, we learned to paint in oils by copying Master artists’ paintings, with a special emphasis on the paintings of John Singer Sargent.  It was in this studio that I learned the basics of portrait painting, too.

In addition to DiDomizio’s Old World Art school, two other artists have made a tremendous impact on my development as an artist.  I studied portrait painting with painter Paul W. McCormack of the Hudson Valley, New York.  Over the past few years, I started painting en plein air and studied with Bill Davidson of Johns Creek, Georgia.  Davidson is a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America and has exhibited his work nationally.

Artist Statement

While most of my earlier paintings were in watercolor, today I work mainly in oils with a strong interest in portraits and landscapes. For some reason, I've especially enjoyed painting portraits of the extremes in age—older people with their wisdom-lined faces and young children with their youth and innocence. There’s nothing as exciting as painting a face, adding more and more detail until the eyes open, the expression is matched and the person emerges, ready to draw breath.

I also paint landscapes en plein air, which is a whole different mental process: editing the landscape down to a compelling composition; adding elements for clarity; deleting extra details that detract from the focal point; painting against time, the elements and changing light.

Occasionally I’ll work out an abstract painting for exercise in thinking about pure shapes, lines, values and color. This seems to take an entirely different part of the brain and I find abstraction an interesting and challenging process.Sometimes I also come back to the tradition of still life painting and enjoy composing vignettes and playing with light and shadow.

There’s something transcendent about the process of making art. Virtually every artist I know has experienced being in that very different state of mind. The creation process is invigorating and absorbing. The level of concentration is so complete that you lose track of time and surroundings. While you need determination and practice to create the paintings you imagine in your mind’s eye, there’s also tremendous satisfaction in completing a painting that meets your own expectations

Award for Into the Storm at Blessing of the Fleet Exhibition