Lori Ruiz: A Girl Who Loved Animals

painting Mar 31, 2021
Watercolor painting of an elephant

There are very few things that are more inspiring than nature. For centuries, great masters, hobbyists and art fiends turned to what's around us and went on to capture the beauty of nature, from a simple leaf to a grandiose elephant. I even tried creating a realistic watercolor eucalyptus painting DIGITALLY, so you can tell that my love of nature goes deep.

Today, I'm SO excited to bring you a little something special. Sit back with a fresh cup of oolong as I talk to Lori Ruiz a little bit about art, life and everything in-between. 

Lori Ruiz, watercolor artist

You paint so many beautiful animals, do you have a favorite you always lean towards?

I love painting birds! I'm just incredibly jealous of their ability to fly away and adventure where their heart desires. And another fun fact is I always paint a coyote after I see one. I think they are the ultimate survivalist and way under-appreciated!
As an artist and a mother of three, what is one lesson about creativity that you would want your children to learn?
Talent will only get you so far. Determination is everything.
What do you love most about being in nature and how does it help you create?
I feel like the only time I'm ever present or truly happy is when I'm out in nature. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself and I try to replicate that feeling in my work. 
Is there an art style you love but choose to admire from afar and not use in your art? 
I'm very privileged to be surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of western Colorado. I love landscape paintings but I'm never happy painting them. They are really difficult for me and I always feel incredibly anxious and unsatisfied when I try to paint them.
What's the one thing in your daily art routine that helps you stay inspired?
Honestly, interacting with people on Instagram. The people I've connected with are all so inspiring and encouraging. Knowing that other people are excited about my work is so motivating. And when that doesn't work, blasting Fleetwood Mac, Cat Stevens, or the Beatles.

Find Lori on Instagram @loriruizwatercolor
If you had to start your art journey from scratch tomorrow, what, if anything, would you do differently?
I would be careful about the number of commissions I took on just to make a buck. In March of 2020 (at the beginning of the pandemic) I painted 70 commissions. Obviously, I needed to learn to say no and/or price my work higher. I almost gave up entirely after that because I was so burnt out!
Do you feel like you live to create or create to live?
I think an honest answer (at this stage in my life) is that I create to live. Three years ago I was a stay at home mom. I have no college degree and virtually zero professional skills. I started my art journey as a way to gain some independence and see what I was made of. Now, it's my sole income. Art literally keeps us fed and alive. 

Being a full time artist can be so overwhelming. What helps you stay grounded?
I write down between 1-3 tasks that I MUST complete in a day before I can let my mind wander to other tasks. It can be hard to balance tasks and creative inspiration when it comes. Sometimes I have to allow myself to abandon the to-do list entirely if I feel a strong sense of creative energy and inspiration. 

Visit Lori's shop or her eye-candy social media feed:
Visit Lori on Instagram here.
Buy Lori's art here
You really should... I mean, her art is on my wall too sooooo....

Looking for some more inspiration? Check out our previous blog posts to learn all about abstract watercolor florals or travel (mentally, at least - that still counts, right?) to a serene watercolor beach.

Unsure of your animal drawing skills? Don't worry, I gotcha. Grab my Animal Line Drawing book here.

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