dk: You grew up in Texas. Did you grow up with art in your home?
Lorra: My parents were more creators than collectors. My mom loved ceramics. Her most prized project was an 18-piece nativity set that took her about a year to complete. Once it was finished, she was so proud of it. My dad was very creative in carving wood. He enjoyed designing and making wood projects. I am fortunate to have one of his figurine carvings. My mom has a foyer console table he designed and made.
dk: When did you first become interested in creating original artwork?
Lorra: Although I took painting classes as a child, my return to painting was after my twins were born. I took weekly painting classes in Alpharetta. It was so much fun and became an obsession. The more I painted, the more I realized that it was something I could call my own, and it brought me joy, peace, and satisfaction. It gave me an escape from the demands of being a mom.
dk: How would you describe your artwork?
Lorra: Some of my work is happy and colorful while other pieces are dreamy and muted. Themes include hummingbirds, florals, nests, and abstracts, all done in a contemporary fashion. I enjoy mixing up mixed media so experimentation is key. Some of the more unusual items that are incorporated into my art include lavender stems, torn strips of bed sheets, and waxed rice paper. I have even enjoyed making custom nests for art collectors with eggs that represent their families.
Families are Rooted,
Children have Wings,
Flowers are Beautiful
– By Lorra Kurtz
dk: Your art contains many hummingbirds. What do those mean to you?
Lorra: My father was an avid fan of hummingbirds and enjoyed feeding and watching them at his lake house in East Texas. I started painting hummingbirds in his memory after he passed away. When they sold quickly, I felt it was a sign that painting was my calling. Through hummingbirds, my father was communicating to me to follow my dreams and was the genesis of my art career. On the anniversary of his death last year, one appeared on my porch and also on the porch of my mother’s. His presence is still with us.
dk: What or who is the biggest influence on your work?
Lorra: It is hard to pick a specific influence when my art journey has been influenced by many. To name a few, I would include my dad since he was the genesis of my career. In addition, I would include art instructors that I have taken classes from. One instructor that stood out was Dr. Gary Bodner. He is so generous with his talent for teaching and helps you to free up. Lastly, my dear friend, a fellow artist, and neighbor, Jennifer Ferris, has been instrumental in critiquing, sharing ideas, and being a source of support.
dk: What do you want people viewing your artwork to take away with them?
Lorra: My art is about connecting with my environment whether it is my children, my mother, my father who has passed, my home or my physical surroundings. I hope everyone can find something in my paintings that connect them with these themes: family, home, parenting, new beginnings, growth, letting go, freedom, and courage. I hope they see and feel passion because that is what I feel while making it.
dk: Describe your most recent piece of artwork and how it was created.
Lorra: One of my most recent works entitled, “Miracles of Life,” (pictured below) was created by layering and fusing pigmented encaustic medium on top of paper adhered to a board. To make the nest, I tore up strips of sheets and dipped them in various colors or pigmented wax. I lay them out in a nest design before incorporating them into the artwork. There are many more layers and steps to finish the painting, but this is the gist of it.
dk: Do you collect art? If so, what is your favorite piece in your collection?
Lorra: I do collect and absolutely have a favorite piece. My husband and I were traveling in the South of France and fell in love with the work of a French contemporary artist, Martine Letoublon. We came close to buying one but couldn’t commit. We sincerely regretted it once we were home. I often thought about our mistake. A year had past and as a surprise, Jason tried to track down the artist. It took several years but Jason and the artist finally connected in Paris. He surprised me with a painting for Christmas. This piece hangs prominently in our dining room. I love it and it reminds me of a special vacation. I am so grateful for Jason’s persistence.
dk: What is your favorite art place to visit?
Lorra: This summer, I visited the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, an art museum built in an old grain silo. It was an emotionally moving experience to see twenty-first-century African artwork dealing with current political and social issues, some of which were disturbing. Adding to the encounter was the somber facility that housed the artwork. It was a unique museum experience. On a lighter note, I loved the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. Seeing the paintings of abstract expressionist first hand and up close was impactful.
dk: What is the coolest piece of artwork you have seen in an exhibit?
Lorra: I have been so fortunate to visit museums all over the world (Barcelona, Amsterdam, Florence, Milan, Paris, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, etc.). It would be hard to decide on a specific piece I saw at one of these museums, but I did see an exhibit in Argentina for Antonio Berni, an artist relatively unknown in the United States. He was a painter, writer, and master of assemblage. His assemblages were huge and contained automotive parts, household goods, rusted metal, plastic containers, abandoned appliances, etc. Through repurposed junk, Berni chronicled the life and adventures of a shantytown kid, Juanito.
dk: What is your greatest extravagance?
Lorra: Travel. I enjoy traveling and feel that seeing different parts of the world is important to me. My husband and I are now sharing this gift with our children. I find it interesting to learn about different cultures, including their influences on art. Recently, I was able to combine my love of art and traveling by taking a plein air workshop in the Loire Valley of France.
dk: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Lorra: Closed-Mindedness. I think people should be open to new experiences and different perspectives – being unique or seeing something unique and different inspires my creativity.
dk: What is your personal motto?
Lorra: Wake up and be thankful for all God’s gifts of family, friends, health, shelter, food and of course, art, and the ability to create it. Embrace each day and try to stay present in each moment.
“I paint to learn more about myself.” – LK
Lorra received her BBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas in Austin. For years she worked in the financial services industries but always pursued creative outlets outside of work. Once she lived in Georgia, she decided to make a change and enrolled in interior design courses at The Atlanta College of Arts. Her interest in interiors helped her appreciate color, shapes, composition, textures, and patterns in art. Once her twins were born, she needed an outlet. She started painting and never stopped. Over the last decade, she continually improved her skill set, learned new processes, and studied the application of mediums and materials by taking painting instruction from renowned artists in the United States and abroad. She is represented by several Southeastern galleries, participated in juried shows and is in private collections across the United States and internationally.
Lorra Kurtz is married to Jason, and they are parents to twins Zachary and Bryce, age 14, and Bandit, an Aussie Labradoodle.