'I sort of get lost in it:" Art helps woman through hard times

·2 min read

Aug. 6—CANNONSBURG — When complications from surgery left Lottie Fraley blind in one eye, it couldn't have been devastating.

"(It was) pretty frightening to say the least," she said.

Fortunately for the successful painter, her sight eventually returned.

It hasn't been the only obstacle or tragedy she has worked through.

At 79, Fraley endured the loss of a son, a husband and her mother. But art was there for her.

"Thirty-two years ago, I lost my mother, and was going through a bad time," she said. "My husband bought me a paint set and I didn't know how to use it — the colors, composition — I had no idea how to put the paint down."

As a child, she enjoyed drawing and showed some talent at it, so she decided to take a painting class. That led to a few more classes.

"Over the years, I have an extensive collection of art books and I feel I've learned through other artists and I've taken a few classes along the way," Fraley, a member of the Tri-State Artists Association, said.

She also has learned to take away therapy from art.

"Painting has helped me through a lot of hard times," she said. "I just get lost in my paintings and have no concept of time, but it hits you afterwards."

Currently, her medium of choice has been acrylic, but she is acquainted with various media, from oil to watercolor and chooses which to use according to what she's painting.

"I spend a large amount of time thinking about what to paint, the composition and values," she said. "I sort of get lost in it."

Animals are a favorite subject, but not her only subject.

"Nature. Flowers, wild life, seascapes — anything else I might find pleasing to the eye," she said. "I love to go to zoos and take pictures of the animals. I spend a lot of time there and I always have a camera with me. I have for years and I use the pictures and put them together to come up with a composition."

Fraley has won numerous awards and has sold many paintings which appear in corporate and private collections. She has given a few paintings as gifts, including a portrait of the Cannonsburg Fire Department's Dalmatian, C.J., which still hangs in the firehouse. She only takes commissions occasionally.

"I don't like to do that," she said. "I pretty much paint for myself. If I want a purple tree, I put a purple tree in my painting. There's too much pressure on yourself when you do commissions. I don't really enjoy it. I just like to paint and if someone enjoys it, then that's what I hope happens."

(606) 326-2661 — lward@dailyindependent.com