Loran is a biologist, champion of wildlife studies, and world traveler – in between, she manages to squeeze in being a professional artist in the mediums of sculpture, jewelry making, painting and drawing, and does it all with her signature big smile. She has an enthusiasm about experiencing life in all its forms, and infuses her art with the knowledge gained along the way. Her passion is traveling to other countries to observe wildlife in natural habitats. At this writing, she has just returned from a trip to Africa and is planning her next trip to China. We captured her for a few minutes ….
Loran, what was your first experience with art?
As a very young child, I would draw all the time, and had an innate natural understanding of perspective which is highly unusual at that age. I came into it naturally because my mother is a fabric artist and my father is a sculptor. My father and I would love to visit galleries and museums, and at one time I studied art at the Richmond Art Center. I can’t recall any time in my life that I wasn’t doing some kind of art.
Were there highly influential people as you progressed?
Mrs. Brown in high school was the major influence. She continually pushed my level of skill. While in high school, they gave me a special provision to take college art classes in illustration, graphic arts, watercolor, and oil painting. That was an excellent program, sadly no longer in existence probably due to budget cuts. After that I took the art program at Humboldt State, but switched to biology to obtain my degree. I was a biologist for 30 years, up to 2014, when I returned to art just for the love of it.
Do you continue in all those mediums?
Yes, those as well as the wire sculptures, jewelry making, working with copper and also ceramics. My current work is based on my trip to South Africa which was like an anatomy lesson! I am working on art depicting cheetahs and rhinos on an animal-themed totem pole.
What is your schedule of the day?
I am very disciplined about working 9 to 12 every day no matter what else happens, but I can easily keep working on a piece all day and well into the night if I am deeply involved in it. It is always in my brain, so I frequently wake up with inspirations in the middle of the night.
Where would you hate to be?
I always want to be outside in nature, so anything that closes me in would be awful – like a shopping mall.
What do people not know about you?
I am basically a shy person, and I’m always trying to overcome it. Even though I was on the debate team, I actually hate speeches.
What do you think about the future of art, in all its forms?
I feel that art and science are the same thing, and that is why I have been able to enjoy both art and biology all these years. Young people need creative expression, but the economy is pushing it out of reach. Painting and sculpture will continue to be the principal forms of art, but then there are new events like Burning Man which are great. A brilliant idea and such innovation! It would also be proactive to rent out spaces like a gym or a library to produce art events for children. I continue to hope for the best.
Thank you, Loran. See you in the gallery.
Loran’s art can be viewed at the Arts Guild of Sonoma most months of the year. To view Loran’s website, click here.