Artist Lori Lynn Wallen has been drawn to the sea her entire life. “There’s something so enchanting about the world underwater that intrigues me,” says the Palm City artist. “I find myself trying to capture that subtle movement and flow.” The mysterious landscape and surreal creatures of the world beneath the ocean’s surface have inspired the self-taught artist and mesmerized those who’ve sought out her work during the past 15 years.
Have you always been an artist?
I guess I’d have to say I’ve been an artist for my whole life. I’ve always been drawn to different creative things; I even spent time as a hair stylist. I worked with sewing, painting pillows, furniture—that type of thing. But somewhere around 2001, when the Highwaymen were wildly popular and family members were collecting their work, I wondered if I could mimic that style.
What lured you to the mermaids and sea creatures themes popular in your work?
Because I was born and raised here, I had always loved the raw, old Florida landscape, but it was those landscapes that got me started. Somewhere along the way, a friend from Atlanta asked me to paint a mermaid. I never had, but I wanted to try, and from then on, I seem to have been drawn in by the sea.
Your paintings are so personalized. What keeps you from mass-producing your work?
I put so much of my own energy, love and spirit into creating that I haven’t chosen to do prints. I love the texture of the art, and whether it’s paint or sea glass or driftwood, once I get into the zone, the creating kind of takes care of itself, and I am along for the wonderful ride. I use mostly acrylics and mixed media, and sometimes, the hardest part is finding the point where I can let it go. I think a lot of artists feel that way, so I try to have many pieces going on at a time.
When do you feel most creative?
When I get into my studio, even though I am a mom with three kids (two in college and one graduated from college), I put on some music—anything from country, classic rock or even alternative music—and I get into the zone. I work with a lot of decorators and do some work on commission, but most of my clients understand the spirit of an artist and simply give me free reign. It’s scary to put your stuff out there sometimes, which is what you do all the time as an artist, and I’m so fortunate to have a family and children who are all very supportive and encourage me daily. It’s a magical life.