By what criteria is someone deemed an artist? Is it creative vision, or genetics; an arts education, or a passion-driven obsession? Is art a destination, an escape, a journey – or an arrival?
Is there a point in one’s life when it’s too late to begin dreaming of taking up new directions?
Retired realtor and local community activist Doug Lofstrom grappled with these questions as he “became totally frustrated with the election process toward the end of September/earlier October” and decided he needed a distraction from the national scene.
The distraction he chose was rediscovery of a long-simmering interest in painting.
Hearing the buzz about town regarding how successful Lofstrom’s newfound art endeavor has become, My Edmonds News set out to interview the gregarious storyteller in order to gain insight into where he is heading now that his direction is set and sales of his work are coming in at a fast clip.
Artfully Edmonds (AE) visited Lofstrom (DL) at his studio/gallery last week to learn more about his journey into “distraction.” Please join us for this exclusive interview:
AE: First of all Doug, thank you for agreeing to this interview. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share your story with our readers. Tell us more about how you came to take up painting three months ago.
DL: I really needed something to take my mind off of all of the election news and get me completely away from the TV set.
Some time ago, my neighbor Nancy McDonald had generously given me a 48 x 60″ canvas, with a depiction that was probably painted by amateurs – something that might have been sold by Kmart. I thought maybe I could improve the painting and launched an attack on the canvas. The results were horrible.
So then I bought a canvas and some paints and attempted to paint several subjects on a smaller scale. A couple of the smaller paintings turned out kinda’ half good, so I went back-and-forth between the big canvas and smaller ones and pretty soon everything started turning out kinda’ okay.
– – – – Recorded Live: Doug Lofstrom in his studio – – – –
AE: What is your schedule for studio time like: very disciplined, laissez-faire or compulsive – as the mood strikes?
DL: I spend some time during each day thinking about the creative aspect of my work. Many I nights I wake up thinking about whatever piece I am working on.
In the morning I immediately do some amount of painting. However, I’m very disorganized and not disciplined at all – add to that – I am compulsive as all get out. Maybe because of that peculiar personality trait, I have become quite creative. Actually, I am quite carefree in my attitude toward the process.
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AE: After discussing your art with you on a couple occasions over this past month, I am realizing how all consuming this new passion is for you. Care to comment?
DL: The passion I have for this creative outlet is driven by the surprise that I can even produce work that is rather pleasing to look at.
I also have a very deep desire to be successful at this.
At some point in the first month or so I decided, along with Carol, to produce an inventory of about 25 paintings and at that point in time we could sell a painting or two. [Note: Doug is married to Carol Kinney, who joins him in his commitment to Edmonds arts’ initiatives.]
Then, when it appeared that some of the paintings were going to be sold, I said to Carol, “Let’s sell about $20,000 worth of art and finance a trip to Italy.”
Now we had a carrot, which has caused a great deal of enthusiasm for Carol and myself.
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AE: Who, or what force, is driving your vision, technique and perfectionism?
Why not just doodle stick-people and be happy with that?
DL: I definitely do not want to just doodle. However, having said that, I always start out with a blank canvas with nothing particular in mind and before you know it, the brush makes its first stoke and I’m not really thinking about what to do next; a plan simply starts to develop and away we go.
Best of all though, it’s totally meditative.
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AE: We understand that your daughter is an artist. How is she involved in your new outlet?
DL: My daughter is all three. She’s a critic, a cheerleader and a bit of a coach.
It all must be working because in the past two weeks I’ve sold five paintings for a total price of $5,075.00.
The first painting was a picture of a old airstream trailer being towed by a 1934 Ford Model A pick up. It’s a 22×28” acrylic. The second painting is a 17×21″ depiction of Cinque Terra, Italy.
Each painting is part of a separate series. I’ve painted three airstream trailer paintings and two of the Cinque Terra cities; I have a plan to paint the next three as well.
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AE: What’s the biggest, wildest game plan for your new painting career?
DL: Here’s the biggest wildest game plan: Branding the name Doug Lofstrom on other products; taking advantage of the skills that Carol and I each have.
My skills tend toward design and painting, and Carol’s skills are in marketing. In addition to working toward getting the prices up on our paintings, we want to expand our little company idea to designing tote bags and purses, as well as scarves.
We are actively gathering information at this point with a particular interest in tote bags. Carol is a skilled seamstress and a natural organizer. We’ve done a bit in the way of focus group study, and I think there’s a great market for this idea.
The wildest idea for the painting(s) component of this new career is to arrange an exhibition in a well-known gallery.
Another wild idea is the possibility of making $100,000-plus in our first year from selling the paintings. I actually find that idea quite plausible; seeing as I painted 25 paintings in the first three months. I see no reason why I can’t complete another 75 paintings in the next nine months.
Honestly, the way I think about things is that, in order to arrive at a goal, I determine that it has already happened.
Therefore, we will achieve our wildest dreams. It will just happen. It’s already started.
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Doug Lofstrom Exhibition
Art Walk Edmonds
Thursday, Feb. 16
210 5th Ave. S.
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Art Walk Edmonds map for Thursday, Jan. 19
AWE highlights include music and books!
Music at the Library
650 Main Street
Include live music in your art walk experience with “Singer Songwriters of the ‘60s”.
Join local musician and music history buff Bryan Stratton for a guided tour of the lives and music of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and other singer-songwriters of the ’60s who were influential in changing the way we thought of ourselves as a nation.
Hear the stories of their lives and listen as Bryan sings their songs and invites the audience to sing along.
This free Music at the Library program is part of a partnership series supported by Edmonds Arts Commission, Friends of the Edmonds Library, and Sno-Isle Libraries. For more information, call 425-771-1933.
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Edmonds Bookshop, 111 5th Ave. S., hosts a book launch for Seattle author Tracy Weber as she unveils the 4th in her Downward Dog Mystery series with its heavy emphasis on yoga and the life of instructor Kate Davidson. Tracy will be signing copies of, A Fatal Twist and chatting with admirers during art walk.
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Edmonds Vision Center, 201 5th Ave. S. has selected the photography of Sonia Lang who says of her photography, “Shapes, lines and texture inspire intimate connections with nature, through my lens.”
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107 5th Ave. S.
The atmospheric landscapes, Vibrant Skies by Jeff White, will be featured the evening of Art Walk, a popular gathering spot and one of downtown Edmonds’ anchor businesses.
Says gallery owner Denise Cole of White’s work: “Jeff brings a stunning array of landscape paintings reminiscent of the Hudson river School painters.”
A reception for White and also artist Kathy Gale will be held between 5-8 p.m. the evening of Art Walk Edmonds.
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Chanterelle Hometown Bistro
316 Main St.
The artwork of Andy Eccleshall is an institution at Chanterelle Hometown Bistro. Sok if you want to come in from the weather and enjoy the work this famous (and local!) muralist, Chanterelle just happens to be offering free dessert with any entrée to celebrate their inclusion into the afterAWE festivities.
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Salt & Iron
321 Main St.
The art of popular Heidi Barnett greets diners at this month’s art wal. Salt & Iron has once again been selected as one of the AfterAWE restaurant locations where for $5 patrons receive a glass of Chateau Bigotiere Muscadet wine.
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408 Main St.
Owner Tracy Felix, a master at vibrant acrylics and hot encaustics, will heat up art walk with a demonstration of the latter as she explains the processes and nuances of this growing-in-popularity art form.
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RE/MAX Direct Realty
110 4th Ave. N.
“Featured show” with works by Caleb Schroder is what RE/MAX Direct Realty has to offer art gallery strollers this month.
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Hidden Geometry – New works by Tim Celeski is the focus this month of ZINC Art & Object, located at 102 3rd Ave. S.
Celeski lives and works in Indianola on the peninsula; and offers this statement in the way of introduction, “I’m a Seattle-area based custom furniture designer and builder with an unusual specialty. Where most custom arts and crafts furniture makers produce indoor furniture, I chose a different path. Starting with the idea of expanding living spaces outdoors, I designed and created a large collection of high-quality custom outdoor furniture. The line is called the Elliott Bay Collection.
“As it has evolved, pieces have been introduced at arts and crafts and [also] art shows throughout the West Coast. The collection consists of dozens of pieces and is constantly growing and evolving. Six design lines cover comfort seating, dining, benches, lounge seating and many other pieces. The furniture is handcrafted and custom made for each client, but often a few pieces are available on short notice.”
ZINC is featuring his most recently designed series of wood sculptures. We are told by ZINC spokesperson Cat Snapp that “Tim’s new Formline art series transforms traditional forms found in Northwest Coastline Formline design into abstract ones.”
Intriguing, isn’t it?
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Cascadia Art Museum (CAM)
190 Sunset Ave.
Art enthusiasts who revel in realism will want to include CAM in their art walk experience; particularly since Thursday, Jan. 19 is the show opening of Northwest Social Realism and the American Scene 1930-1950.
While you are at the art museum, consider seriously a membership; which will allow you and yours invitations to behind-the-scenes receptions and special CAM events.
Don’t forget that Cascadia Art Museum joins the Edmonds Historical Museum and My Edmonds News in sponsoring Thursday Trivia, held every Thursday at 6 p.m. at A Very Taki Tiki Bar & Grill, 518 Main St.
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Friday, Jan. 20
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Lynnwood Idol, an event intended to give young adults with disabilities a chance to shine through music, will take place on Friday at Alderwood Community Church, located at 3403 Alderwood Mall Blvd. in Lynnwood.
Lynnwood High School student McKenna Sessions, who organized the event, says: “I wanted to have an event where the community could give young adults who have big hearts for music a chance to express themselves with song on stage.”
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to The Arc of Snohomish County, an organization that serves people with disabilities and their families.
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Last Call and Sell Out Alerts
The “Sell Out Alert!” warnings from Artfully Edmonds in regard to Edmonds Center for the Arts events is becoming a common occurrence these days with stellar selections of entertainment brought to us by the ECA team enjoying brisk ticket sales.
Please take note when Artfully Edmonds posts a “Sell Out Alert!” if you and your party are interested in seeing any of the ECA shows which are now drawing from miles around as Edmonds Center for the Arts continues to grow in reputation.
Indigo Girls ~ Sold out!
Kvartal 95 Comedy Show ~ Sold out!
The Peking Acrobats ~ A smattering of tickets available at press time.
An Evening with Alexander Rosenbaum ~ Sold Out!
Jesse Cook ~ Sold Out!
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Jazz ~ Basie Bash: New York 1937 ~ Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
It’s jazz history night as the SRJO brings the Basie Bash to Edmonds. Imagine it’s 1937 and notes played at places like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom are spilling out onto the sidewalks of Harlem.
It’s the year that Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump” is on its way to becoming the theme song of the Count Basie Orchestra. The American music scene is hot!
Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra shows us how it was played in the day and once again proves their stuff on the ECA stage. You will want to be there to hear it!
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Mondays, Feb. 6-27
Re-Ignite the Mind with Improvisation & Play
Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)
410 4th Ave. N.
Taproot Theatre leads classes that tap into the creative abilities of individuals experiencing early stage memory loss (ESML) and care partners through improvisation and theatre games.
No memory requirement, just the delight of participating in an experience that releases the imagination while giving a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence and social enrichment.
Contact the ECA box office at 425-275-9595 to register
–- By Emily Hill
Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at [email protected].