Lori Silzer is quickly becoming an acclaimed Canadian artist whose passion for art has taken on a life of its own. Illustration is in her blood and time spent at her easel feeds her soul.
For nine years, Lori’s passion for art took the form of a career as a graphic designer at the University of Saskatchewan. Her commitment to graphic design also flourished in her own business for many years to follow.
In 1996 she made the decision to return to school and further her education. She found a new career within the health care profession. Although her daily work had changed, her passion and dedication to art remained. She took several art classes and workshops from some of the many talented Canadian Wildlife Artists in Western Canada. Artists like Robert Bateman, Gail Adams and Al Weitzel all contributed to Lori’s inspiration and skill development.
She began to develop her own unique style and technique of painting wildlife with a medium she truly enjoys, soft pastels. Pastels are the perfect medium for her. They allow her to "cuddle up" to a small area of her painting, whether it be a few tufts of fur on a grizzly or the fine details on a twig surrounded by a few blades of grass. Each stroke of the pastels brings life into her painting. Lori often will devote a hundred or more hours to each painting she creates. A good painting must "move the viewers in a certain way," Lori believes, "not just on a pleasing to the eye level, but on an emotional level as well.”
Born and raised a city girl, Lori still considers herself a "naturalist.” She never passes up an opportunity to take off her heels and spend time outdoors. A day of fishing at the lake with her family, catching frogs across the water from the cabin with her son, -these are the times she cherishes. Even making her way through the marsh with her camera in Yellowstone National Park to capture the perfect picture of the coyote hunting the small field mouse can be a triumphant adventure. Lori has also found herself surrounded by wild bison as she moved in closer to take pictures of one of her favorite subjects. In Cuba she took the opportunity to snorkel in the coastal waters and caught sight of a stingray rising out of the sand just feet beneath her. "Wildlife is the perfect subject,” she comments. "Our world is full of infinite beauty. Our opportunities to enjoy the wonders of nature often seem so few. It is important to breathe in every moment of this beauty when I can. I love to take the beauty I see in nature and transfer it into my paintings." Lori's ability to capture both realism and idealism into her wildlife paintings is unmistakable. Under her careful hand, the animals that she paints come alive.
Although an artist at heart, Lori never would have imagined taking her passion for art and furthering it into a career, but a few years ago she was encouraged to share her personal works of art with others. It’s a difficult profession” she admits, “the rewards are sometimes few when it comes to earning a living.” She found herself questioning the choice she had made of pursuing her art on a professional level. During a critique session at a workshop the ‘master of wildlife art’ Robert Bateman acknowledged her artistic talent and unique quality of painting as a great gift. He praised her ability to paint so beautifully and with such detail using soft pastels. Robert’s strong words of encouragement to continue down the path as a professional artist gave her the confidence to further nurture her talent.
Lori also credits her move towards her art career to her family and friends. "I would not be where I am today, if it were not for their encouragement and support." To her surprise it didn't take long for art collectors new and old to recognize her talent as a wildlife artist and find places in their homes and businesses for her original pastel paintings and limited editions.
Her original works of art have garnered several prestigious awards and best of show honors. With her talents known, she has also been invited to judge various wildlife and fine art shows and competitions.
As an artist, Lori has had the unique opportunity to donate several of her pieces to various charities to aid in their fundraising. She finds this one of the greatest rewards of her art career thus far.