At the last Banks Mill Open Studios the work of one new artist on the block was attracting a lot of attention.
Visitors were not only commenting on the sheer number of paintings by Lor Bird but also the diversity of her style.
Practically every wall on four floors of exhibition at the Derby venue had one or more of her works and until then very few people had ever seen her work.
The Matlock artist has certainly been hiding her light under a bushel for a fair few years and confesses that until recently she had not got the confidence to show it off.
That’s all changed thanks in the main to the encouragement of her husband Jamie, an art therapist who also paints.
“I have always painted. Painting is my chill time but I was just doing it for myself and not for anyone else,” explained Lor, who helps disabled people get back into work by setting up their own business.
“Meeting Jamie has changed my whole world. He pushed me into looking more broadly at the work of other artists, took me to more exhibitions and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.
He is my best critic but he also told me that my work was good and I had to get it framed and show it to others,” said Lor.
“The ironic thing was that at work I was advising others how to make the most of the talents by setting up their own businesses and I wasn’t following my own advice.
“One day I suddenly thought ‘I should be doing this myself’. I realised that I wanted to become an artist and I probably always had.
“I am still working four days a week but on Fridays I devote myself to my art,” she said.
“I took a year out to lick my wounds and then decided to study religion and philosophy instead and went on to work with disabled people, as I was interested in becoming an art therapist.”
Lor will never know what would have happened if she had studied fine art but she says there is no point in looking back, although she reckons art school may have helped her focus more on a creative style.
“I find it hard to stick to one style I just can’t limit myself and like to just let the paintings blossom.
“How they turn out is often a surprise to me. I am a bit like a kid in a sweetshop. There are just so many choices and I want to try them all. I feel as if I might miss out on something if I don’t,” she said with smile.
The couple’s home, set above Matlock Bank overlooking the town, has rooms painted brightly to reflect her love of colour and adorning the walls are her landscapes, abstracts and still life.
Lor has painted enough pictures in the last 20 years to more than fill the average gallery but she realises it is time to create a brand for herself – all the paintings on these pages are semi abstract landscapes and it is a style she is keen to develop.
“I had a couple of paintings exhibited at In The Flow, in Matlock, last year and was involved with a Pop-up Shop at the Wirksworth Festival as well as a few other craft fairs. I also became an affiliate member at Banks Mill which led to me exhibiting quite a bit of work there which was very exciting.
“I am going to be part of the Belper Art Trail at the beginning of May and I am also going to be exhibiting in the Cube space in Deda dance centre in Derby that month.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me and my work but I am going to enjoy showing it off and I just hope that people get some enjoyment from what I have done.”
To see more of Lor’s work go to http://www.lorbird.wix.com