Good Morning – my name is Lana Thorpe. Each of my older brothers were supposed to be
“Lana” – but my mom didn’t give up until she had her “little girl”. To her dismay, I was much
more of a little Tom-boy than a little princess. An adventure seeker at heart – blonde hair and
Call to Adventure
I was fortunate to have excellent art teachers growing up and I knew by 7 th grade I wanted to be
an architect. All my interests and talents seems to converge in the world of architecture – from
history, sociology, phenomenology, problem solving, aesthetics, sculpture, travel, exploration,
and expression; it all fascinated me.
I grew up sketching with graphite and creating all sorts of toys / art / and “inventions” out of what
I’d find in the garage, basement, or backyard. I’d get lost in the creative process for hours.
My first exposure to the incredible versatility of water color was in architecture school when I
walked through a gallery showing a collection of my professor’s work. Fast forward a couple
years where I took my first water color class in preparation for studying abroad in Italy.
Subsequently, I also took a wine tasting class – yes for credit!
It was there, in Orvieto, Italy – a land flowing with divine wine, that I would sketch and paint
wherever we went. After trying a new restaurant or wine, I would make wine stain records in my
sketchbook too. Everyone probably knows how difficult it is to get wine stains out of clothes, but
they probably don’t realize how fascinating wine was as a pigment – how different it looks on the
page when it’s dry from when it is first painted. Every varietal (grape) is different too. It’s quite
mysterious and beautiful.
A while back, I had a friend ask me to fill in for him at a live art charity event that was raising
money for Women in Design KC. This was my first opportunity to put myself “out there” – sink or
swim – and have my art be in front of all to see. To my relief, I had person after person stop by
my booth, look a minute, and then brighten up when they realized what I was painting WITH.
That evening I painted the Kansas City skyline with the wine they were serving at the event and
I painted a local café with the espresso I picked up along the way.
(I was pregnant at the time with my son, so I wasn’t drinking the wine they were serving
Some people were interested in the nostalgia of the place I painted. Still others were struck by
the novelty of what I was doing – that one or two of their kitchen “staples” could be a work of art
beyond their taste buds.
With these positive responses and support from my family, I had the courage to take my hobby
beyond my home studio and out to the community.
I am still a full-time architect by day, have two step-sons, and a 5 months old son. Time is my
most valuable resource.
My dream pieces would showcase specific coffee houses and wineries by painting with their
coffee or wine.
I paint with these very normal, locally and regionally sourced beverages to create unique pieces and memories.