Here's the thing about Kristin Lorson. It seems like she never, ever, ever stops smiling. I mean, I'm sure she does. Everyone does. But Kristin just seems to radiate joy and good humor, and it comes through loud and clear in her art, a talent that found her when she was a child.
Her art, she says, helped her escape the loneliness of growing up with a single mom who had to work outside the home. As a teen, she found confidence in herself through the marks she made on the study hall desks--portraits of her biggest celebrity crush, Mick Jagger, and obsession she has had since age 10. She currently holds tickets to her eighth Rolling Stones concert since 1978--the second one she'll have seen in Chicago.
Kristin's sketches began finding their way into others' hands as she presented them as gifts to friends and relatives. She remembers painting a bucketful of daisies for her high school sweetheart's mother. That made her feel pretty doggone good.
When her own first child was born more than 20 years ago, Kristin founded Pebbletree Artworks after realizing she could make some pretty happy people--and some spending cash--with her talent. The personalized painting she created for a baby shower earned her a flurry of special orders.
Those eventually lead to a string of Personality Portraits, detailed creations based on the in-depth research Kristin mines from the family and friends of her subject. She uses that information to paint a complete picture of the person she's honoring.
"Some people cannot express how they feel about someone," Kristin says, "and in my Personality Portraits, I find the way."
Then she corrects herself.
"God finds the way," she says. And she doesn't take that lightly.
"I don't stress over art anymore," she says. "When someone commissions me to do something, I know, it will come to me. And it always does. I'm always grateful and try to make sure I never ignore the fact that I'm a channel."
Some of Kristin's portraits now live all over the world, in places like Scotland, Argentina, and Australia, as well as in towns across the United States. Her massive murals can be found on the walls of businesses in and around her current hometown of Orrville, Ohio, where she landed by way of marriage to her best friend, humor columnist John Lorson, who still makes her laugh every day after 25 years of marriage. Of course, art plays a big part in her joy, too.
"I'm happy if I have my paints and my music," she says. "Then I can go for hours and days."
Kristin says she paints to make people happy, to share her joy in life. And it shows.
"I love the beauty that's all around us in nature," Kristin says, "and the emotional moments shared with people."
Kristin and John collaborate on a weekly column--he writes, she illustrates. Together, they portray life with their three creative kids, their crazy cat, and their black-and-white dogs Juni and Ruby, who Kristin believes is the most beautiful creature that has ever walked on four paws. Kristin also loves serving as a part-time Reception Coordinator at a local arts center and as a QDA panelist for Smucker's, where she spends several hours a week being paid to taste jams, peanut butter and various flavors of syrup. She works it all off by running. At age 42, she took to the road, and she is now training for her ninth marathon.
Kristin has great ideas for the story "Blessed Assurance,"an illustration project that she says will present her with a unique challenge of stepping outside of the normally humorous art she creates.
Please welcome Kristin to the Bradbury project team!