In the Studio: Lorna Morris

This month dot-art speaks to Liverpool based artist Lorna Morris. Lorna graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Masters of Fine Art. She has exhibited solo and with fellow artists. Her work is in private collections in the USA, Canada, Germany and the UK.

Lorna creates beautiful oil paintings inspired by the interiors of Danish painters from the late 19th and early 20th century and strives to capture and moments of warm golden light in rooms and on faces.

Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?

I work in oil paints. I love the colours and depth that can be achieved and that they stay wet for longer allowing me to blend and capture nuance in skin tone and light falling on surfaces.

The brushes are the main attraction for me though – I just love the way they place the paint and glide along the canvas. My greatest joy is getting to work with brushes all day.

Describe your style of art:

My painting is mostly inspired by the interiors of Danish painters from the late 19th and early 20th century, but I love many different styles, from Chagall to Rembrandt, I try to use what I learn from each artist I encounter.

Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?

I usually begin with a drawing. I like to try out the composition and often use watercolours to experiment with light and shade. Sometimes the idea for a painting is abandoned at this stage but if it works as a small drawing it usually works at a larger scale. I then take a charcoal pencil and sketch the image onto a large canvas.

I like to begin with Payne’s Grey only for cool-toned pieces and Raw Umber for warm. Once I am happy with the structure of my painting I begin to add colour. I am terrible at knowing when a painting is finished. To me, it is never finished.

When did you begin your career in art? 

I have always painted. As a toddler, I painted almost exclusively. I was so fortunate to have a supportive home and school life. Several teachers allowed me space in classrooms and extra time to paint. When I left school I studied Fine Art at Edinburgh University for five years. It isn’t so much a career as a life.

Who or what inspires your art? 

I am most inspired by moments of warm golden light in rooms and on faces.

The Black Ribbon-Lorna-Morris

Why is art and creativity so important to you?

I really can’t imagine life without art or creativity.

What does it mean to be an artist in the Liverpool City Region? 

I love being an artist here in Liverpool. The city has its very own cultural calendar. From Light night to the Biennial to the River of Light we are surrounded by fresh visual inspiration throughout the year.

We are also truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world from gorgeous architecture to galleries such as the Walker, the Lady Lever, Sudley House, The Bluecoat to the magnificent River Mersey and the Sefton coastline.

The people here have roots from all over the globe and so it is a very easy city to be yourself in whilst learning about other ways of life every moment of every day.

Lorna Morris - Work in Progress

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a large piece of my daughter at home for Christmas before the pandemic. It is more of a learning piece. There are several new challenges in it. I am trying to capture the feeling of her cosseted in the dark December evening light, conveying the safety and peace of home.

What’s the best advice that was given to you as an artist?

Try not to draw what you think is there but what is actually there.

Each month we ask our artist a question generated by Ask the Public. This months question is – Why is Art Important?

Art helps us to live. Art might refresh our sense of wonder at the natural world or our everyday lives. Art helps us understand our feelings better and make more mindful life decisions.

Art can inspire a fresh perspective on relationships, a tricky mathematical problem, a decision about where we want to live, help us picture our ideal lives, give us insight into the struggles of others. Art can comfort or it can wake us up.

‘You own twice as much rug if you’re twice as aware of the rug.’

Allen Ginsberg

‘We think of only those professions that delay death as worthwhile and forget that learning to live well is our ultimate goal.’

Discover more of Lorna’s artwork on our online shop!