Dr. Loraine Stern has every reason to be proud of her medical career, which includes work as a Woman’s Day columnist for over 20 years, regular contributions to Proctor and Gamble’s website, and half a dozen books on children’s health, including the popular Off to a Great Start. But one career was not quite enough for Dr. Stern, who also chose to explore her artistic side by portraying the female body in sensual drawings, featuring gold and metallic effects in wonderfully evocative black and white, or colored renderings. She harmonizes artistic instincts and the love of science and excels in each without compromising either, a rare balance in today’s world. The end-result is brilliant, her work is exquisite, and is admired by fellow artists and art enthusiasts equally.
“The initial inspiration came from my visits to the Art Institute of Chicago when I was a child,” she recalls. “I was struck by a female torso that was part of their collection. It was just mesmerizing.”
Whether captured in a radiantly youthful figure sketch or in maturity with shapes of rumpled, infirm fleshiness, by looking at these images we are looking at a reflection of our own nature, a vision of ourselves revealed in the captured image of another. It’s the same vision that has inspired hundreds of well-known works, like many of Rembrandt’s female nudes, Ruben’s ‘Venus at a Mirror’, Manet’s ‘Olympia’, and Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino’ all portraying voluptuous bodies, the Mother of all with its immeasurable grace and sensuality.
What began as an exploration of Loraine’s underlying passion and obvious talent quickly grew into a large portfolio and she began receiving recognition, and a complementary nickname, befitting her lively personality – “Legsley.”
“When I started drawing, my husband asked me what I would like to do with my art. I said that I want to be distinctive so people would recognize that I did it, like Aubrey Beardsley.” He replied, ‘You have nice legs, so we will just call you Legsley.’”
The affectionate moniker stuck, and now “Legsley” is how she signs her work.
“The human figure is the most complex and most intriguing of subjects to me,” she says. “There is beauty in the lumpy, the fat or thin, the sad, the pensive, the energetic or whatever a model is conveying. I often juxtapose silver or gold with the figure because one has an intrinsic value just by virtue of being human and the other has value imposed by society.” That philosophy is another example of Dr. Stern’s unified synthesis of seemingly opposing values.
“I think a good life has to have balance,” she says. “With my art, I enjoy the ability of just getting it out there and seeing the response of people who appreciate it. That makes me happy.”
An extraordinary artist, a recognized doctor, Legsley’s next project will entail a synthesis of words and figures, another form of balance from an artist whose work expresses warmth and natural beauty in a presentation that is devoid of rigidity but rather compassionate and loving. The beauty of the female body presented in a masterpiece form of art is like nothing else in the world.
To view Legsley’s work, please visit www.lorainesternartist.com