Art and Love from Me to You

HTY Press Release

A Hundred Thank Yous Exhibition by Lori Portka    
Location: Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall
Gratitude shows its face in one hundred paintings by Cazenovia artist


Cazenovia College’s Summer Art Series will open with a one-day, one-woman show, “A Hundred Thank Yous: a gratitude project by Lori Portka,” from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 16, at the Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, 6 Sullivan St, Cazenovia.

For the past year, Portka has been painting her gratitude for one hundred people who have made a difference in her life. She first conceived the project after hearing about a woman who, in an effort to fight depression, started a year-long photographic project – taking one Polaroid photo every day of something she felt grateful for. She posted the project on, and word began to spread, with others taking on projects of their own.


Portka says, “I was intrigued, but on a deeper level, this project seemed like a natural thing for me to do. Part of my spiritual practice is gratitude – it is central to how I want to live my life. And it fits that I would do a gratitude project with my artwork because gratitude and happiness are such a big part of my life as an artist. My intention is to uplift people through my art; I want my artwork to evoke feelings of joy and sweetness.”

Portka says she wanted to challenge her endurance and stretch her ability to be creative. “I wanted to see what it would be like to do a huge body of work. I figured I would be changed by the end of it and I am!  It brought me to a new understanding about how important gratitude is and has given me much more confidence as an artist. I’m also very excited to see how people react to receiving a gift of art and gratitude when I give my paintings away after the exhibition.”

Hailey and Andrew Bartholomew, of Brisbane, Australia, own You Can’t Be Serious, specializing in photography and filmmaking.  It was Hailey’s Polaroid project that inspired the couple’s “365 Grateful,” a film about uncovering what happens when ordinary people unlock the remarkable powers of gratitude. Their film will cover Hailey’s personal journey and include the stories of many people whose lives have been impacted by gratitude, one of whom is Lori Portka.

The You Can’t Be Serious team will visit Cazenovia College to film Portka’s exhibition and talk to the people for whom she made the 100 paintings.  Portka says, “Hailey saw and liked my artwork. All the pictures are happy, full of the things I’m grateful for. When I decided to take this on, I wanted it to be something big.”

Portka was at first a bit overwhelmed by the commitment she made, but as she was nearing the end, she realized that the project itself had given her another thing to be grateful for. “I have a greeting card and online art business, and most of my paintings fall neatly into the categories of greeting cards.”

On her website, Portka writes about her personal journey through heartache and healing with the help of her art.  Now she can write,I am so grateful for this life here; doing work I love and watching my creative dreams open up and become real.”

The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall hosts the College’s Summer Art Series, sharing gallery space with area artists. This summer, the Cazenovia Watercolor Society will show member’s work on three weekends, June 29 to Aug. 5, hours: Fri., 6-8 p.m., Sat., Sun., 1-4 p.m.  Academic year exhibitions begin Sept. 6. 


This press release was sent out into the world last week!

I am beyond excited that the exhibition is coming up so soon!  I feel really ready to share the paintings and let all of them go to who they belong to.  It will be interesting to see what it is like in my studio without 100 paintings stacked all around.  I have big ideas in the works that are just waiting for the space to blossom.

Last night I had a nightmare about my art show. I woke up all shook up and anxious, then I kind of laughed about it to my husband – it was so bad!  I dreamed that I got a really horrific review of my show.  In my dream, the critic cut down my character and my artwork really badly.  Pretty much all of the bad things I could imagine anyone ever saying about me (and worse!) were in this nightmare article from this nightmare critic.

Oh, hello fear.

I recognized that  in doing this project and pouring love and gratitude into all of these paintings for people, I have opened myself up enough to be transparent and vulnerable. I sat with that for a while.  I sat in the knowing that anyone could criticize me.  Strangely, it was comforting to give the fear some room to be heard and acknowledged.  There is definitely fear there.  But it’s not the biggest part of me.  It’s just a small little voice that shouts at me sometimes.  This time, the fear-voice reminded me that I am not running my life by it’s direction anymore.  100 paintings later, I know this to be true.

I hear you, fear.  And we are going to be okay.  You can relax now.


It was my honor and privilege to be interviewed by the beautiful Britt Bravo for her podcast for the Arts and Healing Network! I had the best time talking with her about my project.

Here is some background about the Arts and Healing Podcast:  In Spring 2007, the Arts & Healing Podcast was launched in order to share the actual voices of artists and organizations who are doing inspiring work using art to heal themselves, their community, and/or the planet. The podcast is published several times a year and is produced by Britt Bravo.  You can subscribe to the Arts & Healing Podcast via iTunes.

I have spent many hours in my studio listening to the wisdom in the podcasts.  Britt has interviewed other wonderful artist superstars like Christine Mason Miller, Jenny Doh, Susannah Conway and Julia Cameron.  It is really something to be a part of it all.


WILD Sister Magazine is out today!  I’m honored to have my artwork on the cover.  I shared a story from the heart and I’ve spent the morning reading many of the other articles.  This is a gooood one!


{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Loran May 29, 2012

    Congratulations, Lori! What an accomplishment. I know that your exhibit will be a huge and joyful success!

    • LoriP May 30, 2012

      Loran, thank you so much! Big hugs

  • kolleen May 30, 2012

    i am SO proud of you my beautiful friend … what an amazing accomplishment …

    your heart just continues to expand more and more and more …. it is truly an inspiration to see.

    your show is going to be nothing short of magical … all that are fortunate enough to be there will be in the presence of true gratitude and meeting one of the purest hearts i know …. YOU!!!!

    i love you

    • LoriP May 30, 2012

      Kolleen! Oh my, thank you. I can hardly wait until I am hanging out with you again. xoxo

  • Julia May 30, 2012

    Oh Lori. This makes me beyond happy. I am so totally inspired by this, by you, by your courage and willingness to move despite the fear (I’ve been dealing with plenty of my own lately).

    It is such a beautiful thing to be a witness to your soaring.

    Sending so much love your way,


    P.S: I love you in red. What a gorgeous photo of you.

  • LoriP May 30, 2012

    Thank you Julia for everything. You are such a sweet soul.

  • Ruth June 1, 2012

    Congratulations, Lori — this is so exciting. I can’t wait to hear how the opening goes 🙂

  • LoriP June 1, 2012

    Sweet Ruth! Thank you, thank you <3

  • avisannschild June 1, 2012

    Congrats on finishing this magnificent project! I so wish I could go to your art show. (I looked into it, but it’s not going to happen, unfortunately.) Hope you have a blast!

    PS I can’t wait to hang some of your art on my walls! 🙂

  • Britt Bravo June 22, 2012

    It was so fun to interview you, Lori. You really inspired me! Thanks for sharing your story and wisdom with the Arts and Healing Podcast’s listeners, and for being a listener yourself!

  • Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy July 8, 2012

    The cover is amazing, congrats.

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