Fine Art in the Wild West: Meet Fine Artist Lorrie Beck

Written by Artie The Panda

Raised in Dallas riding horses and painting side-by-side with her mother, Lorrie Beck has never outgrown her love for art and equestrianship — much to her collectors’ delight.

Journey to Fine Art

Lorrie earned a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from Baylor University and an MBA from the University of Colorado, then gained experience in commercial art. But the corporate world couldn’t contain her. She began promoting herself as a “western pencil artist,” blending her fondness of art, horses, and the great outdoors. These days, living amid the natural beauty of Colorado Springs, Colorado, her mediums include pastels, oils, and sometimes acrylics. 

“Trout Lake” and “Water Tank”

For the studio-created oil painting “Trout Lake” (shown above), Lorrie did several plein air studies of the lake, located near Telluride, Colorado. “Using my small paintings for color reference and photos of the scene, I joyously put this painting together,” she says.

Lorrie was visiting a Texas ranch on a girls getaway when she spied the mare and filly depicted in “Water Tank” (shown below). “As much as I enjoy working from life, horses won’t stand still for you long enough,” Lorrie tells us. So she created the pencil drawing from photos, then framed it in a custom 13”x17” Wood Frame Profile 529 from Frame Destination. “This is a very well-made and pretty frame,” she says. “It is simple yet elegant. I also used the Acrylic UV-Filter/Non-Glare [glazing]. It’s awesome … well priced, custom cut, and always shipped quickly.”

"Water Tank"

See More of Lorrie’s Work

You can explore more art at Visit Lorrie’s Instagram page for fun glimpses into her “tiny paintings” as well as her dog Sally’s abstract impressionism (see 3/5/2022 post). My Q&A with Lorrie reveals her favorite artistic tool and what she does to open up her work when it feels a little “tight.”

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Lorrie Beck…

1. What is your background; how did you get started?

My mother is a top abstract painter and I grew up painting along side of her in her studio. While she did huge non-representational art, I did small studies and closeups of animals, mostly horses. I received a degree in fine art and intended to go into illustration, but I found it unfulfilling. After taking a workshop from an incredible pencil artist, I knew I had found my passion. I did exclusively pencil early in my career, but have branched out to pastels, oils, and occasionally acrylics. I live in Colorado where the scenery is just gorgeous, and have become an avid plein air painter. I've taken a number of workshops over the years from artists I admire, and still take them on occasion when I'm feeling the need for a new perspective. In the last couple of years I have begun teaching as a way to give back — a few private students and one workshop so far.

2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?

Art is an international language. No matter where you are from, what language you speak, what your education level is, art transcends all levels of society and culture. It can represent beauty, pain, courage, an idea, an event, or just be a mass of design and color. It elicits emotion for the artist as well as the viewer. Personally, I strive for my art to bring beauty and stop a moment in time. 

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?

Marketing is not my strong suit, but one of those necessities of the business if my goal is to sell. I had a very successful artist convey this to me in one simple sentence: "You can't sell it if it's under the bed.” And so I have made a presence for myself on social media, advertised in national magazines, participated in juried events, conducted demos for art groups, etc. It's been a learning process for sure and I've become more comfortable in that part of the job.  

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?

I incorporate what I love into my work. I have had at least one horse for most of my life, so you'll see a lot of equestrian themes in my art. Because I also love the mountains and nature, plein air as well as studio landscape painting is a big part of my work. I'm not one for depicting disturbing scenes, but rather beauty and interesting compositions. If I've painted it or drawn it, it means I've seen it and/or experienced it.  

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?

I think I've been doing this too long to really get blocked. If I have a deadline or a commission, I just get going on it. I guess my problem will be that my work will start to feel a little tight since I do mostly realism. When this happens, I get a giant canvas and some acrylic paint and channel my Mom in her studio from my childhood and just start indiscriminately putting paint on canvas with my largest brush. I have found that I really do enjoy abstract painting quite a lot! 

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)

My biggest "aha" moment in drawing and painting was discovering the importance of value. It can be a lot harder to figure out than you think. In fact, often times if my painting or drawing isn't working, it's that my value is off. I have a red transparent filter that I will hold up to my artwork that will help me see my values. The filter helps me to observe my scene when I’m working in the field, or I can view my photo reference with it and compare it to my artwork. It's really helpful. In fact, when I teach, the first thing I do is give each student one of these filters. I bought some clear red sheets and mounted them in little precut mats to hand out.  

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?

I actually received a commission for a HUGE painting. It's 4 feet x 7.5 feet. It has involved stretching a canvas, something I had never done before. My Mom was going to come for the Christmas holiday and show me how to do it, but with COVID, the trip was canceled. I got all the supplies, watched a YouTube video, and managed to get it done.  It's not rocket science, but there are some finer points that must be adhered to to make the canvas look okay. I'm about 90 percent done with the painting and the client loves it! I'll hopefully get it to her in the next couple of months. My client lives in another state, which I visit a couple of times a year by car, so I'll take the canvas off the stretcher bars, roll it up, pack it in the car, and reassemble it when I get to her hometown. It has been such a fun project that I ordered more large stretcher bars and canvas to do a piece for a short term rental that I own. It should really spice up the room! I've already done some thumbnail sketches and can't wait to start!

8. What is your favorite color to incorporate into your art?

My favorite color, and the one I use the most in my work, is Ultramarine Blue Deep. Love, love, love that color! You can use it to mix just about anything.

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

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Last Updated June 22, 2022