Loli StamsLoli Stams was an artist who will be remembered by Painters at the Lake and the Fluvanna Art Association (FAA) as a talented, enthusiastic artist who had a strong presence wherever she showed up.

Those who knew her were shocked to hear of her sudden passing on Aug. 22. “I just can’t believe it,” said FAA President Susan Lang.

A longtime member of both groups, Stams encouraged her fellow artists, teaching and sharing with them new ways of using their imaginations.

She asked no less of herself than she did of others, always challenging herself with new ideas and emboldening others to fly a little higher. Stams never believed in setting limits for herself or anyone else. She set higher expectations for herself and others because she believed artists who practiced their art could do better and that it would eventually show in their work.

Her decorative work was meticulous and detailed. But the work she exhibited with the FAA and other galleries featured bold compositions with vibrant, dynamic colors and sweeping brush strokes – reflective of the artist herself. She was unafraid in her approach and saw into her subjects with a clarity and an insight unique to her. A little offbeat and always colorful with a hint of a Henri Matisse influence, her work was noticeable from the doorway of any room. This is the way most artists would like their work to be remembered.

She and her husband Paul, also a member of FAA, would always discuss art; it was a passion they both shared. Stams not only looked at artists she admired, she understood their work. Her interest in other artists’ work, from masters to professionals to local artists, was not an idle emotion but was rather spiritual and inspirational.

The strength, energy and force in her work showed she never settled for the mundane. Stams was anything but mundane. And though her paintings were audacious and colorful, there was a tranquility underlying her work, particularly in her still lifes and landscapes.

Though Stams’ growth as an artist came from experimentation and exploration, she followed the rules and learned the basics – an approach some newbie artists try to ignore. She accepted freeing imagination but never at the expense of learning the fundamentals of art, particularly drawing. She enjoyed learning the values of lights and darks, relationship of shapes, good composition and understanding color theory. She never skimped on her learning, but took numerous workshops and classes. Her training as a decorative artist taught her patience and her training as a fine artist taught her to liberate her creative mind.

Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.” Stams had the courage to create.