Loree Harrell
Sometimes you can draw a perimeter around a thing and what falls inside is enough. I have lived all of this life in a thirty mile radius of where I sit right now. Thirty miles to the east, thirty miles to the south, thirty miles to the west. Most of the all of the days spent within ten miles of right now. While not unaware or uninterested in what lies beyond, this is where I live, and what forms and feeds my art and my words. There was a river - there is a river - and a studio in an old school on the side of a road. There was a tiny house on a scenic highway, much-loved dogs and trees and two more rivers, and, in the background of it all, one fine mountain. These were what defined, informed, surrounded, held. In 1994, securely ensconced in a corporate job, a series of fortuities led me to a beautiful log house on a sweet spot of the Sandy River. Two days after moving in, I knew the river and the job couldn't exist in the same space. The river won. I tendered my resignation, cashed out the profit sharing, and went to the river to write. One year later, almost to the day, I received word that Body Speaking Words would be published in the spring. In 2000, a writing studio in a classroom in the old Springdale School birthed the next step. One day, in the lull of a story, I was scribbling to get hand and brain moving together, and saw a glimmer in the scrawl that seemed like it was maybe Something. The art took over from there like it had just been waiting in the background to be noticed. For the next four years, fifty to a hundred hours a week were spent immersed in ink and oil and acrylic and canvas and paper. And sometimes, when resources were slim, cardboard or glass or foamcore. There was a move of home and loss of studio at the end of 2004, followed by a year of casting about for a voice for the art in the much diminished available space of the home studio. With just a whisper of 2005 left, I put woodstain on paper and knew I had found my medium of choice, completing over a hundred paintings in the following four years. There were the daily hikes to the woods and river with the dogs - the pack having grown from one to two to four - always with a camera if it wasn't mid-downpour, and then, when the camera smashed on the rocky river beach, with the cell phone, trying to capture glimpses of the delight and peace of those walks. The Mirror Project is my attempt to discover a part of that story, to show a bit of the magic that lives unseen in the middle of life. My work is, in the most literal sense, leading. From inception and through each incarnation, the next thing to be done has revealed itself, always unexpectedly, as a new trail to explore. My job is step to step to step and some days you arrive in a place. Inside the perimeter of a thing.

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