July 2021 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Lori Mehta
By Kelly Hunter
Lori Mehta’s life changed in a high school classroom eight years ago. She and a class full of women were studying painting with artist Zhanna Cantor. Lori explained, “For many women, after their children have grown, they’re looking around for what to do now. What is the next act?” That class helped her discover that her next act was painting.
Having majored in printmaking in college and graduate school, Lori was no stranger to art and creativity. Painting was new, though. She started out with acrylics and transitioned to oils after studying with artist Catherine Kehoe. Lori lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with her husband, although she spent much of the pandemic at their second home in a small town on Cape Cod with their younger daughter. She escaped the stresses of the world outside by spending days on the beach, taking photos and making sketches, or in her studio, painting for hours.
Bubble Stuff is the painting on the cover of this issue. Lori’s process for that work is a good example of the routine she has established over the last few years. Bubble Stuff began when Lori saw some children playing with bubbles on the beach. She not only wanted to capture the playfulness of soap bubbles, the colors and shapes also helped her solve a conundrum. Lori likes to keep her work as universal as possible, so she rarely paints faces in detail, although she does enjoy painting faces. She feels this allows the viewer to more readily see themselves in the art. Lori realized that a soap bubble could help obscure the recognizable facial features, while also creating wonderful shapes and colors to work with.
This vision in mind, she and her daughter had a photo shoot. “I usually take about one hundred photos for each painting,” Lori explained. While shooting, she also makes rough drawings with notes, to indicate where certain colors should go in case they aren’t captured by the camera. The next step is to create a detailed drawing on board from the photographs. Lori will do a general color wash over the drawing to accentuate shapes. Often, she turns the drawing upside down to help her see the shapes as shapes, rather than part of the whole. Her background in printmaking has a huge effect on how she applies the paint, adding colors to the shapes in her drawings, one at a time.
Her distinctive style and attention to detail have led to great success for Lori. She has won nearly 50 awards, including first place in several national shows. Her work is featured in multiple galleries, and her solo show, Float, is currently on display in Boston’s Beacon Gallery.
Check out Lori’s beautiful and bright work on www.lorimehtaart.com and on Instagram @lorimehtaart. To purchase originals, contact Beacon Gallery, Boston, MA; Edgewater Gallery, Middlebury, VT; Edward Dare and Sandpiper Gallery, Charleston, SC. Limited Edition Prints of select pieces are available from www.mainecottage.com.