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Laura is an artist born in Scotland but based in Verbier, Switzerland.

Her artworks are mainly landscape, based on the scenery around where she lives and works as an alpine ski teacher.

Laura paints year-round, and when she is not skiing Laura is hiking the summer trails, constantly inspired by the views.

“ I paint from my own experiences and see each painting like a personal account of how I saw the scene and what it represents to me. I use oil on canvas and apply paint using a palette knife as well as a brush. My drive to paint is usually inspired by the light and the weather at the time, though the last artwork attached is a reversible piece representing a changeable scene over not just one moment but over a stretched period, around a week. The viewer or owner gets to choose which way up the painting will hang. “

Hi Laura! What inspired you to pursue art? What was your introduction to the art world?

Laura: Probably being discouraged to pursue it…I had always wanted to prove people wrong and having strength in art at school meant that I should be very accomplished at my “hobby” one day! NAAAH. When I look at how it’s all come about, it’s kind of been a series of rebellions…

Creativity has always been present in my life. Ever since I was a kid I loved to draw and paint. I was always a very observant child and noticed a lot of things most people didn’t. I suppose that’s what gave me an edge and I think the urge to create is just innate in some people. I feel very privileged because my creativity was nurtured and encouraged, -but apparently, I’d not be able to make a career out of it..

Here we are, 15 years after I quit my Art College degree, (that I had to fight to be allowed to apply for, then fight to quit,) now living and working in Switzerland for 10 years as a ski instructor in winter, (another career that I was told I couldn’t survive on long-term,) and painting in summer. I now rent my studio away from home. I do a lot of juggling of other jobs to fund it, but I would be bored and uninspired only doing the one thing. The skiing fuels the creativity, and the creativity fuels me to get outside too. They said I shouldn’t do either, but I’m going to do both!

I see that your main passion is landscape, and you are an alpine ski teacher, and you spend quite a bit of time visiting the locations you paint. How did these two come together?

Laura: The two go hand in hand really. It would be difficult to do my job and not have an appreciation for my surroundings. I think the mystery of what the ski area looks like without all the snow in the winter is what intrigues me to hike there in the summer too. I often find myself encouraging my ski clients to come on a summer alpine holiday too so they can appreciate how beautiful the place is year-round. Ski clients can often take that for granted and the snow covers up a lot of reality too. Every time it snows in the winter, it’s like a fresh start, and I wish more of my clients would care about the environment we are using and cherish it more.

What’s the most challenging part of oil paintings, and overall, of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?

Laura: For me, the most challenging part of using oil is probably the drying times. I am very impatient and lately, the amount of paint I’ve been slapping on has got thicker and thicker. I love it though and wouldn’t switch back to acrylics easily. The color pigments one can mix on the palette with acrylics can be more vivid, but in my opinion, that’s mainly because it dries too quickly to “muddy” them on the canvas. The quick-drying of acrylics, for me, present other challenges. I like to go back to my work and fiddle with it. That can also be an annoying factor with oils though, -when I know I should stop but I want to keep painting and the colors start to dull. At least with oil paint, it’s possible to scrape it off and start again…

You grew up in Scotland and now live and work in Switzerland. How do you think moving to Switzerland has influenced your artwork?

Laura: Without a doubt, the change of scenery inspired me. Even though I grew up in a beautiful part of Scotland, I think my immediate surroundings had been taken for granted when I was searching for my calling. I went to Art School in Aberdeen for a brief while but had no inspiration. That was nobody’s nor Aberdeen’s fault! I had no idea where to look for it and just needed to get out of there! I think many people can relate to that, wherever they’re from. I think nostalgia and a new appreciation for landscape would get my inspiration back off the ground again if I ever had to move back there.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired your art.

Laura: I hike and ski depending on the season, so I’m always face to face with my inspiration, but there have been so many days I see the same mountains in different weather conditions. I am always seeing something new. It’s constant really. My most favorite moments are usually when the sun is setting and I’m up really high somewhere.

What are you currently working on?

Laura: I’ve got a few things going on. I am recapturing some of my favorite landscape scenes from my holidays over the years in huge format. My holiday destinations are usually chosen based on their spectacular landscapes too. I’ve been to Iceland, Canada’s West Coast, Italy, and elsewhere is Switzerland most recently of course.

I am also about to start working on a commission of a coastal scene from a client’s hometown. It’s nice because I know the place well too, so it feels good to be painting something familiar to me.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

Laura: I hope I inspire others to cherish our landscapes. Enjoy their colors, dramatic shapes and connect with them. I strive to celebrate our natural world in the hopes that indirectly I’d be encouraging people to want to preserve our environment too.

Do you believe talent is something certain people have a natural leaning to or is it something that has to be cultivated over many years?

Laura: Talent is always something that can be cultivated but I do believe there needs to be something there to work within the first place. I’ve learned so much over the past few years and one thing is certain, the cliché is true, -if you don’t use it you lose it. Drawing takes practice and looking properly takes practice.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Laura: Because of where I live, the subject matter is fairly predictable and “done” before by so many others. I really enjoy the surprising reactions I get when people see something different to, and (probably) better than they expected.

Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?

Laura: Restaurants are opening soon in Switzerland so people will finally be able to see my new and recent work again. There’s a restaurant in Verbier called “Petit Combin” who have been amazing in letting me keep a rolling exhibition there for a few years now. I have updated their walls a few times, but I hope I can also get a few bits and pieces further out there soon. I still have about 10 pieces between a couple of London galleries, so hopefully, they’ll be open to the public again soon too. Covid hasn’t exactly helped!

What’s next on the horizon?

Laura: I’ve done a lot of work looking at the bigger pictures in my lines of vision over the years. Zoomed-out panoramas and dramatic skylines have been my thing for a while now and I have started to take more of an interest in the closer stuff too recently. I do a lot of hiking and trail running so I’m often in the forest looking at the trees, flowers, bushes…The natural world is so wonderful, I’m zooming in and painting the smaller stuff next.

To learn more about Laura and her art, please check:

Website

Instagram

Thank you!

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