When asked what her art style is, Laura told us that others might describe her work as painterly or loose, but for her, the word “expressive” comes to mind.
“I seem to start each new painting imagining what it might look like. When I have an idea that interests me, I begin to think about the best way to express the spirit of this particular painting. Will the painting be large or small? What medium? Do I see the painting as a watercolour or fluid acrylic painting perhaps with ink drawing? Do I image big strong shapes with texture and thicker paint? Will it be gestural? Minimal? or more defined?”
Because of her thought processes, when she starts a painting, the plan changes as new ideas arise for her to consider. Then, as she continues with the piece…
“The painting often tells me what to do next. However, often I am not sure how to continue. Sometimes I am discouraged and want to abandon the whole thing. But I think some of my best paintings have come from putting a “failure” aside and looking at it days or weeks later. Now I can continue with less judgement. The painting might work or it might not. Then again it might become a different painting tomorrow or a year from now!”
When asked what influences her art, it was easy for Laura to identify her top inspiration:
“From my art room I have an unobstructed view of Mt Arrowsmith and a vast sky. And down below I can see our back garden and pond. The many light-changes over this landscape are fascinating. Then I want to take out my watercolours and my favourite big angle brush. I think juicy washes of colour. And I can hardly wait to get started. I could take a photo, and I often do as the light changes so quickly, but my photos are never a good substitute for the real thing. I love painting outdoors in the fresh air where there is always something to inspire. And sometimes these Plein Air paintings inspire studio paintings.”
As well, Laura has a large collection of art books and magazines which she uses as resources for ideas.
“I look through these resources using sticky notes to mark anything that might spark my interest. It might be colour, subject matter, the big shapes, interesting patterns or perspective. I likely spend too much “escape” time dreaming but somehow I become motivated to start a painting of my own. Finally I start the process of drawing and testing colours, etc. in one of my many sketch/workbooks.”
Another aspect of Laura’s work is that of chiaroscuro:
“Light and dark always attract my attention. I see subjects every day that I would like to paint and most often what attracts me is the way light falls on a subject whether it be figures or landscape, gardens or more abstract shapes. I can’t help observing people as they go about their daily lives, people walking their dogs, shopping, families and groups of friends, and of course on the west coast, umbrella days.”
Future artistic goals for Laura include getting back to drawing regularly.
“Once you have put in many hours of practice with a skill, you can take liberties…make it look easy! Like practising scales on a musical instrument, regular drawing practice would help me paint my favourite subjects, city life, people and places, with more ease. And I plan to return to Plein Air painting, something I did a lot of when I first began this journey 40 years ago. I enjoy and admire fresh Plein Air work, loose and free.”
Other goals include finding more opportunities to sell her work, and “fill up the coffers!” The money she earns with her paintings has been put to good use for art adventures, courses and art supplies. She always looks forward to the many opportunities to participate in high quality art shows here on Vancouver Island.
As for her ideal studio space, this is what Laura has to say:
“I want the art studio Susan Hiebert dreamed of in her Artist of the Month talk. Perfect!!. good lighting, a view, cozy, organized storage spaces, many flat surfaces for working, music, and a sink, maybe even a washroom. I would need, too, a sturdy easel. I also want the “butler’s bell to bring me healthy gourmet lunches” as Susan suggests. But in the meantime here are some photos of my studio as it is today. I did not tidy up! so that you can see the real space I feel lucky to have.”
You can view more of Laura’s work at her website: www.laurahilts.com or contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org