ABOUT the ART
ABOUT the ARTIST
I enter into art as a visual prayer, a meditation; a form of contemplation in both the creating of it and the viewing of it. Maybe I could say I am an intuitive visual prayer artist.
~ Lori Sweet
The Heart of the Matter: Making Spirit Visible
Scroll down to watch a little video about the art!
Since I was a child, I have used art and writing to help me to make sense of my inner and outer experiences. It was how I interacted with and processed the world around me. I was "a sensitive" and highly empathic (so I am told) child. There was family drama, a lack of expressed love, and safety/abandonment issues. My desire to make art was like my need to breathe. In many ways I created art to survive. I grew up to be a social worker to help others who are suffering and learned I was able to guide others, clients, patients, students, co-workers, to use art for expressing emotions, relaxation, and healing. Today art is part of my story, my joy, my spiritual practice, and how I can best serve in the world.
As a child I had a vision for the world where all people feel safe and know how precious they are: ~ A world where love abounds and the divine mysteries are celebrated as part of our daily rounds. ~ A sanctuary where we do not violate each other and where nature is honored in sacred partnership. With all the challenges we face as human beings, I realize this might seem unattainable but isn't that what visions are for? When we are able to live into our full and true nature (even in random moments) we can be a powerful and strong force of goodness and love In the world. I hope the artwork reminds us of that.
To me, nature is very alive and I easily experience the sacred in the natural world. Much of my childhood was spent outdoors in the country/farm. I felt comfort and inspiration from animals and plants and they were the focus on my early drawings - especially trees and wild animals. I did not start using human forms and faces in paintings until I was 46 years old but elements of nature continue to show up in my work.
This is, of course, just a snippet of my story. Our lives are woven tightly with so many threads and layers of stories, aren't they?
Most of the time, when a patron resonates with a work of art, they start telling me a story. They tell me about a memory, a desire, a current challenge they are facing, or maybe a special occasion coming up and how the work of art inspired the telling. The art illuminates the relational nature of our lives and images can express certain things that we find hard to put into words.
I love creating art to invite viewers into stories that explore how our physical world interfaces with the spirit world (and how we are changed as our art changes in seen and unseen ways?) Many forms of visual art can help us to create healing and sacred spaces for rest, reflection, and renewal.
Like Icons of old, the art invites us
into another aspect of time and space.
Visionary and intuitive art can access the worlds of the primordial, the mythological, the archetypal, the dream-scape, and the subconscious. It makes visible what normally cannot be seen or expressed in a linear way. We can overcome fear and befriend wisdom. We can heal.
Art Heals and Transforms Us
While art usually produces a tangible product, I often am more interested in the intangible aspects of art-making: the energetic process that teaches, restores, and transforms. I see art as "visual energy medicine."
Intuitive and Visionary art offer us a universal language that is part of our "felt-sense" of being and invites us into the temple of the body and into life itself.
Through art we can be guided by
the mystical, the magical, and the mythical.
It unites us in the moment, here and now, as we navigate our lives, but it reminds us that we are part of a bigger story. Art is where both the personal stories are told and the collective, universal story is shared. It is a sanctuary for the sacred.
Perhaps your story has led you here today. I am honored to walk for a while along the path with you where our stories meet. ~ Lori Sweet
DETAILS ABOUT MY LIFE:
I was born in Western Pennsylvania and grew up playing in the woods and the gardens of my grandparent's little farm. I always asked for art supplies for Christmas and could be found drawing animals, trees, and cartoons. I naturally and intuitively used art as a method of self-expression and healing to deal with challenges in my life. I won my first art contest when I entered a pastel drawing of a tiger in a context in 11th grade.
I obtained a degree in social work at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa and spent 20+ years working as a social worker in child welfare, hospital settings, and women's shelters. Secondarily, I developed workshops and classes, for a number of schools, organizations, and groups, using art for healing, wellness, and team building for students, clients, and service workers.
I spent four years as office manager and art teacher for The ArtsCenter in Jamestown New York and then another four years as Executive Director for The Mandala Center, a spiritual retreat in Northeastern New Mexico.
When I moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania following my husband's job relocation, I obtained a certification in Foot Reflexology and opened my own wellness business offering body work and Inner Fitness Coaching for stress reduction.
Now I spend as much time in my art studio as I can. I mostly am a self-taught artist but I love learning about techniques and mediums from other artists. As an artist, I focus more on the energy and power of the creative process than the product and believe everyone, no matter the level of training, can benefit from art making and creative expression.
No matter what I have done (as an artist, social worker, teacher, reflexologist), my focus has been to create safe spaces for those in need, to call out the strength, courage, and wisdom within each of us, and to remind us that we are not alone. God, the indescribable yet very present force is something we cannot be separated from.
As I have entered menopause, a so-called time of wisdom, I am not feeling so wise but I am feeling more inclined to slow down, shed, clarify, clear, create, and answer the call of my soul. Our life, our time here, our bodies, our ability to create - all so very very fragile and precious. Thank you for visiting. ~ Lori Sweet