You may not be familiar with long-time Green Cottage employee Lora Shelley because she is normally tucked away in David Urso's jewelry studio in the back. But you have definitely seen her beautiful paintings mounted around the walls of the shop. We asked her to tell us about herself and her time at Green Cottage.
"I've known Dennis and David since 1998 when we first moved to the area. We were checking out the town and the store and I became friendly with Dennis. Dennis commissioned me to do a portrait of their dog Eddie, a Corgi, so I painted Eddie when David was away at one of his shows. It was a secret. When he came back Dennis gave it to him and it was really a beautiful moment. Everybody loved Eddie, he was such an awesome pup. Some time after that, around 2010, I started helping Dennis set up some weddings, and then David started needing extra help around the studio and asked me if I’d come work for him. I’m very methodical and precise about things so it’s a natural fit working for David. I love doing repetitive work, it feels like meditation to me. I have a little OCD, and so this kind of work is very soothing, the repetitive motion quiets the chatter in my head. Everyone at Green Cottage went to art school so there are lots of people to bounce ideas off of. It's nice that way. I feel like I'm being a fellow artist with the other artists here and that even though I’m not a jeweler my opinion is respected."
Lora graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration. She now specializes in animal portraits. "It was a natural path for me. Since I was a kid I’ve been drawing animals. I remember in kindergarten I won a prize for doing a library poster, two birds in a nest and one of them is flying off, going to the library. It was a nice little story."
In 2017 Lora set herself the goal of painting her cat Charley every day for the entire year. "I’m really glad that project is done, but I do kind of miss it, I miss the automatic discipline of it. Charley is my fur child. I love him so much that he feels like a part of me, so it was almost like doing self portraits. When I was painting him I would get into the zone and just see shapes and colors, all very abstract, and it’s him but it’s so much more. It’s lines and shapes and colors and pushing things around. It really helped me in my art practice."
Finally we ask Lora what makes her happy. "I'm just happy when I’m making stuff, all I want to do is make stuff! Its all I really want out of life." Thanks Lora for all the beautiful things you make! You can see Lora's Charley paintings at her solo show at The Wired Gallery in High Falls June 5–20.