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CT, United States
Cell: 203-570-7480 Email: juneflower7@gmail.com Website: www.lauradonofrio.com

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Love's Reunion

This painting is a very tender piece for me, and essential in my art series, and I would like to tell you why. I grew up in a divorced family, where arguments and disagreements of my parents shook my house when I was little. I deeply craved peace and stability wherever I could find it from a very early age. When I reached my teen years, I often wondered if there really was a man that was just right for me, if I would make the right choice, and how would I know that the choice I made with someone would truly last? Marriage was a very serious decision for me. I didn't want to marry on a whim or feel like I could not give my everything.

There was a man whom I considered like a grandfather to me, and his name was Gordon Bitner Hinckley. I knew his name from the time I was small, and was present in my life until his passing shortly after I graduated college. His words saw me through all of my growing up years. He was funny, yet poignant. I heard many of his speeches, and some of them have touched me so deeply that it has transformed me as a human being. I am so grateful today I had this sweet elderly man to look up to. 
My senior year of high school, I saw this picture of him and his wife, Marjorie, in a magazine, They were walking arm in arm through a beautiful garden.


When I saw that picture, that was when I knew, THIS was what I wanted in my life and in my marriage, more than anything else in the world. I wanted a man not just to hold my hand on our wedding day, but a man that turning age 90 would still be holding my hand and would still walk with me, side by side. I didn't want just young love, I wanted OLD love, because old love is rare, and old love would have weathered all storms of time. I ripped the page out, had it laminated, and if you ever come over to my house you will still see it on my fridge to this day! 

Here is a little bit of their background together, take a moment to watch it:


I think most of us in some way believe in or hope for lasting love and companionship in our lives. I believe marriage can be an eternal progression of increasing love, not just a "happily ever after, the end" kind of love. Love in marriage has the ability to grow deeper and stronger if we but nurture it, take the time for it, to listen genuinely with love, to be patient, and care selflessly for the other person. I had decided in my teen years to try with all my might to strive for the greatest symbol of eternal love that I knew of, which was to one day marry in a temple and make a promise to my spouse to be with him forever. I am so thankful that I did find the man I was searching for, and that I did make that promise of forever to him. There were many nights of praying and pondering and listening to God about my future companion. I know God had led me to the person who is perfect for me, and met me at a time in my life when I most needed to find him. 


This painting is called "Love's Reunion." It is of a couple that are reunited in heaven, after death had previously separated them. I love the sweetness of their faces, how devoted they are to each other. This couple is an example to me of what forever love looks like. We all meet Christ in heaven, and I feel we will reunite with our spouses again as well.

When I visit the temple today, there is a part where I walk into what is called the Celestial Room, which is a room that represents the closest to heaven that we can feel here on earth. It is very bright and beautiful, and that is the place where we can meet up with our spouses and/or loved ones who came with us when a session is completed. When I reach the celestial room, I search for my husband if he came with me, and when I reach him, I always embrace him and cry. I cry because I feel an intense feeling of love for him at that moment, and I think it would probably be what I would feel when I saw him again in Heaven. We usually hold each other for a very long time, then eventually sit and meditate in that beautiful room. I can't think of any feeling more heavenly than embracing my spouse for a very, very long time.


John 4:7 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."

I hope that you are as touched as I was with this piece, and I hope that maybe I can one day be able to paint many more visions of love that are your own. Here are some lovely pieces of music that inspired me as I painted this particular painting, often late in the night or early in the morning before my children awoke:

Adagio for Strings, by Edward Elgar

Road to Perdition Film Score (please forgive the title, but the music is breathtaking)

Dream Ten, by Liquid Mind

I'd like to give special thanks to Steve and Jeanne Whiting, who graciously allowed me to have them be my models for this special piece. I remember talking to Steve, and telling him I was in need of a couple who looks...older...seasoned...,and he warned me to be careful, that I may be digging myself into a ditch! Hahaha! I needed two people who symbolized old love, and the withstanding of time. They have definitely done that, and I am truly thankful for them and their example of marriage in my life. I know there are many people who would say the same thing about them.

Thank you to to my dear friend, Christine Simmons, for being my eyes and photographing such a beautiful reference for me, and to Karin Guynn who offered to watch my kiddos for some desperate painting time. And of course, thank you to James Cunningham, my forever friend and companion, who helps me see what lasting love really looks like every day of my life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kindly visit the new website at: 

Winter Red

Many people love red barns. It is a classic symbol of Americana. But why are barns always painted red? In the 1700's farmers painted barns not for the beauty, but for necessity. The first barn-red color was created using Skimmed milk, linseed oil, lime, and red iron oxide. In the wintertime, the red color would absorb the sunlight, keeping the inside warm for the animals. Talk about resourceful!

This particular barn can be found on Laurel Road in New Canaan, CT. It's a lovely sight to see as you round the bend. I got a little creative with the trees, and painted them a bit foggy, just as the snow does when it is evaporating after a fall. I also added a little bit of salt to the road, because I wanted to be sure it was freshly salted for the drivers! When I was finally finished, I realized I had made a huge paint splotch in the upper left hand corner of my sky. This happens when I forget to put down a paper towel on my painting, close to the water cup. I will dip and splash water out of excitement, and am not careful. It had dried, so I could not get to it in time to remove it completely. Watercolor is so unforgiving - you can lighten, but you can't often remove it! So what's a girl to do? Well let's paint a tree over it, of course! Now that the tree is in, I like that the tree is there, it balances the painting. So glad it worked out!

A toast to a lovely watercolor barn, and to classic Americana!

-Laura

Special thanks to Kayleigh Pace, who is a fantastic photographer (as I am not!), and let me use her photo as reference for this painting. Also thank you Alan Pace for the commission.

Prints are available for sale, and can be found here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

どなたでしょうか (Who Art Thou?)

After two months of looking and dreaming and painting and hoping, my sixth painting is finally finished! I was so pleased and bubbling with pride, that I didn’t even TELL anybody, I just ran and put it up at my church for the whole entire Sabbath day! This painting marks the halfway point of this sacred art series. Only six more to go!


In my series I wanted to paint a portrait of an atheist - someone who does not believe in the idea of a God, or believes if a God did exist, He wouldn’t be concerned about something as unimportant as us in the universe.

What would happen if someone who does not believe in a God, passed on and got to meet Jesus Christ? What would be that man’s reaction? In heaven the word “atheist” would cease to exist, for there in front of him is the king of all creations, and on his hands and feet are markings. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”- John 14:6. The man’s reaction would most likely be confusion and shock. He obviously can feel a power and tender love radiating from this eternal being who calls him by name, and we as human beings are drawn toward that kind of love.



The title of this piece is called “どなたでしょうか (Who Art Thou?)” I made the title this way because this man would be speaking his own language to the Savior. The model is a friend of mine now living in Japan, and he represents the Japanese and Chinese cultures in Asia. Around 1% of the Japanese are Christian, and so are about 2.4% of the Chinese.

I personally believe that God looks directly at our hearts. He doesn’t look at what particular church we go to, exactly how much we tithed, or what positions we held. We can all choose to be a good person no matter what background we come from, and God loves us ALL. If I did not have an atheist in my series, the series would be incomplete, for I feel they are so important and so loved by Him.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -

Pope Francis explained himself, "The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil. All of us. 'But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can... "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!" We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."

It is my hope that we do not have to wait until we die to know that God is real, that we are significant in this universe made by God, and that what is important to us is important to Him. I hope that we can ask God this question now while we are alive: “Who Art Thou?,” and look for Him. God is in the details of our personal lives, and He is especially in yours.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11: 28-30

Throughout the two months I worked on this piece, I had constantly playing Chinese traditional music, to keep the spirit of this person alive in my heart. Here are some pieces of music that particularly touched me while I was carried away painting…and two of them just happened to be beautiful film scores! 

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Silk Road
 
Memoirs of a Geisha: Confluence

Yo Yo Ma Plays Ennio: The Mission

I would like to sincerely thank the people that helped make this painting possible:

Christine Simmons, my photographer and close friend.

Brent Alvord who has the best Jesus hands ever.

Elders Yuta Ishikawa and Spencer Lee –Thank you so much Yuta for you offering yourself, and for you and Spencer giving me thought and inspiration to step inside this man’s mind.

And thank you to all of the people who helped me in watching my son Caleb, so I could paint longer hours: Katie G., Jennifer E., Erica G., and Lisa K - my angels!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Award for "The Most Precious"

On Thursday the Connecticut Watercolor Society called me and asked if I would be attending the reception. I asked if my painting was alright, ans he said that it was safe and sound. He informed me that I won an award for :"The Most Precious." I shouted with joy over the phone and said to James and the kids "I won an award!!! YEAH!!"

So I made the trek up to Hartford by myself on Sunday. The art was beautiful, and I was very excited to receive the award. The award giver told everyone my story of elation and screaming to my family of little kids "I won an award!!" Everybody laughed.



What I did not expect was after all the awards were given, people sought me out JUST so they could tell me that they loved my paintings. The positive response was much more than I ever experienced before. There was even one woman who told me she came back to the art so JUST so she could see the baby again! Two separate people told me that they could feel a strong feeling of peace and love coming from the painting. When I told the story to each person about my art series and what I hope to accomplish, it sent people into an even greater awe and excitement. Two experienced and talented painters (one of which received an award) told me that they thought I had talent, and complimented me for pursuing such a difficult and complicated subject at a young age. When the fifth person came up to me I started getting jittery and told her I feel funny receiving so much attention. She said I should embrace it.....All in all, I was deeply humbled by all of this response, and these paintings resonated with people from all different backgrounds, christian and non.  Maybe...Maybe I've got something here. I'm so happy that it is affecting people in such a positive and beautiful way.

I also promised my fans that if I won an award or sold a painting, I would do a dance in a bumble bee costume...So...Now I have to do it! Hahaha! It's a great way for me to share my joy in my successes, and I hope you will enjoy the silliness of it all. I also promised on Facebook that if I sold a painting by the end of the summer, I will do another dance in a pirate costume on a beach...a PUBLIC BEACH!


Cheers to you all!
-Laura

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Two Paintings into the Connecticut Watercolor Society

I've got some big big news to share! After spending a small fortune buying legit gallery frames (Thank you Rockwell Art and Framing!), the paintings "Familiar Grace" (left) and "The Most Precious" (right) were ready for the Connecticut Watercolor Society 2014 Summer Exhibition. I left for Hartford with high hopes for these paintings.



A few days later, the CWS posted the artists that made the show on the internet. I was in New York City, so I called my husband, anxious to learn the news....He told me over the phone that not one, but BOTH paintings made it into the show!! There was screaming over the phone and a victory dance in the car.



I promised my fans a victory dance on facebook. So here is me, dancing for my double win.

I also promised my facebook fans that if I sell a painting, or receive an award from the CWS, then I will do another victory dance in a bumble bee costume...Why a bumble bee? Because that was the only thing I could think of that would be more awesome than this video below. WOOOOOHOOOO!

WARNING: I cannot dance.


<3 br="">Laura

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Child of Light

I looked around for a long time for this particular boy. I would look at all the boys in our church and around town, and all would be so adorable in their own special way, but I needed to find somebody that had a classic look. Short buzz-cut hair that many boys had didn't really work for this piece. I also was trying to find a boy that had a certain peace about him. If you have a child, the word "boy" and "peace" don't usually fit in the same sentence! But that's what I was looking for!

One day when our children's primary room was quiet, I walked in and scanned the smiling pictures of the children of our church, under the words "I am a child of God," with a mirror in the middle for all the children to look at themselves. It felt funny to see them all at once, like I was holding an official casting call that nobody knew about. My eyes fell upon this one child, and I happened to know who his mother was. His smile was sweet and genuine. Something inside me told me this was the boy. Long after I left that picture, I had the impression over and over again that this was the boy I was looking for in this painting, even though I did not know him personally.

It's a little awkward coming over to someone's house to ask "Hey there! Can I paint your son?" But what's even more awkward is saying "Oh, he is going to pose with a man he's never met before, and that man will look like Jesus next to him in the final painting." Since this was my fifth time asking this, however, I think it was a little easier to ask, and his mother was so kind and open to the opportunity. I remember her talking about her son, and saying that he has a calm and sweet spirit, like an old soul. He is a light to their family. When I met him, I knew they were right, and that God was right in leading me here. His character was everything I had hoped would be and more. His demeanor was shy but sweet, and he had these curls that always made him look like a little cherub! He had a kind heart, and was not rude or coarse. What a special soul he was, and I felt his peace throughout the whole painting.

I had experienced some very difficult things a few months ago, and even though this painting was ready to paint, I struggled emotionally to pick up the brush, the fork, the laundry, my whole self. I became frail both in body and in spirit, and nobody really knew but my husband and God. When I finally was able to pick myself up and begin again, I thought that I wouldn't be able to paint because my emotions are strongly connected to my artwork. I dug down deep, so deep, and I asked God to be with me every day, every hour, and to guide my hand and help me heal. A woman from my church offered every Tuesday to watch my 2 year old son so I could paint, and I could share this painting with all of you. What a gift those Tuesdays were. The painting was slow, but I could see progress each time I finished a session. It was as though every time I painted, a little part of me was healing. 


The boy's expression is a slight, peaceful smile, and his eyes look back at you and say "It's ok, you are safe, you'll make it through." What I learned from this painting will be different from your own feelings, but what I felt is that we are all children of light, and we find profound peace in our soul when we surround ourselves in places and people of light. Things that are uplifting and kind, places that are bright and peaceful. We are all children of a God in Heaven who loves us, and His love for us is so deep. He offers us many gifts to give us, if only we humbly ask of them: Of grace. Of forgiveness. Of strength. Of love, Of hope. Of healing, Of peace. Each of those words I deeply felt in my heart these past six months, and a little child led me through it.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

John 12:36 "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light."




I have hope for tomorrow, and I am so grateful for the gift of this life, and this gift from my heart to yours. Happy Easter, everyone!

A sincere thank you to the people involved in this painting:
Christine, Brent, Samuel and Ashley

And Karin, Monique, Jennifer, Catalina for watching my son while I painted.

All my love,
Laura

Friday, March 28, 2014

Girls' Hostel Building - Rising Star Outreach

Last week I was commissioned to paint a girls hostel for a non profit organization called Rising Star Outreach located near Chennai, India. It's a school for the children whose families come from leprosy colonies, and gives them the gift of good health, clean food and water, and an opportunity to dream and learn for their future. On top of that they also provide care and love  for the people inside the colonies. It's a beautiful organization, and my 5 year old daughter is sponsoring one of the girls her age at Rising Star, so they both can grow in education together in separate parts of the world.

The current girl's hostel is where all the girls sleep at night, and it has become overcrowded. Rising Star is currently fundraising to build a new hostel, and they will be dedicating the new building in the name of a couple who has donated a lot of time and donations to Rising Star. This painting will be given to them as a gift. 

With a painting marathon of three days, I was able to pull it off with only an architect's sketch. Thankfully it was a building, and not a portrait, because portraits take four times as long.


The people in the sketch had business suits on, which of course that was not appropriate. So I changed them to Indian girls in their beautiful saris. Also I was asked to keep the green grass light, because the grass is not lush there, but is always asking for more water. The path I was told had hexagonal shapes, and since I didn't want to kill myself over painting every hexagon, I made suggestions of it instead.


On the last hour I felt the painting looked just "blah." It was nothing special, so I decided to outline it all in pen, and I am glad that I did. It made the whole painting pop out and say "Heyyy!!" 

I was asked to add the names of the couple being honored above the hostel painting. My client was overjoyed when she saw the final piece. It was better than what she imagined, which is always good to have that kind of positive reaction.

I love the Rising Star Outreach organization very much. It was an honor to paint for them.

See You Soon!
Laura

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daughter of a King

Mis queridos amigos de habla hispana, más abajo del texto en ingles encontraran la traducción al español.

The fourth painting of my Sacred Art Series is finally finished, and just in time too! This little girl is getting baptized this weekend at the age of 8, and I could not think of anything more fitting than to have a painting completed of her hugging Jesus for her special day.

 A few months ago I watched a documentary in the theater called "Girl Rising." It was a powerful film that follows five girls from different parts of the world, and shows how educating a girl is paramount to a better future for her nation. That girl will grow up and one day become a mother, a woman who will feel confident in herself with the education she received, who will teach her babies all that she has learned. An educated girl will result in less poverty, better public health, and a rise in the country's economy. Little girls are so valuable here on earth, just imagine how priceless they are to God?

Proverbs 31:25 "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."

I was so moved by this film, and had to include a painting in my art series that symbolized all the girls in the world who passed away at a young age. I don't believe any little girl should naturally die young, and if they did it must have been through terrible circumstances. I feel that many children who die young through illness or malnutrition have probably been through something limiting their mind and/or body from functioning at its ideal capacity in their lifetime. So when they get to heaven, children are free to be children! They will run, they will jump and squeal with delight, they can move without limits, and they are free to be themselves. So what happens when a little girl who gets to heaven meets Jesus? She wraps her arms around him tightly, with elation, and soaks in the feeling of unconditional love and affection just for her. Jesus radiates love, and I think Children are drawn to that love in a way no adult can imitate.

In deciding who my model was to symbolize all the daughters, I wanted to begin broadening my perspective as to who the children of God really are. Living here in my Connecticut suburb, I see a majority of only one race, but God sees everyone, doesn't he? He sees Brazilian, Indian, Japenese, Tongan, so many beautiful children dot our world!

This little girl is Colombian, and I wanted to find God's love for the Latino culture through painting this piece. She is a very special girl, and I have always loved her enthusiasm for life and for others. It was an interesting experience when we brought her to the photo shoot. She was a little nervous at first about someone she did not know personally hugging her, wouldn't anyone? When she came home and her mother asked her how it went, she said that she wished it was her dad that was hugging her, because then she could feel a little more comfortable. Her mother saw a teaching opportunity, and asked her if she met Jesus in heaven tomorrow, would she know who He is? Will she have lived her life with love and compassion, so that when she does meet Him she will be comfortable in His presence? Will YOU be comfortable too?

Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

Introducing: Daughter of a King




Every work has a CD full of new songs that have inspired me as I worked on each specific piece. I give this CD to my models as a gift of thanks. Here are two songs in particular that I'd like to share with you that has burned into my heart as I painted throughout the month of August:



"Dream" By Priscilla Ahn

"The Sunbeams...They Scatter" by Yiruma

Lastly I just want to share my thanks to all the people who helped make this painting possible:
Christine Simmons - Thank you for your photographs and support on this project.
Brent- Thank you again for your hands and continuing to work on this project with me.
My little model- I hope that this painting inspires you as you continue to grow and mature with Jesus in your heart.


And those who said yes when I asked for help with my children- Diana, Karla, Karin and Lisa, a grateful thank you for helping me complete this in time for her baptism.

See you soon!
Laura 

*************************************************

¡La cuarta pintura de mi serie de Arte Sagrado por fin está finalizada y justo a tiempo también! La niña que está en el cuadro se bautizará este fin de semana al cumplir 8 años, y no podría pensar en nada más apropiado para este día especial, que tener la pintura finalizada de ella abrazando a Jesús.


Hace unos meses vi un documental en el cine titulado “Girl Rising” (Educar a una Niña). Era una cinta cinematográfica poderosa que sigue la vida de cinco niñas provenientes de diferentes partes del mundo y muestra cómo el educar a una niña es de importancia extrema para el mejor futuro de su nación. Esa niña crecerá y algún día se convertirá en una madre, una mujer que sentirá confianza en sí misma gracias a la educación que ella recibió, una mujer que enseñará a sus hijos todo lo que ha aprendido. Una niña educada traerá como resultado menor pobreza, mejor salud pública, y el crecimiento de la economía de su país. Si las niñas son tan valiosas aquí en la tierra, ¿imaginas cuán preciosas son para Dios? 


En Proverbios 31:25 dice refiriéndose a la mujer virtuosa: “Fuerza y honor son su vestidura, y se ríe de lo por venir”


Me sentí tan conmovida por esta película que tuve que incluir en mi serie de arte una pintura que simbolizara a todas las niñas del mundo que mueren a temprana edad. No creo que ninguna niña pequeña deba morir joven naturalmente y si esto sucediera sería debido a circunstancias terribles. Siento que muchos niños que mueren jóvenes por culpa de enfermedades o mala nutrición han quizás pasado por circunstancias que limitan sus  mentes y/o sus cuerpos de la posibilidad de funcionar a su capacidad ideal durante su tiempo de vida. De tal manera que cuando llegan al cielo, ¡los niños son libres para ser niños! Ellos correrán, saltaran y se moverán felices sin limitaciones; libres para ser ellos mismos. Entonces, ¿qué sucede cuando una niña que va al cielo se encuentra con Jesús? Ella lo envuelve en sus brazos con fuerza, con euforia y se sumerge en el sentimiento de amor incondicional y afecto que El tiene solo para ella. Jesús irradia amor y creo que los niños son atraídos a ese amor de una manera que ningún adulto puede imitar.


Al escoger la modelo para simbolizar a todas las hijas de Dios, quise comenzar por ampliar mi perspectiva con relación a quienes son realmente esas hijas. Ya que vivo en un suburbio del estado de Connecticut, la mayoría de niñas que veo pertenecen a una sola raza, pero en cambio Dios las ve a todas, ¿o no? El ve a las niñas brasileras, a las niñas de la India, japonesas, tonganas, ¡todas hermosas que llenan el mundo!



Esta pequeña niña del cuadro es colombiana, y quise de esta manera encontrar el amor de Dios por la cultura latina y todas las culturas del mundo, a medida que pintaba esta obra. Ella es una niña muy especial, y siempre me ha encantado su entusiasmo por la vida y por los demás. Fue una experiencia interesante traerla para el estudio fotográfico. Al comienzo, ella se sentía nerviosa por tener que abrazar a alguien a quien no conocía personalmente. ¿No se sentiría así cualquiera de nosotros? Cuando ella llegó a su casa y su mamá le pregunto cómo le fue, dijo que hubiera deseado que fuera su papá quien la estuviera abrazando porque de esa manera se hubiera sentido un poco más cómoda. Su madre vio una oportunidad para enseñarle y le preguntó si ella reconocería a Jesús si se reuniera con El en el cielo al siguiente día. ¿Había vivido su vida con amor y compasión de tal manera que al encontrarse con Jesús se sintiera cómoda en Su presencia? ¿Estarías tu cómodo en Su presencia también?


Isaias 41:10 “No temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no desmayes, porque yo soy tu Dios que te fortalezco; siempre te ayudare; siempre te sustentare con la diestra de mi justicia.”

Introducing: Daughter of a King
 


Cada una de mis obras tiene un CD de música completo con canciones nuevas que me inspiraron a medida que trabajaba en cada pieza de arte. Este CD se lo regalo a mis modelos como una muestra de mi agradecimiento. Aquí están dos canciones en particular que me gustaría compartir con ustedes porque hicieron arder mi corazón a lo largo del mes de agosto mientras pintaba. 



"Dream" Por Priscilla Ahn


"The Sunbeams...They Scatter" Por Yiruma


Para finalizar quiero agradecer a todos los que hicieron posible esta pintura:

Christine Simmons – Gracias por el studio de fotos y tu apoyo

Brent- Nuevamente gracias por tus manos y por continuar trabajando conmigo en este proyecto.

Mi pequeña modelo- Espero que este cuadro te inspire a medida que continuas creciendo y madurando con Jesús en tu corazón.



Y a todos aquellos que me ayudaron cuidando a mis hijos- Diana, Karla, Karin y Lisa, muchas gracias por ayudarme a completar la obra a tiempo para su bautismo. 


¡Hasta pronto!, Laura

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"The Most Precious" at the Wilton Library

This is pretty exciting news, my painting "The Most Precious" is hung up in the Wilton, Connecticut Public Library for the 2013 Summer Art Show! It will be displayed until August 31st of this year. The original is not for sale, but people have the option of purchasing prints either framed or unframed. 20% of the total price will go back towards funding my childhood library. I feel honored to be with many wonderful artists, and to display my work for the public to see. This marks a milestone for me, as this is the first time a painting in my Sacred Art series has been displayed to the general public. I hope people will be able to stop and take a good look at it, and feel what it might mean to them.

It is interesting to listen to how others receive to these works. One woman told me that they felt it was extraordinary to have an artist even go in a direction of exploring after death. It's something we don't normally think about, and is interesting to see the idea painted. Another person wondered if it was a priest who was holding the baby, but I told her it was Christ. The nail prints are subtle, and I think can be easily overlooked because the focal point is the child, and especially the child's eyes. I sincerely hope the reception is well with the viewers, and that this might be a positive outlook, for me as an artist especially: to take a confident step forward and make myself known to the public as an established CWS watercolor artist of portraiture.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Wilton Library Art Show, and Religious Sensitivity

Every year I submit my work to the Wilton Library Art Show in Wilton, CT. 20% of all sales goes back to the library from my childhood. The show is for Wilton residents only, but I am lucky enough to get my work in because Wilton was the town I was raised in since I was born. This event wasn't really publicized by me before, but this year there will be a difference in what I'm submitting.

In years past I submitted my "Chickens" and "Rose" sort of pieces - artwork that was politically or religiously neutral and that everyone would enjoy. But this year marks a very bold step: the submission of "The Most Precious," the first painting in my sacred art series. The original will not be for sale, but prints will be available for purchase with a choice of a price that includes the frame exactly as the original, or an unframed price. The beauty of this is prints can be bought as many times as desired, and the library can take 20% for every print sold.

The reason why I chose "The Most Precious" is because that painting has been my most marketable piece, and if so many of my friends and fans have enjoyed it, then would the general public react in kind? This is where the sacred art series takes its first baby step into uncharted territories.

I honestly have no idea when Jesus became such a taboo subject for people in the Northeast. But here in Connecticut I sense the immediate tension connected to the name. I have seen people cringe, stutter to find suitable redirecting words, or remain absolutely silent when looking at my works. It makes some people who are not Christian very uneasy, and I know some try to be as kind as they can be, and I try to be as sensitive to their feelings and beliefs as I can. But at the Wilton Library this religious art will go public. So here it is, the elephant will be in the room now, and no one would be able to deny the elephant when they see it. This tiny child is being held by the Savior in heaven. Either they believe it or they don't, but it will be there right in front of them.

Not everyone reacts this way, in fact it has been only a handful of people. The majority of reactions have been elation, peace, awe and a spiritual stirring. As an artist that is why I am painting this series, to share a beautiful message that God loves us all individually, and bring beautiful reactions to an audience. But at the same time I cannot help but worry. This piece is my baby, the heart and soul of who I am and what I believe. I have always been open to public criticism, and it's easy to accept them from friends, fans and family. But I fear the stabs that may come from the general public. My biggest fear is that this work won't be accepted at all because it is too religious or extreme in nature. Would the public do that???

I won't know unless I find out, and I can't find out unless I accept the possibility that my entire works might fail. But I cannot be afraid to be rejected. Even if the world did reject me, at least I'll be able to say I gave it my very best, and gave the world my whole heart. So I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!

-Laura

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Two Wolves



I feel like I've been playing the game of catch up this month of May! I've been away all through April, and this was one of several jobs that needed to be done.

This is a new illustration made for a lovely friend of mine. She wanted a picture of a wolf, ideally a white wolf. These wolves were pieced together by looking at several different pictures and sketching it all out. I found this really great poem called "Two Wolves," and decided to make an illustration for her around that poem. The words on the painting are quotes from the original poem, and the original author is unclear on the internet. This is the original poem:

 TWO WOLVES
An old Cherokee
Is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me, ” he said to the boy,
“It is a terrible fight between two wolves,
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret,
Greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment,
Integrant, lies false pride, superiority, and ego, ”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace,
Love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,
Empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith,
The same fight is going on inside you –
And inside every other person, too, ”

The grandson then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win? ”

The old Cherokee simple replied,
“The one you feed” 



I felt like this poem is very true in our own souls, and I thought it would be a fun message to share with my friend. I wonder if these 5x7's might become a personal trademark?

<3 p="">Laura

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Familiar Grace

I am so pleased to present to you this beautiful gift I call "Familiar Grace." It comes to you at one of the most sacred times of the year. On Easter we reflect on Christ's ministry, His death and rebirth. As a Christian it is a beautiful time to consider what the name of Jesus means to us personally.

I originally wanted to write to you about two messages: about the Grace of God, and about coming closer to Jesus is while here on Earth. These are beautiful messages, but when I started to write it out, the words just didn't sound right. Now I realize that this painting needs no explanation, rather it has grown to become one of the most personal and sacred pieces of art to me. To look at it is like looking at a window to my own soul right now. That's a frightening thought, because my art is always subject to criticism, and to open my heart up to the public like that would put my heart on display for criticism as well. But at the same time I know that I painted this for you. Yes, you. And so I need to give you the gift of my heart.

The story of this piece came to my mind one night. I saw an image of a woman who had always tried to be faithful in her life. She stumbled and made many mistakes, just like all of us. But she always tried her best to be a Christlike person every day. When she got to heaven and came face to face with the Savior, she was surprised to find that she recognized Him. She knew His voice, His hands, His face, His whole presence was familiar to her. She felt so comfortable next to Him, it was almost as if He were an extension of herself...

This painting doesn't require any real words because it is something that can only be felt in your heart and not explained. When I painted this piece, all I felt was a fire blazing bright within my soul. It is an indescribable feeling, and it is a fire of love I have for the Lord my God. To me Jesus Christ means love. His love is uncompromising, understanding, unconditional, and eternal. This kind of love is beyond human comprehension, but it can only be felt. I know that Christ will dwell with any soul who seeks after Him, and when they find Him they will find peace and comfort in their own hearts, as He has greatly comforted mine.


 John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. "

I'd like to share with you two songs that express the feelings I have for this piece. The past two artworks I've shared wordless songs. I find it interesting that though I've had so much trouble completely expressing my thoughts of this piece, I am sharing music that has the words I cannot find.


"Be Thou My Vision" by Ginny Owen



"Here With Us" by Joy Williams

Lastly, I want to express my sincere thanks to the people that made this painting possible (This seriously has been a group effort for this painting to happen!):

To Christine Simmons, as always, for helping me see my vision in picture format, and teaching me about Grace. The offering we give is enough to God.

To Brent Alvord, the best hands out there! Thank you for continuing to be my Jesus hands.

A special thanks to Kendra Latauska, as the woman in Familiar Grace. You brought the sweetest of spirits to this painting, and it was a delight to get to know you better both in person and on paper.

 To all the most generous women who watched my two children so I could work on this painting: Karin, Catalina, Diana, Patricia, Jana, and Karla. I could not have painted this beautiful piece without you, and you have my deepest gratitude for allowing me to finish it so I can share it with everyone on Easter.

All My Love,
Laura

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Connecticut Watercolor Society Member!!

It's official now! I'm a member of the Connecticut Watercolor Society!! WAHOO!! Somebody official thinks my work has merritt! What's next? American Watercolor Society? Perhaps!

-Laura

Monday, January 28, 2013

Megan Praying

Been dabbling a little bit with my paints as I'm gearing up for the next painting in my art series. Here is my daughter, Megan, saying a prayer. This picture is going to go into a book about baptism for age 7 years and up to read. I also just wanted to prove to myself that I do in fact know how to paint portraits in color. :)
I tried my hand at the scanner (though the professionals at Still River Editions do a much better job than me!). The change in color around Megan is because the watercolor paper bends when it gets wet (which it always does when you use watercolors...because watercolor requires water...anyway..). The heavier weight paper the less bending there is. This is a lightweight paper, so there will be some rolling hills. However, I think you can see the colors a little bit clearer than my winkie-dink camera.

Til next time!
Laura

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Originals in Art Gallery

Dear Friends,

I decided to bite the bullet and walk around New Canaan where I live,...in the cold, yes,...to see if I could spy a gallery that my original art might fit comfortably inside. It was time to take these young babes out of my house and into a bright new world of art consumer adoptions!

Amazingly enough, Butler Fine Art felt I was quite talented, especially in portraiture. Though they sell works of deceased artists, they took a brave first step and collected two originals from a living artist (me): "Chickens" and "Brotherly Love" to potentially sell in their shop! If you haven't properly introduced yourself to these originals, you may want to stop inside and take a nice long look. I promise you'll enjoy gazing at my originals as opposed to the scanned images you've been looking at on your ipads and androids. Jane and Jenny Butler (the shop owners) are also hoping to let others who are interested in my work know about my commission services for portraits and the like.

For my Connecticut friends, Butler Fine Art is located on Elm Street, the one-way road that holds the heart of New Canaan's shops. It's about 3 shops down from Starbucks. 


 
This is BIG NEWS!! Thank you friends for letting me share my tiny triumph with you!

With Love,
Laura D'Onofrio

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Turned Away," and a Graded Wash from Left to Right Tutorial

At last, my second piece is complete, and I can’t wait to share my stories with you!  

This was one of the darkest art pieces that came into my mind when I began thinking up this series. It is also the first serious piece of art I have ever accomplished. Ironically this artwork came painstakingly slow, and with many lessons that I wish to tell. The first lesson I had to learn was empathy.

Since this piece was often in my mind, I was deeply interested in trying to understand my subject matter. There were two important questions I needed to find answers to. The first was “Why would someone turn away from the Savior?” Even those who didn't know Him would most likely either say "Oh, you do exist," or "Who might you be?" To turn your back on Him would be a completely different thing altogether. The kind of person who would do that would have to have known Him, or tried to be faithful and close to Him, but trials in life altered this man's final decision of Christ.

Through the months I pondered, read, watched and painted. I slowly became familiar with this man and his situation. I realized eventually that my original question was irrelevant. It was not important what this man did or did not, what he saw or experienced. That was not the message of this painting. In fact, when I first started this piece I felt the farthest away of emotionally understanding this man’s thoughts. Now as I write this, it is incredible how far I’ve come in less than a year, because now not only do I understand this man, I feel like I have felt this man’s pain in my own heart.

This year has brought many extremely difficult hardships, hard feelings, hard situations, and has brought my soul to tears. Yet what I marvel about the greatness of God is though we are all so complex in our thinking, and so very different in our thought patterns and why we do what we do, God understands each man and woman completely. He understands all the differences, the reasoning and experiences to make each thought so. I find that incredible considering how many people are in the world, and how interwoven and singular each tapestry of life is. This is why not only can I not pass judgment on this man who is turned away, I mourn with him, for he has every right to his pain. His torture is something that is very real in the natural man, and he has a right to feel it, despite whatever terrible circumstances had brought him to this state.

The second important question I had was “Where would Christ stand with a man who is turned away from Him?” Would Christ have His hand on his shoulder, as if to try to give comfort? Even if the man’s life is completed, and his decision of Jesus is sure? This man has hardened his heart and had waxed cold. He turned away from everything that was light, and it was an intentional decision. Would the Savior want to comfort a person who is angry with Him in the hereafter?  Would Christ have His hand stretched out even still?

How many times have I said “Where were you, God? When something happened, and I needed you, you weren’t there!” This is when I learned an important lesson of God’s endless grace.

Isaiah 49:14-16 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

When we decide to leave the light of God, we lose the Holy Spirit and put up walls. Often we feel like He is not with us. But though we can’t feel Him, Christ was never the one who turned away from us. It was us that turned from Him. If we ever decided to come back to the light, it would be then that we realize through our darkest and loneliest hours Christ was not only right beside us, He carried us through it. 

John 3: 20-21 “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

And so it is, with the most humble of hearts, I say to you that through this art piece I learned that Christ is a constant companion. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, His love is still stretched out to you. The marks on His hands are a emblem that He felt every pain, including yours. Including mine. Every single soul on this earth. He knows you, and being the shepherd that He is, He only wishes you to allow Him to heal, and come and return to the Fold.

Psalm 55:22 “"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

                                                                                                          
Music (of course) was involved in the process of making this art piece. I'd love to share with you two pieces of music that helped inspire my painting. You can click on the songs to hear them on youtube:



The last lesson I had to learn with this work was patience. When my second child came into the world and I was ready to paint this artwork, reality came knocking. I was going on little sleep, two babies now to attend to, and hadn’t a clue how to juggle two at once while finding free time for myself. As difficult as it was, I needed to be patient while I got acquainted with the new baby, and brand new lifestyle with two children.

Six months after baby was born, when my son finally was able to sleep through the night, I stole late hours of the night trying to figure out how to paint a graded wash from left to right (watercolor washes usually are top to bottom, for blue skies mostly). It took me not one, not two, but eight times to get the graded wash just right. I was having trouble with lines, water blossoms, and paper quality. But in brief, I was fortunate to figure out how to pull it off through many expensive heavy weight paper trials and error. For anyone who is watercolor savvy, I’d love to share this new discovery with the world. Instructions are below.

I would lastly like to thank a few people who made this painting possible. 
Christine Simmons, you are my eyes. She has a talent that can bring my visions to life, and I was able to use her photos as reference for this piece.
Thank you to Brent Alvord for showing the love of the Savior through your hands. I appreciate you being my Jesus hands, and you are a good soul and a kind friend to come and represent him in our photo sessions.
A very special thanks to David Lysenko. I deeply appreciate you being willing to portray the face of this man's sorrow and pain. You brought the spirit with you through the door of the studio, and I am so grateful that I could use you to share this message with others. Thank you for the thoughts of CS Lewis and his life being an example you kept in your heart for this piece.
And thank you to Linda D, Jana G and Heather J. for watching my babies on certain special afternoons while I was on a roll with my work. Little acts of service went a LONG way with this piece, and I am so thankful that you were around so I didn't have to stop while the paint was still wet!

With Love,
Laura



Steps to a graded wash left to right

Supplies:
-watercolor paper, preferably 500lb heavyweight so as not to bend easily
- B lead pencil (this is a good lead softness for watercolor paper)
-masking fluid
-bathtub or child wading pool (clean your wading pool first to make sure everything is squeaky clean for your painting.)
-viva paper towels (they’re the best for absorbing water)
-large flat brush

1-      sketch your drawing on the paper with your B pencil. 

  

You actually CAN use masking fluid if you want to (I have tested it and it is waterproof!), but be sure to let the masking fluid dry first before proceeding to step two. Blotting the paper to prevent the color from reaching undesired places also works if you don’t have masking fluid. 

 


2-  Submerge your paper in water for a good 20 minutes. You can use your bathtub, but if your paper is large, use a child’s wading pool.



3-  With your fingertips touching only the edges, gently lift your paper out of the water. Put the paper on your desk and wait until the sine of the water on the top of your paper is gone.

(See how shiny it is?)


4-  As you wait for the paper to be ready, mix your paints together to the desired colors. I mixed a puddle with little pigment and a lot of water (light color) and a puddle with a generous amount of pigment (dark color.)



5- You can use a paper towel to dab the edges of the background and the foreground, so the paint won’t bleed into places you don’t want.

6-      When the shine is gone, use a large flat brush and dip it into your light color. Gently sweep from left to right. Tilt the paper as you sweep across so you can carry the pigment to the next line down. This tilting will help the paint to move and will prevent lines. Continue until your whole background is covered in one color.

 


7-      Saturate your flat brush in the darker pigment, and BARELY touching the paper (don't press too hard here to prevent lines) sweep across to the desired length you wish the darker pigment to reach. Continue downward until you have painted the part of the paper you want to be darker.

 


8-      Lift your paper with your fingertips touching only the very edges, and tilt gently side to side, top to bottom, to move the darker pigment around in the desired area. You will drip on your table, but just wipe with your paper towels…It is better to have a friend or spouse help clean your table of drips as you use both your hands to tilt the paper.




9- Remember to continue to blot the edges of the foreground so the dark pigment doesn't blend into the light parts.

 


10-  Once it looks just right, leave it ALONE! But keep blotting until the paint is not bleeding anymore into undesired locations. If masking fluid is on your paper, do NOT touch the masking fluid/ remove it until a day later (or when the paper is bone dry).
Practice makes perfect!!