July 12, 2021 | National Association of Women Artists, Inc.
Welcome to our feature “Face to Face,” via the NAWA (Official) Members Group, which features a new interview with a NAWA artist every Monday. Check it out for fascinating insight on their practice, their artistic vision, their personal history, and much more!
This week we are pleased to introduce Laura Waller Art as our featured artist.
NAWA: Laura, please tell us where you live.
Laura: We live half the year in Tampa, Florida and half the year in Rockland, Maine. I maintain a studio in both cities. My studio dog Teddi, a miniature Australian labradoodle, rules as I paint with classical music in my earbuds. My seagull Zelda waits on my roof in Maine for her breakfast to be served on the porch.
NAWA: What type of art do you create?
Laura: My work is representational in nature. Some have described it as documentary art, I am currently working on two series — “The Working Waterfront” and “America’s Guernica?” about January 6, 2021. I paint with water-mixable oils made by Winsor and Newton Artisan, Holbein Duo and Talens Cobra.
NAWA: Tell us a little about your process.
Laura: I work from photographs I have taken on site. For the Port series that can mean accompanying a harbor pilot (female) while she takes a 500-foot ship from the docks out to sea or sitting behind the tugboat captain in the wheelhouse while he pushes a container ship to its berth in the port. I then paint from the photographs in my studio.
NAWA: That is so awesome! Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your other career?
Laura: After earlier careers as a clinical social worker and then as the owner of a financial planning firm, I became a full-time oil painter in 2012. Prior to that, I painted watercolors during workshops I attended as necessary respites from the stresses of the stock market.
NAWA: Does your art have an overarching theme or a message?
Laura: I want people to see, really see the world around them. I have focused on the working port as most of us were unaware of the importance of this industry to our lifestyles until the Pandemic made apparent the vital role of shipping to the world’s supply chain. Shipping goods reached emergency status with delayed orders, shelves emptied of essential household goods, and a decreased work force all combined to nearly bring international commerce to its knees.
NAWA: Your images are truly captivating and draw the viewer in to take in your subject. How do you decide what to make the focal point?
Laura: I believe a painting should be made up of many abstract paintings. If you make a viewfinder with your hands and move around one of my works, multiple abstractions appear. This is why I usually don’t follow the rule of having a center of interest. I want there to be interest in all of the painting so you will choose to stay awhile and never tire of returning.
NAWA: I really like that! Is there someone who has made a significant impact on your art? A mentor, fellow artist, etc…
Laura: Charles Reid taught me to paint what I see, not what I think I see.
Tina Ingraham taught me the joy of oil painting. The Ashcan Artists encourage me to paint the everyday world. Hilma af Klint and Carmen Herrera help me understand that good can come to those who wait.
NAWA: That last one is something we can all learn from. Do you have any upcoming shows?
Laura: I have two upcoming shows in Maine — a solo exhibition of the Working Port Series at Elizabeth Moss Galleries and a group show called Circle of Friends at Salt Pond Studios.
NAWA: Kudos on your group show, and special congratulations on your solo show! Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your inspiration and thoughts behind your art. Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share with us?
Laura: Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“You are an artist when you say you are. And you are a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”
– Amanda Palmer
“What any true painting touches is an absence — an absence of which without the painting we might be unaware. And that would be our loss.”
– John Berger
“The creative adult is the child who has survived.”
– Ursula LeGuin
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
– Babe Ruth
Laura Waller’s art is in the collections of the Tampa Bay History Museum, the Strand Theater, American Victory Museum, Raymond James Financial, Eli Lily Company, and Rockland Public Library.
You can also see more of Laura’s art at the following links: