Spotlight on Artist Laura Wood

I am sad to admit that it has been far too long since I last posted a Spotlight Interview. Sadly, due to unfortunate events that have took place in the past months I have been a little checked out. With the world news we're all waking up to daily, I doubt I'm the only one feeling this way. Fortunately, at just the right moment, I saw a painting created by Laura Wood. At first I thought I was looking at a photograph that was out of focus but the caption read, "'Wind of my Soul'oil on canvas". I was a bit confused so I continued to scroll through her feed and realized I was in denial about how talented Laura Wood is. I went back the first painting I saw and stared at it admiringly. The more I looked the happier it made me, there was something about that glimmer of light that gave me hope(there was also a small feeling of nostalgia). I snapped out of my zombie mode and realized I had to get back to my normal work flow. I immediately reached out and was over the moon when I received a response. This mother and busy artist made time to answer some questions for us and I will be forever grateful. Thanks to the work of Laura Wood, I was reminded of the incredible impact art can have on us emotionally. Continue reading to learn more about this extremely talented Ontario native.

What sparked your interest in art?

It has always been the way I see life, the way I work. Painting really is the one thing I have always been good at. When I chose to go to University for Fine Arts, it wasn’t because I wanted a career as an artist. It was because that's all I knew, the one thing I saw clearly. I remember trying oils for the first time in high school, and falling in love. The texture, the blending, the colours. I couldn’t possibly choose another.

Do you remember the point in life when you realized you wanted to make a living as an artist?

That came more gradually.  It really is so easy to call yourself an artist, and so many people do. There are after all, many different kinds of art, and so it often serves as a catch all term. But I take this title very seriously.  When I went to university, I didn’t expect that I would pursue life as an artist afterwards. I really just wanted to work in the arts, in some way. After working in the art industry for many years, surrounded by some seriously talented people, my desire to focus on my own painting grew. It took me some time, but once you realize what you do best and what defines you, well, that’s really what you need to be doing with your life.

Who or what inspires you?

My constant inspiration is light.  It’s so simple, but it truly is the constant thread throughout my work over the years. Light and the affects it creates.

What is your artistic process?

My artistic process is so integral to my work. For me, painting is a kind of meditation. I work mostly at night and I find that the quiet time with my thoughts, my paint and the repetitive blending and brush strokes is incredibly therapeutic. 

Typically, I will begin my paintings with a solid saturated colour and work back from there. There is a constant push and pull with each layer, as the right balance is gradually created. In the end, that saturated colour is still there. There are traces of it in different lights, and I find a lot of depth and complexity is created by the many layers of glazes, built up over time.

Is there a theme to your work?

Always light. I am constantly trying to find it, capture it, live it.

Has your style evolved over time? 

Yes. Over the years I have developed a way of layering paint. Seeing which colours should be in the background and which should be on the surface. I have also learned to use glazing techniques as a means of capturing this light, as well as distorting it.

What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

Probably myself. My inner critic. Being an artist is very solitary and it is so easy to let those dark thoughts take over. Self doubt is a real and constant challenge that must be repeatedly over come.

What is your favorite aspect of running your business?

I love a challenge. I love figuring out the many different aspects of running a business. Doing it for myself. My own vision. My own goals. From building a website, to answering emails, invoicing, shipping, crating, etc. It really isn’t dull. There is always a new problem to solve and I love the challenge!

How do you stay motivated when you experience a creative rut?

After having children, I experienced a very deep and prolonged creative rut. And, to put it simply, the only cure is to just keep doing. Keep creating. Even if you feel nothing. Keep producing and eventually it will become real again. The cloud will lift and you will see clearly once more.

What has been your favorite project or creation so far?

Working on a large scale for me is always exciting. I’d say the most memorable experience I've had, was working on an 18' chandelier painting, for a project here in Toronto. There were so many different challenges involved in this project. I had a very small studio at the time and was only able to work on half of the painting at one time. It was divided into panels. My entire studio was filled with scaffolding and I spent months up there, creating a chandelier that I had never actually seen as a whole. Oh and did I mention that I was nine months pregnant at the time? My daughter was born and I completed the chandelier a month later as she looked on. In those moments, dealing with all those challenges, it really did feel like an impossible task. But looking back now, it couldn’t really have been more perfect - the creation of my first child and this incredible painting - both took a long time to make and weren't revealed to me until the very end. It’s quite poetic in a way, and such a fond memory.

What is your ultimate goal with your art work?

I’m not really one for long term planning. I like to focus on right now – what is in front of me - and do that well. If I could paint every day I would be very happy. 

Any last words?

Just do.  Keep making, never stop, and find a way to integrate that into your daily routine.  Think creatively in some way each day.  Don’t always expect to feel inspired or for everything to come naturally, because it won't. Just keep making!