“Come on,” my friend said with a devilish twinkle in her eye. The van stopped and before I knew it she was unbuckling her toddler daughter from the car seat. We had been out for an evening drive after dinner and a long day of work. As we explored the area, (where we would be staying for the next few months to paint rooms in a grand house) we found ourselves at a very posh Country Club at the end of a beautiful winding road. It was dusk of a lovely summer evening in Minnesota. We wound our way through the dense woods and eventually along side a perfectly manicured golf course. Not at all sure what she was thinking I asked, “where are we going?” She replied with a wonderful and prideful giggle, “to make sand angels!” With her beautiful wide-eyed daughter in hand, we ran across the cool grass and jumped into the recently raked sand trap. We flopped down and while laughing uncontrollably, we swished our arms above our heads and pushed and pulled our legs through the soft sand. Proud and with our mission complete, we admired our masterpieces and then sprinted (as fast as you can while belly laughing) to the rental van. I will never forget the sunset in the sky, the laughter echoing across the rolling hills of the golf course and later thinking of the smiles (or disgust perhaps) of who ever found our three sand-trap snow angels the next morning. It was pure joy. I will treasure that moment always, as I will my friend, Lori.
For those of you who know me, this beautiful muse is an obvious person for me to write about and a true honor to know. And for those of you, who don’t know Lori DiPasquale yet, be grateful I have introduced her to your life. She has not only taught me so much about decorative painting techniques, textures and creating beautiful spaces, but she inspires me in the way she lives her life with tremendous gratitude, a spunky zest and a humble grace that she is completely unaware of.
My sister actually met Lori at a birthday party for a mutual friend. I can’t imagine if that chance meeting hadn’t happened. Soon after, I began working for her. She had a decorative painting business creating finishes that I had never dreamed of before. Her work is stunning. I had the good fortune to have her teach me her secrets of the trade, to get to experiment with products by creating endless sample boards and then to eventually work side by side with her. We glazed, plastered, gilded, stenciled; you name it. Creating skies over living rooms, turning walls in bars to look like red leather, gilding endless feet of crown molding, making walls look like old stone blocks in fancy hotels, painting murals in nurseries, creating fun metallic finishes in corporate offices, marbling columns, taking old furniture and giving it new life, glazing kitchen cabinets and turning floors into conversational pieces. It was hard work but was so much fun. We listened to great music, while leapfrogging over one another to create one consistent hand in a finish. We were a fantastic team and our friendship even better.
Life moves forward and things change. It took our careers in different paths, but our friendship only grew stronger. Lori became a massage therapist wanting to nurture her healing and giving qualities. Her strong hands, intuitive nature, and generous spirit make her excellent at this. (She really needs a drool bucket under her table!) For those of you in Colorado Springs, you can learn more about and get in touch with Lori about her massage practice here at Springs Natural Medicine. And don’t worry; she still is creating amazing finishes too.
We talked endlessly about creating and expressing ourselves through art. The finishes are a creative challenge and when done well, give an aesthetic to spaces that really set a tone or highlight a style. But, this is done for the client, not one’s self-expression. We both set to canvas work, checking in with one another here and there. It was sporadic at best for me, but Lori really moved forward with her art career. She has been part of the Pikes Peak Studio Tour for years now and is gearing up for some group and solo shows later this year. Her work has evolved to her favorite medium of encaustics. They are layer upon layer of color infused with emotion and depth. They grab your attention across a room. And, as you get up close, you get lost in the textures, color use, and hidden words or images buried in her pieces, which are often done on recycled materials. And, I am fortunate to have my own little collection in my home. Click here to see more of her work at DiPasquale Designs
Lori has given me so much and there is no way to capture how infectious her passions are. Her knowledge and love of gardening, her tremendous yoga practice, her spiritual journey, her dedication to her daughters, her endless giving to her friends and community, her thirst for always wanting to gain more knowledge and soak up the essence of what she finds interesting and beautiful. I have hundreds of memories in my heart and head that I will cherish my life long. I treasure our friendship tremendously and will be ever grateful for her influence. Perhaps, I will sneak up to the local country club later today and make a sand trap angel. Go give it a try. It is so much fun!