July 2023 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Lori Portka
by Lindsay Gifford
When it comes to art, Lori Portka has two mantras:
1. Happiness Through Art; 2. Art and Love from Me to You! Both are unmistakable the minute you see her vibrant, colorful, playful works. Her studio literally glows with happiness and exuberance, which she credits to her daily practice of gratitude.
As a child, Lori loved drawing so much that she did it nearly every day. “You could find me huddled over a sketchbook with colored pencils, pencil shavings, and crayons spread all around the table. I loved to pretend I worked for Hallmark and made cards for my family, complete with a logo on the back” Lori said. However, after she lost her father at the tender age of 15, she decided to set aside her art as she pursued a more traditional and solid career. She worked as a teacher and counselor for many years.
Later in life after a painful divorce, Lori turned to her art as a source for healing. “I wanted to keep gratitude front and center in my life even through the hard times, so I started a gratitude project I called, “100 Thank Yous.” I made 100 paintings for 100 people who had a positive influence on my life and held a gallery show with all the art. Afterwards, I delivered the paintings to each person I was grateful for.” said Lori. This idea proved to have wings, as an independent Australian filmmaker learned about her project on social media and flew to the US to film a short documentary about it called “Gratitude Grows.” A few years later the film aired on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
This gratitude project became the foundation for Lori’s art business putting her on the path of creating art showcasing her gratitude for the world. Today she is happily married and living in Asheville, NC, with her husband and two matching black cats. She takes full advantage of the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and enjoys lots of hiking, biking and outdoor living for inspiration. She works out of a studio that is open to the public in Asheville’s renowned River Arts District, where she loves meeting new people and long-time customers in person. Her art has bloomed into a stunning line of not only art prints, but also stationery, gifts, and home decor carried in shops all over the world.
Lori’s artwork featured on this month’s cover—The Cat Lady—was painted in honor of her mother. “She was my favorite cat lady, who taught me love, respect, and kindness for animals. I started the painting when she was sick and finished it after she passed away. It has become one of my most popular paintings, made with all the love in my heart. As you might expect, I am a cat lady, too!” We’re honored to share a piece of Lori’s heart with all of our readers!
Lori’s colorful prints, giclées, wood prints, card sets, postcards, magnets, fabric accessories, greeting cards, home décor, puzzles, pillows, scarves, stickers, and much more can be found on her website www.loriportka.com. Visit her studio in Asheville’s River Arts District, 191 Lyman Street, Studio 256, Asheville, NC; Open 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily). Lori loves to connect with customers—call to schedule an appointment before you visit if you don’t want to miss her: 315-491-6488. Keep up with Lori’s newest works by following her on Facebook and Instagram @LoriPortkaArt.