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!


Filed under: Fine Art Tagged: Art, art gallery, art theory, artist, fine art, guest blog, Joseph Lorusso, nostalgia, Painting, storytelling

Artists Engaging Nepal Gala

To continue support and raise awareness of the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, Soarway Foundation is holding an art gala and fundraiser at Principle Gallery on Saturday, October 29th from 4:00-7:00PM. The Foundation has partnered with artists from Nepal and Uganda who have created artworks reflective of the nation’s culture and natural beauty.


Their intention for “Artists Engaging Nepal” is to preserve the beautiful features of the country and make its beauty accessible to all once more. Soarway Foundation hopes that this artistic venture will give the Nepali artists and others affected by the earthquakes a feeling of resilience, as opposed to fear and vulnerability, to help overcome future disasters. “Artists Engaging Nepal” is thus an all-encompassing opportunity for people to make a difference, whether it is spreading awareness of the Nepali earthquake incidences, allowing affected artists to create once again, or appreciating the strength and perserverance of a country in need through its amazing art.

The proceeds of this event will benefit the Soarway Foundation and the Nepali communities. It is with your help that the Foundation will be able to protect those who are vulnerable, foster lives of productivity and dignity, as well as rebuild and prepare the Nepali community for the future. Below is an informational video regarding the mission of the Soarway Foundation:


To learn more about the Soarway Foundation and how you can help, click this link! Make sure to also visit us on Saturday, October 29th from 4:00-7:00PM for this wonderful event!

Filed under: Fine Art

Gavin Glakas Solo Exhibit & Demo Recap

This past Friday, we held our first solo exhibition for Gavin Glakas as well as  a live painting demonstration the next day! With at least one hundred guests at the reception, a great turnout would be an understatement. Familiar faces, like Senator Henry Reid and former CIA Director, George Tenet, were among those in attendance helping celebrate Gavin’s exhibition opening.



Principle Gallery artists, Jeff Erickson (left) and Gavin Glakas (right)

Gavin Glakas filled the gallery walls with realistic scenes from Washington, DC to New York City. He also displayed a few of his studies for some of the larger works like “The Champion Pub in Soho” and “Lights in an Alley off 5th Street.”

For the live painting demonstration on Saturday, Gavin painted a barn scene from his travels to Tuscany. He informed the audience of his particular paint color preferences, the process through which he achieves such realistic paintings, and the scenes that inspire him most.





To view all the works available by Gavin, including the paintings from his show, click this link! We also wanted to thank all of you who came to support Gavin at his opening and hope to see you again in the gallery!

Make sure to keep updated with our upcoming events and exhibitions, like our juried show “Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home” on November 11th, by following our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Filed under: Fine Art

Where Do Our “Root to Bloom” Artists Call Home?

Last Friday, the Principle Gallery staff and guest juror, Teresa Oaxaca, decided on the final list of accepted works for our upcoming exhibition, “Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home!” After having reviewed nearly 1,000 artworks submitted to the call, the selected artists were notified of their acceptance. We would like to add that we were beyond impressed by the amazing works submitted to the call and are extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to view such great talent!

Of those submitted, we selected 93 pieces by 73 different artists who live all around the world! Pictured below is a map of where the Root to Bloom artists call home:


Make sure to mark your calendar to see our “Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home” exhibition on Friday, November 11th from 6:30-9PM!  And thank you again to all the artists who applied to the call! We sincerely appreciate the time and effort you all committed to produce such beautiful pieces!

Filed under: Fine Art

How to Frame Art: An Angled Approach

Apart from displaying contemporary art from around the world, Principle Gallery also offers custom framing services. We house a great number of mat and framing samples for your convenience as well as provide professional advice on how to best frame your artwork. To give you some inspiration before your visit, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when framing artwork:


Though this is a blog all about how to frame, sometimes it’s not necessary to frame at all. There are some instances where it is best not to frame, for the piece is best represented on its own.

  • GALLERY WRAP: When a painting is referred to as being “gallery-wrapped,” it means the canvas is secured to the back of the stretcher bars, concealing staples and other hardware from view. Most contemporary artists implement this mount to fully encompass the canvas with the artwork, often times having the painting continue onto the sides of the piece.
    • SUGGESTION: For gallery-wrapped paintings, we suggest not to frame them and to let the piece hang on its own.
    • EXAMPLE: Works by Lynn Boggess and Geoffrey JohnsonDSC_0855
  • ON BOARD OR PANEL: As in most cases, paintings on thin boards and panels are framed. However, some pieces have finished or painted sides, are box mounted, or are on thicker boards, ultimatley giving them a simple, contemporary look.
    • SUGGESTION: In this case, we recommend not putting a frame on the piece in order to highlight the work’s natural finishings.
    • EXAMPLE: Works by Laura Pritchett and Lisa Noonis



The trickiest part of the framing process is choosing a frame. Although there are no rules for picking a frame, you should still remember that the artwork has the last say. The frame should not outshine the artwork, but enhance it!

Here is an example of how the appearance of an artwork is changed by selecting the right or wrong frame:

Glakas Collage

As you can see, the style of the piece and frame can affect how the art is portrayed. For this example of Gavin Glakas‘ 6th Avenue, 21st Century, the ornate gold frame does not quite fit the art’s subject matter or style; whereas, the other two frames follow the contemporary, modern concept represented in the art. The middle frame is an “okay” choice because it is modern in appearance, but the frame distracts from the actual artwork due to the mismatching color.


In this case, we would suggest picking the black or silver floater frame due to the chic, contemporary quality it brings to the piece. The frame’s simple, professional look allows for the artwork’s versatility in any interior all the while drawing more attention to the art as opposed to the frame.

Generally, contemporary works look best in a floater frame and classical pieces look better in traditional, ornate frames. But again, it depends on your style and the frame in mind! Mix-matching frames with artwork is always a fun, creative way to add a little more flare to the artwork and your interior!



Glass is the last feature to think about when framing your work, more specifically anything on paper. Typically, glass is used to protect paper media and works that are extremely fragile when in the presence of dust or light. Though this is an added feature, we do suggest considering glass with your frame in order to extend the longevity of your art and enhance its display.


There is a variety of glass to choose from that can help with aspects from conservation to reflection control. Museum Glass, for example, will adequately prevent glare as well as protect the work from UV light. The choice of glass depends on the type of frame and your style preferences as well!



Principle Gallery offers professional advice and framing services at the Alexandria location. We house a wide variety of framing samples and mats that are both affordable and current with artistic trends. Come stop by that gallery anytime with whatever you want framed, and we will be glad to help!



Feel free to stop in the gallery or contact us to make an appointment by clicking this link! And make sure to mark your calendar for the opening of Gavin Glakas‘ Solo Exhibition on Friday, October 14th and his live demonstration the next day!



Filed under: Fine Art Tagged: decor, diy, fine art, framing, home decor, interior design, PGHowTo