Our 100th issue (September/October 2022) includes a review I wrote of the “Danforth Annual Juried Exhibition 2022” that runs through September 18 at the Danforth at Framingham State University along with interviews with some of the artists about their work. Due to deadline restraints, I wasn’t able to include my exchange with Lori Mehta, whose wonderfully detailed “XMarkstheSpot” oil painting was one of my favorite works in the show, so I share our email exchange here.
I FELT A BIT OF THE RELAXED WEST COAST STYLE OF THE 1960S AND ’70S AND WAS WONDERING IF THAT WAS AN INFLUENCE?
“Without a doubt, I am influenced by several artists of the 60’s and 70’s, however the first two who come to mind are from the East and West Coast, Katz and Hockney. I am curious who you see in my work? Sometimes being truly influenced by another artist might not be evident, even to the artist themselves.
DID YOU SKETCH OUT YOUR PLAN FOR THE PIECE FIRST AND HOW DID YOU PLAN IT OUT? I REALLY LOVED ALL THE INDIVIDUAL COLOR PORTIONS OF THE WORK.
“The way I approached this particular piece was to begin the process from life. Since the positioning and color of light are fleeting, I create small sketches where I literally label, with small arrows, areas of unique color. I find these are not as evident when working from a photo, which is my next step. This is most evident on the t-shirt on this figure. Where the t-shirt is next to her leg and absorbs the warmth of her skin tone. I often exaggerate this reflected color in my work. My next step is to draw a loose sketch on the board, where I simply make sure it’s an accurate drawing…so important with figurative work. I then go back in with a pencil and ruler, and in doing this I enlarge each section of the photo but by bit. The slightest nuance in line is captured this way. It’s a bit like a puzzle at this point, working out each section one at a time. I also forget that what I am painting is figurative, and treat each section as a painting itself. This drawing portion of my work is the most time consuming, but it allows me to concentrate on subtle shifts of color when I actually apply the paint. Each shift of color is a shape I have drawn.”
To learn more about Lori Mehta’s artwork, visit lorimehtaart.com.
(Danforth Annual Juried Exhibition 2022 continues through September 18 at the Danforth Museum at Framingham State University, 14 Vernon Street on the Framingham Center Common, Framingham, Massachusetts. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon-5 p.m. For more information, visit danforth.framingham.edu.)