story and photo by Vickie Jenkins
Meet Carol Lorance, retired nurse of 46 years and presently an artist and owner of Dragonfly Silks. What a fascinating person! Working in the medical field for so long, she retired and traded in her passion for nursing into passion for art.
Lorance was born in Joplin, Missouri. Her first job was at a hospital, working as a CNA. At that time, she was doing pretty much the same things nurses were doing; taking care of the patients, medication and vital signs. Enjoying being a CNA, she decided to further her career and become a nurse. After she became an RN she worked for several hospitals, Home Health, as a private duty nurse and was also a traveling nurse. She enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas, Florida and Hawaii. When she returned to Oklahoma, she worked at several hospitals, including Guthrie, Deaconess and Mercy. She was fond of being in the medical field but now, it was time for her to retire.
“What was your favorite thing about being a nurse?” I ask. “I enjoyed the closeness that I developed to the patients. My favorite moment was when the patient got better and got to go home.” “What is your favorite thing about being an artist?” “It’s the love I feel, like an inner glow. I am my own person and I don’t have to be anywhere else. It’s fun and it keeps me busy.”
‘What is the most important lesson you learned when you were a nurse?” “I learned to be patient with the patients,” she laughed. “Be a reliable worker and show up on time,” she added.
Before retiring, Lorance knew that she wanted to stay busy and do something else in her life. She had always been fond of photography and painting. It was one night when she came home from a late shift at the hospital. Flipping through the channels on TV, she came upon a demonstration of silk painting on an art show. She was instantly captivated by it, wondering if she could do silk painting. She ordered supplies, bought an instruction DVD and joined the silk painting guild in the UK via the internet. “My first two pieces weren’t great but they weren’t too bad either,” she comments.
Lorance has a degree in Graphic Design from Oklahoma City, OK and has shown her paintings at 50 Penn Place, Art Gallery in Oklahoma City, the Frontier Museum and G Gallery and Glass in Guthrie, OK. She is currently at the Red Dirt Gallery when she is not participating in arts festivals and other shows. Asking Lorance where she gets her inspiration for her art work, she replies, “I get different ideas from the environment and try to do things a little different than most people. If you have noticed, most artists paint flowers and garden scenes. Not that those paintings aren’t pretty but I just try to paint things a little different. I look at lots of images on the computer and study them.”
“How would you describe yourself in 3 words?” I ask. “I am a hard worker, very reliable and an artist.” “What is the most important lesson you have learned as an artist?” “Don’t take life too seriously, have fun and loosen up. Paint in abstract and be happy.”
Lorance’s hobbies include traveling, computers, photography and of course, art. “I was in sixth grade when I became interested in photography. I even had a dark room,” she said. When asked if Lorance’s daughter went into the medical field or into art work, she gave me a no. “My granddaughter is getting a degree in business and art,” she replied. “Just about every time my granddaughter came to my house when she was little, I always made sure we would make a craft or paint or do a cute little project. I think she got her artistic abilities from me,” she grinned.
Asking if Lorance stayed in contact with any of the nurses she worked with over the years, she told me there are quite a few that get together once a month for dinner and catch up on the many memories that they share.
Carol Lorance is a wonderful artist and it is apparent that she puts her feelings and passion into her unique work. Her beautiful paintings, gorgeous silk scarves, colorful pillows, decorative coasters and cutting boards can be found at Dragonfly Silks at Red Dirt Gallery, 13100 Colony Pointe Blvd. Piedmont, OK.