As a Contemporary American Impressionist, what interests me is rarely any specific subject unto itself. Instead I see color harmony, rhythms, patterns, and strong shapes. Weaving in and out, the world at 60 mph, life at a glance, this is how I paint. It is fascinating seeing this way. My art engages its viewers, like passers by who have to stop and move in more closely. The work invites them to find their own answers, like following clues to a mystery, and they can become an artist themselves, even if only for a brief time.
Modern Impressionism stretches the boundaries with artists painting in styles ranging from near realism to almost abstraction. Putnam’s work is closer to the latter.
Recognized for her expressive brushwork, contemporary compositions, and intelligent use of color, Nashville Tennessee native, Lori Putnam paints small to medium-sized works en plein air and creates large paintings in her studio. Having painted in 16 different countries and hundreds of small towns and villages, she believes the work created from life helps her maintain freshness in her studio paintings as well.
Putnam grew up in the Tennessee countryside. With no neighbors for miles, she credits her vision and creative spirit to those many hours spent entertaining herself as a young child. Her spark for drawing and painting began early, but her development as an artist was not realized until much later. At age 35 she began the journey to what has become a life-long commitment to art. The feel of oil paint ignited her love affair with the medium and she knew there was no turning back.
Prior to becoming a full-time, fine artist in 2005, Putnam owned a successful graphic design business for 13 years. In 2008 and 2009, she and her husband Mark sold their home and belongings and traveled to the Italian countryside. The sole purpose was personal study and artistic experimentation. The concentrated work accomplished during that 7-month period culminated in an impressive breakthrough. While she considers herself primarily self-taught, the advice and support of Scott Christensen, Quang Ho, and Dawn Whitelaw have been key to the artist's development and success.
No stranger to hard work and dedication her career has soared. Featured in numerous issues of major magazines, Putnam is now recognized as one of the finest American Impressionists of our time. She served as an Artist Faculty Demonstrator for the Annual Plein Air Convention for six years and has been keynote speaker and guest lecturer at many other notable events in the U.S. and abroad. Museums and conferences turn to her as guest lecturer and authoritarian on many topics such as "Modern Impressionism,” “The New Color Theory," "Contemporary Mark-Making," and "Making a Successful Career in Today’s Art Market.” Her sold-out workshops are a testament to her teaching style and her gratitude to those who taught and nurtured her.
Lori has exhibited with many respected organizations including but not limited to the Salmagundi Club in New York City, the Oil Painters of America, Laguna Plein air Painters Association, the California Art Club, and the American Impressionists Society. Additionally, both Lori’s plein air and studio paintings have received awards too numerous to count. Some of her more recent accolades have come from the Salmagundi Club in New York City, the Portrait Society of America, The American Impressionist's Society, the Oil Painters of America, All Along the Sierra Exhibition, National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, and the Forgotten Coast Plein air Invitational. Currently, Putnam also serves on the Board for Art Ambassador for a Colorful World, founded by Kevin Macpherson, whose believe it is that art has the power to change the world.
Museums have also honored and acknowledged Putnam’s work. Either through awards, exhibitions, or invitations to lecture, The Tucson Museum of Art, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Irvine Museum in California, The Hockaday Museum in Montana, The Brinton Museum in Wyoming, the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville are just a few in a continually growing list. She has work in the permanent collection at The Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, the collection of Plein Air Magazine, the University of California-Irvine Museum, and in private and corporate collections, and galleries worldwide. When not traveling to paint, teach, or lecture, Putnam works in her studio in Charlotte, Tennessee.
Art Ambassador for a Colorful World, Vice President
Salmagundi Club, NYC
Oil Painters of America, Signature Member
American Impressionist Society, Signature Member, past Vice President
California Art Club, Out-of-State Artist
Laguna Plein air Painters Association, Signature Member
Portrait Society of America
Plein air Painters of the Southeast
California Plein air Painters, Signature Member
International Plein air Painters, Signature Member
The Chestnut Group, plein air painters for the land