Art is the creation of something from nothing.
Art is a transfer of energy.
I have held onto this image for years. I still love it.
I've missed my old blog, Lorien Hall Everyday. I miss the simplicity - the pared-backness about it. I've missed having a dedicated space to write. And I've missed writing. Sometimes I find when I shift things around for the sake of improvement, I create a less productive situation. But how could I have known prior? Like when I moved my computer desk from the nook to the west wall and ever since then I have spent such little time on my computer. I moved it because I wanted to put a chair in the nook so I could sit there and read and write and enjoy the sunlight coming though the windows. I don't do that. Maybe it's the chair. I spent more time in the nook when I had my desk there.
Since combining my blog with my website, I find that I am less motivated to write.
So now I will move my computer desk back to the nook and I will separate out my blog from my website. I hope that by so doing I will move my work and my writing along in a more steady and consistent manner. I want to be a productive person, more so than I am today. And while I am becoming to believe less and less that there a magic trick to becoming productive, hopefully these changes will have an impact.
These changes represent a larger picture of what I am going through right now. I am trying to find my way forward. 2017 has proved to be a very different year for me. In some ways it's been good and positive, but in other ways it has been my worst year yet. This is especially true financially. I have never been in a worse financial spot than I am now. Also I have never been in a more confusing spot as to my future than I am now...immediate and distant. I have ideas for the future and I am moving on those, but as an artist who is staying in the artist's vein, I am taking the less predictably stable route. I can't not do this. If I am not meant to be a full-time creative for life then I will have to be knocked over the head and dragged towards my new profession. And if that new direction is where my future happiness and success lies, then so be it as I know I can always lead a create life otherwise. But until then I will fight to pay the bills by what beats in my heart the most.
So now I will wish myself the best of luck in this endeavor.
2016 Wanders: Death Valley NP > Joshua Tree NP > Organ Pipe Cactus NM > Saguaro NP > Bryce Canyon NP > Yellowstone NP
I have been back from my 2016 wanders for awhile now. When I first set out on the last day of February of last year, I loaded up my Honda Element with a small mountain of sketch pads, paint pads, pencils, colored pencils, markers, brushes, and paints. I didn't know what to expect, or what I was going to create, but I wanted to connect with the natural world in a new way, something different from my work as a landscape and garden designer. While on the road I ended up creating interpretive landscape sketches using my colored pencils, which I continued to create on subsequent wanders. The reference photographs I took of my colored pencils later influenced my Mondo a Colori poster series.
Join me on my journey as I tell my story and share my art. Most pieces are for sale, the sketches are originals and the posters are open edition, with the option of my signature. You can also download the digital files of my colored pencil photographs and print it yourself for your own wall. Now here we go...from Death Valley to Yellowstone.
My first stop was Death Valley National Park to see the much anticipated super bloom. It was amazing. Seas of yellow and gold swaying softly in the breeze; I sketched at sunrise.
Joshua Tree was my next stop (Mojave National Preserve sandwiched in-between!). I was greeted with a soft palette of tans, greens, and blues. It was out of a dream.
At first I went through a few different mediums, trying to find my grounding as an artist before settling on my colored pencils. My first series of sketches were pretty rough - trying to find my expression took some time.
The photographs of my pencils were originally reference photographs so I could remember which colors I had used and where I had sketched. But the reaction to these images was so positive, they quickly became an integral part of my wanders. I could hardly bump into someone without them mentioning my photographs.
It was my first time to Joshua Tree, and so I was easily swept up in it's beauty, though I feel my next trip back will be just as convincing.
The contrast of the rounded landforms against the sharpness of the spiky and rigid plants is very specific to this place. Joshua Tree has a spirituality within it that passes through you. While Death Valley felt vast, expansive and awe-inducing, Joshua Tree was intimate, mystical and nuanced.
The color combinations of the native plant life enchanted me at every turn. The textures added layers of interest as well, naturally.
I view my interpretive landscape sketches as minimal and impressionistic - like an exploded van Gogh. I loved the mark making process and the dozens of pages of sketchbook that I went through just to end up with a few sketches that captured what I felt and saw.
I had never filled a sketch book from the first page to the last until this wander. I felt accomplished as I ended with a small stack of filled sketch books by the end of 2016.
I have always wanted to use the Fibonacci sequence in a design or for a work of art - after all, the sequence is found all over nature, which completely fascinates me. So one winter evening, months after my wanders had ended and I was musing about my colored pencil photographs, I began to create the final art pieces from my wanders.
Using Adobe's Illustrator, I created several blocks using the sequence of 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34. I then developed the color palette directly from my colored pencil photographs. The layout of the blocks imbues a feeling representative of the space it was inspired by, and the skill to arrange came from my years of training and practice as a landscape and garden designer. It was a thrilling process to see all these moments from my life come together into one piece.
Walking among the towering Joshua Trees was like walking among sculptures.
This blooming Prickly Pear Cactus was the first I had seen on my wander, and the first I had seen in my life!
Even with my several trips to the Arizona desert, I was always too early for these blooms. The coloring here kept delighting me as I noticed the shifting of tones on the cactus paddles.
My most treasured location on my desert wander was Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Although I was warned against it several times, it was everything I was hoping for in an Arizona desert. I love the desert and this landscape reminded me why.
The creosote near my tent - and all around the campground for that matter - offered a smattering of green and mustard gold that the spring desert does so well. And with the little white fuzzy balls on the tips of the branches, they created glowing magic at sunrise.
I was impressed by the tall, strong lines that the Ocotillo made - with the little burst of red at the tops. They add a dynamic form to the scenery. Especially against a vivid blue sky.
Next stop was Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. I was anticipating this part of the wander from the start, but I didn't have much time. And I was tired. Still, I mustered up some gumption to enjoy the sunset, despite the heat.
Bryce Canyon National Park was a quick weekend wander taken later in the year. I arrived at dusk, set up camp, and hiked the Peek-a-Boo loop the next day. I had been to Bryce one other time before, but I didn't know what to expect other than what I had seen in photos. So when I stood along the rim, and saw people hiking down amongst the hoodoos, I knew I had to come back when I had more time to do the same.
I loved the saguaro forest here.
Fall of 2016 took me to Yellowstone National Park. I hadn't been there since 1999, and I hadn't properly explored it since way before that. Driving through certain areas brought back memories of when I came here as a teenager with my extended family for a reunion.
I drove past the wooded area adjacent a large meadow where we ate warm egg salad sandwiches at the picnic tables. I would later write about that experience in an SAT essay - or maybe I was just daydreaming about it rather than paying attention to my timed test...I have always been a wanderer.
I made an observation after my wander to Yellowstone - about my sketches. I found that they were much more angular than my sketches from the Southwest deserts. It wasn't done consciously, but when I reflect on the two regions and what I was sketching - I see how my hand responded accordingly.
It could take me quite a while to find the right pencils for the locations I chose to sketch. After that it was keeping them from rolling away, which I learned the hard way.
Wandering around Yellowstone, I was quite thrilled when I came across these mudpots. A chance to create something monochromatic. I stayed here for a long time watching the mud pop, pop, and gurgle.
One of the wonderful things about Yellowstone, and the reason why it's one of the most popular parks in America, is the otherworldliness of the colors you see, and the otherworldliness of the formations and natural occurrences. There's a lot of people that visit the park, sure, but if you are up at sunrise, chances are you will have a decent amount of time to yourself.
As I left Yellowstone, completing the last wander of 2016, I took the long way home past the Grand Tetons. It was mid-September and the aspens were blazing in gold, setting entire mountainsides and valleys on fire as it were. I had never seen anything like it. And it reminded me why I go out on these wanders in the first place. To see what I have never seen before, and through my art, to see how I have never seen before.
I created so many sketches from the mudpots (not all are shown here). My enthusiasm definitely came through.
Thank you for following along as I shared my 2016 Wanders story with you. I love to reflect on the process and see how it all organically came about. I could have never planned for the end results from the beginning. Besides, knowing the end results would have taken out a lot of the adventure (and agony)!
I look forward to sharing upcoming wanders with you and seeing where they take me. And I hope your wanders, in whatever form they manifest themselves, take you to wonderful places and bring you lots of joy.
(Throughout my wanders, I also captured some images for my black and white galleries, which you can see HERE.)
I LOVE this beautiful story - what a legacy this man has left.
Sun touches water.
You touch water.
You touch the sun.
There is nothing more satisfying than receiving wonderful, encouraging words from your clients and colleagues after a design has been installed. It motivates you to keep going and shows you that something you're doing and creating is making a difference for someone else.
That kind of encouragement is good for my heart.
Landscaping is not a term that does Lorien's work justice. Natural art would be closer to describing her work and scope. Our Utah mountain property is 7 acres, with two natural streams, 1200 trees and some very challenging elevation changes. Lorien has turned that description into something out of a dream. For someone so young, her talent is amazing and obviously involves a gift. One look at her very first rendering was all it took to know that she had to be on our team. She listens to our wishes and transforms out desires into reality. She is attentive and has a great passion for her work. Her follow up is exemplary and her attention to detail is outstanding.
- Gary and Debra; Client
We had the pleasure of working with Lorien during the construction of our new house. The advantage it gave us was that we were able to plan and build the house to compliment the landscaping and our home. Lorien planned all the aspects of the layout, including the plants and trees, to enhance the architecture of the house. She supervised the construction of her plan and it turned out better than we could have ever expected. Lorien, with her keen eye for art, designed planters and sculptures that fit our house perfectly. She lived our project and her enthusiasm was contagious. Many of our friends have complimented the creativity of our landscaping. Her work is special and we are thankful for having the opportunity to work with Lorien.
- Arnold and Beverly Levin; Client
Working with Lorien is a joy! She is very knowledgeable and professional - but more importantly - has vision and natural artistic sense exuding from her designs. She listened to my suggestions and incorporated my ideas for the project using her talent - added to the equation with fresh and novel suggestions resulting in an awesome outcome! I love my mountain zen sanctuary.
- Jill; Client
Lorien is a pleasure to work with. She demonstrated a great deal of creativity and professionalism every step of the way. Our planters look wonderful and exceed our expectations. The concept of greenhouse growing our custom planters for thirty days before delivery is a great way to accommodate the short growing season in our mountain environment. I would recommend Lorien highly.
- Chris and Michelle; Client
My association with Lorien is three-fold: as her teacher in three classes, as her academic advisor, and as a colleague in landscape design instruction at BYU. I have instructed over 2300 students in landscape design during the past twenty years, and Lorien is definitely among the top five designers I have ever taught. She displayed immense passion for the subject matter, and made meaningful contribution to class discussions. She regularly seeks opportunities to expand her awareness, and has traveled extensively to provide broad cultural perspectives to her work.
- Phil Allen, PhD; Professor at Brigham Young University
In my opinion Lorien brings a rare gift to the design world. Primarily she is very humble and unassuming. She has a remarkable ability to step forward and inspire her design team and clients as they work through the design process. I believe that Lorien is one of the most talented designers in our profession. She will inspire others along her path, and will elevate any project's level of success with her wonderful talents.
- Jeremy; Principal at Northland Design Group
Workshop II participants will have access to my studio on Wednesday April the 12th and Wednesday April the 19th to work on their designs. This will allow you to:
- Work on your design in the quiet of my studio so you don't have the distractions of home or work.
- Have use of the studio's drafting boards, which is very useful especially if you don't have your own at home.
- Have access to my books and magazines for design inspiration.
- Receive additional one-on-one help from me.
- Hang out and talk gardens and landscapes!
Open studio hours are from 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm. Come anytime and stay for as little or as long as you like.
This is a design I can see myself having created. I love reflection of light in the garden.
The Japanese Garden can be thought of as Adam and Eve after they had eaten the fruit. Nature is as Adam and Eve who had not eaten.
Nature = Naked
Gardens = Clothed
Japanese gardens, unlike a completely nude beauty, is a beauty who has suitably clothed her body.
I am not sure where I read this. It is an interesting comparison to consider.
I think these notes comes from "Magic of Trees and Stones" by Katsuo Saito.
...a means of self-expression using a variety of images drawn from nature. Rather than recreating nature as found in the real world, were distilled images and arranging these poetic fragments into an amalgam in the garden.
Heian Gardens: not perceived as total compositions but rather as a collection of poetic images. But images were not always first-hand, but images from poetry.
The use of existing, commonly understood poetic images as a basis for garden design.
Much of Japanese poetry was given over to nature description.
"Pine Tree" and "Wait" both equals "Matsu". So the pine tree becomes a suggestion of waiting, in particular - yearning for a lover or the resolution of an impossible situation.
Mono no aware (もののあわれ?), literally "the pathos of things", and also translated as "an empathy toward things", or "a sensitivity to ephemera", is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life. - Wikipedia
I am up early each morning now preparing for my landscape and garden design workshops. This means I am reading through all my design notes from the past several years. So often when we fill our blank books with information and insights, we rarely have reason and chance to re-visit them. And so they sit for years on a shelf or in a box. All that knowledge. All those thoughts.
It is proving to be a source of deep happiness to re-read all my notes and so often I think of someone with whom I want to share these little snippets with. But can people endure early morning texts each day? So I shall deposit them here. They will be random and many without context. Much like my notebooks themselves.
- familiarity with a newness
- areas of retreat, areas of social gathering
- never put a camber with gravel - have a one-way fall
- cambers are good for asphalt
- asphalt isn't great for areas with a high water table
- edging always comes first to establish levels
- best time to find out about he water table is winter time - dig a meter deep (even in Utah?)
- we are designers and specifiers
- loose gravel weighs about 70% of the weight of the same solid rock
- sedimentary rocks changes soil PH
- granite does not change soil PH
- put it down 65mm thick so it finishes 50mm thick
- we are all bound in an endless cycle of suffering, caused by want and desire
Pure Land (Jodo): A Heaven where the spirits of enlightened individuals enter at death to be removed from the endless cycle of death and rebirth. It's an island - connected to shore by a bridge, Pure Land is attainable.
Aware (Ah-wa-ray): An epiphany at the discovery of beauty in the pathos of life.
Below is an old Artist Statement I wrote about my work with the Great Salt Lake.
The mystical and ever-changing landscape of the Great Salt Lake in Utah's Great Basin is a highly curious subject for exploration. The story of space and time is told in surreal ways as wind and water carve and sculpt the salted sand into sinuous curves. Light and shadow weave into the water and rake across the sand, emphasizing the patterns and forms.
It's an elemental and otherworldly landscape, paired back to the minimal: sand, salt, water, and sky, with some mountains hosted along the distant horizon. Plant and animal life is limited. Yet in this seemingly basic environment, complexity and intricacy are tireless if one only looks. As an artist integrating myself into this space, I find surprising worlds through the lens of the camera.