Every Picture Tells a Story: Joseph Lorusso

Recently, we asked a number of our artists to write and share their takes on what their art means to them. We hope to give you the chance to connect with the artists in the same way they hope to connect with you through their paintings. With this post, the talented artist, Joseph Lorusso, explains his inspirations and what he desires to accomplish with his work.

Every Picture Tells a Story

Whenever I visit a museum or gallery, as most of us do, I find myself gravitating towards certain types of paintings. For me there are obvious reasons causing this gravitational draw – to try and unlock some technical secrets a great artist might be hiding, to discern how the artist was able to achieve certain effects, to admire their mastery of drawing, etc.

“But in the larger scope , I’ve always found myself drawn to works that tell a story.”

From my first days of artistic training, I was always drawn to the great illustrators who painted narrative scenes to support a story, such as N.C. Wyeth , Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and Maxfield Parrish to name a few. Upon further self- education, I realized that great story telling was really at the core of all art. In essence, one of the first ways “modern” humans where able to communicate was to tell their stories through art – as evidenced by the now famous Lascaux cave paintings in France and elsewhere around the world.  These first images illustrated daily life, including hunting and religious rituals, all in attempt to hand down our human experience long before we were able to develop a workable language or alphabet.

As humans developed and time passed, the technical side of this storytelling may have advanced, but the meaning and reason, I contend, remains the same – we have the need to connect. Visual language and storytelling are ways in which we achieve that. It is no mystery that going to a museum or gallery leaves many people with a spiritual experience in many ways; it allows us communion with a deeper sense of ourselves.

The visual artist, in my opinion, has a unique opportunity to create the world he wishes, and often finds that his world is also shared by others in need of the same type of outlet or escape.  In my work, my goal is to give the viewer a starting point, a springboard from which they can then expand the narrative by adding or reflecting their own experiences. For me, this is the essence of image making in whatever form you choose as your vehicle.

Over the years as a visual artist, I have found myself drawn to various types of scenes, but mostly scenes that involve a strong emotional theme, usually romantic or passionate scenes that seem to resonate with viewers. Some examples of this are paintings that depict scenes of everyday life that most of us not only can relate to but may actually have experienced. Paintings,  such as  “The Long Fare,”  shows a couple either saying hello or goodbye, making the most of the moment, while their taxi awaits them.



“The Long Fare,” 26×24, oil on panel, Gallery #16666

Not all scenes need to be romantic in nature to express a strong emotion or mood. A particular scene I enjoyed creating was the painting “After Hours;” a man and a woman stand in a dark doorway as she gazes invitingly toward the viewer, while the man stands behind her, mostly in shadow, his face only lit by the glow of a match intended to light his cigarette. The intent of the piece is meant to be mysterious and engaging, suggesting overtones of a darker side of life, nevertheless allowing the viewer room for interpretation.


“After Hours,” 30×30, oil on panel, Gallery #CS30805

Another great example of work that resonates with others is the painting  “After the Bath,” in which I depict a very personal scene from my own life. Here, my wife and oldest daughter are getting ready for bed for their night time ritual. While this is a common scene in many ways, it is universal and touches a chord with most people in its sensitivity and intimacy. We all in some ways can relate to scenes like these because of our shared human experience, thus allowing us to connect through the dignity and commonality of our daily lives.


“After the Bath,” 21×14, oil on panel, Private Collection

Ultimately, my goal as a painter is to bring all aspects of the composition together, from technical to aesthetic, in order to create the strongest and most effective statement. My work has been called nostalgic in many ways, though not by intention – perhaps we all are naturally drawn to images that evoke simpler, more “idealized” times.  In many ways, the era depicted in my paintings is almost arbitrary, as the emotion and story remains universal. A good example of this is the painting “Waiting at the Station.” Here, I challenge myself technically and compositionally by creating a larger composition all while trying to set several potential stories into one scene. The goal was to keep the viewer engaged by moving through the scene from story to story, yet remain in one setting.


“Waiting at the Station,” 48×48, oil on panel, Gallery #16627

Fortunately, we as people will always have stories to tell and emotions to express, giving me ample opportunity to create more work than I can hope for in several lifetimes. Hopefully, the work I am creating will continue to have resonance with its viewers.

“For me, it is this personalized connection that is the true test of the piece’s success, which in turn completes my painting.”

-Joseph Lorusso

To view all of the works we have by Joseph Lorusso, click this link! And stay tuned with our blog to see which artist takes it over next!




RTB Oaxaca Square


In November 2016, Principle Gallery will be hosting a juried exhibition, and the CALL FOR ENTRIES IS OPEN NOW!
We are thrilled to have Teresa Oaxaca as our guest juror for this exhibition, called “Root to Bloom: Places Artists Call Home.” Check out our website HERE to read more and to enter! And please do spread the word!

Studio Selfie Saturday: Lisa Gloria

Lisa Gloria square

It’s an absolutely gorgeous Saturday here in Old Town Alexandria! And as it’s Saturday, it’s time for another Studio Selfie. Today’s #StudioSelfieSaturday post features Illinois artist Lisa Gloria. A self-taught painter as well as a writer, musician, gardener, and mother of four, Lisa aspires to bring modern drama and aesthetics to her paintings of figures and still lifes. You can check out her available work here, but be sure to keep an eye out, as we’ll be getting new work soon–Lisa will be participating in September’s “Pay It Forward” show, where 10% of sales will be donated to one of five selected charities! We’ll be sharing more info about Pay It Forward in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up on the latest news!

10 Questions for the Artist

  1. Fill in the blank: Paint is ADDICTIVE
  2. Cats/Dogs? ONE BLACK CAT, HELLBOY. 
  3. Your first car: 1992 VW JETTA FIVE-SPEED. MAN. I LOVED THAT CAR.
  4. Favorite painting music: NEKO CASE
  5. Your “spirit animal”: JACK RUSSELL TERRIER, HAHA
  7. All time favorite movie: FIGHT CLUB.
  8. Place you’d love to travel to: ALL THE PLACES! EAT ALL THE FOODS!
  9. Morning person or night owl? YES. DEFINITELY.
  10. If I weren’t an artist, I think I’d be A WRITER? A HOMELESS WRITER? NO. A MERMAID. DEFINITELY.


Studio Selfie Saturday: Colin Fraser

Colin Fraser square selfe

We hope you’re enjoying this new tradition of Studio Selfie Saturdays as much as we are! It’s a treat to see the creativity with which our artists give us a peek of themselves in their work environment and with which they answer the questions in our mini interview. Today’s selfie features the incredible Colin Fraser. The snapshot cleverly shows a peek of him in the midst of a set up for one of his paintings.

Originally from Scotland, Colin and his wife and children now reside in Sweden, where Colin pursues his passion of painting with egg tempera. Egg tempera paint consists of pigments mixed with an egg yolk, and was the most prevalent medium for painting for many centuries, until oil paints became widely popular. While many artists avoid using this type of paint (as it is so sheer and quick to dry, it is quite challening to correct mistakes, achieve certain effects of texture, and to blend colors) Colin Fraser has come to prefer it. With egg tempera, he is able to achieve the awe-inspiring effects of light and brilliance that make his still-life compositions so extraordinary. His skillful application of colors and his ability to capture the luminosity of his subject has made Colin’s work a favorite for many gallery visitors. To see all his available work, check out Colin’s page here!

10 Questions for the Artist

1. Paint is egg-tempera
2. Cats/Dogs? Cats
3. Your first car: 1968 white VW beetle
4. Favorite painting music (Colin’s gotten clever and answered his favorite painting AND his favorie music!): Lady Agnew by Sargent/Music for a Dancer by Jackson Browne
5. Your “spirit animal”: Horse (palomino)6. If you could time travel and witness an artist create their masterpiece, which work would you choose? Vermeer’s “Milkmaid”
7. All-time favorite movie: The Searchers. Every scene is a painting!
8. Place you’d love to travel to: Alexandria! (Aww, Colin, we’d love that too!!!)
9. Morning person or night owl? Morning
10. If I weren’t an artist, I think I’d be a football (soccer!) manager.


Terry Strickland’s “Day Star”

If you haven’t yet seen Terry Strickland’s most recent blog post, be sure to go check it out–click here! Featured in a full-page ad in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Terry’s allegorical images sparkle with incredible color and light. In her blog, Terry shares some of the background of the painting as well as some gorgeous detail images of one of the works, entitled “Day Star.”

"Day Star" by Terry Strickland

“Day Star” by Terry Strickland

Also, be sure to check out this video (click here!), a fantastic time-lapse Terry made to show her painting “Fast Lane” as it is brought to life. Don’t forget to follow our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube for more great videos and images from our artists!