Lori Goll’s Artist’s Eye: From Outer Bank Seascapes to French Landscapes

By Linda Roberts

Mention art to Lori Goll and her eyes sparkle and her face lights up.

“I’ve always loved to draw and paint ever since I was a child growing up in eastern Kentucky,” she said.

Goll, who just returned from a painting sojourn in France, is back to her usual busy schedule teaching art to a home school group in Oakton and instructing adults at the Great Falls School of Art. In between, she can be found teaching private lessons at her Leesburg studio, or making the trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she has art on display and for sale at the Seaside Art Gallery. She’s already planning how she can swing a return trip to France, where she enjoyed setting up her easel in rural areas to work in plein air painting and photograph French landscapes, which will become her future subjects.

“I love to paint seascapes, animals and landscapes, and I consider myself a nature painter,” Goll said. A recent exhibition at the Visit Loudoun headquarters in downtown Leesburg featured bright-eyed alpacas, tranquil cows, inquisitive horses, the brilliant blue feathers of a peacock and the soft colors of a vineyard at sunrise. Two paintings found new homes with happy buyers during the show.

Goll’s great-grandmother started her on an artist’s pathway as they sat at the kitchen table for art lessons. She was instructed in the “proper way” to draw a house or tree.

Later, leaving art for a four-year stint at Virginia Tech, Goll graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. She worked in telecommunications until the siren song of art called her back to work in watercolors and, most recently, pastels.

Goll and her husband, the parents of two grown children, live in downtown Leesburg.

“We’ve been here two years and I love Leesburg,” she said. “I love nature and to be outside and here you can drive 10 minutes and see a beautiful vista.”

When her children were young, Goll began a more formal art education, first with watercolor and drawing classes from Lassie Corbett, then several semesters of printmaking, drawing, painting and art history courses at Northern Virginia Community College toward an associate’s degree in fine arts. She then began attending professional artist workshops, including an oil-painting plein air session with Kevin Fitzgerald and intense color theory workshops with pastelists Lou Gagnon and Casey Klahn. Three years ago, Goll studied with master pastelist Richard McKinley during a weeklong plein air pastel workshop. Over the past three summers, Goll painted with Danni Dawson, Kurt Schwarz, Paul Lucchesi and Mike Francis at the Art League’s “Week in Thomas” workshop in West Virginia. Most recently, Goll has been returning to her oil paints and also attended a workshop with noted artist Steven Walker.

Leesburg pastel artist Lori Goll, recently returned from a plein air painting trip in France, teaches the art in Oakton and Great Falls and has her work on display across the region, like the county government center. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

Goll, who has received awards for her work, has staged several solo exhibitions and exhibits in numerous juried shows throughout the area. Active in the local arts community as a board member of the Loudoun Sketch Club, she is also a member of the Great Falls studio group and the Loudoun Arts Council.

When Goll teaches, she wants the “viewer to feel a mood … to see and feel the beauty in art.”As part of her instruction with the student group in Oakton, Goll had her pupils tape their drawing papers under their desks and lie on their backs to paint. “I wanted them to share in the experience that Michelangelo must have had when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.”

Her favorite art comes out of the Tonalist movement, a style that emerged in the 1880s that features dark, neutral colors, such as grays, browns and blues. Artist Kevin Fitzgerald, who follows the Tonalist style, is high on Goll’s list of well-liked painters.

“When I first saw his work at a gallery in Easton, MD, it made me cry. … it evoked such a mood,” she said.

Goll is teaching a Jump-Start Pastel workshop at Oatlands on Sunday, Dec. 8 and then a two-day workshop at Glen Echo in Maryland in the spring. And she can’t wait to get to work on painting the rural scenes she loved while visiting France. While her subjects are soon to come alive on canvas, Goll has already named that show. With excitement in her voice, she eagerly noted that it will be entitled “Impressions of Provence.”

See Goll’s work and get updates on her latest projects at lorigollart.com.

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