A&E » Arts

Laura Harris dreams big in the abstract world

New work includes popular abstract landscapes and florals, as well as a 'whimsical' throwback



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"I loved doing that: I loved pitching ideas, I loved my clients and I had a great little business going. I was still painting, though - painting for myself, mostly - and then they started to sell, and then I had my first show, and it sold out!"

This accidental artist had no idea that her work would be so positively received by the artistic community.

"I never thought that I would be an artist. That wasn't my plan, ever, it was just something that I really enjoyed."

Now, after ten years of working as a professional artist, Harris still has no problem finding sources of inspiration for her work.

"I am lucky - and I'm knocking on wood while I talk to you - there has only been a few times in my life that I haven't been able to paint. I've been accused of being a little emotional, which I think is a gift, and I just draw on the emotions of whatever it is that I'm going through at the time, and there have only been a few times, and they've both been really difficult times, that I haven't been able to paint."

"Inspiration can come from anything: from my girlfriend's sweater to flipping through a magazine. Something really simple like that to, mostly and most consistently, it's from the ocean and from the outdoors," she said adding that she lives near the water and spends time exploring outdoors every day.

"Nothing gets me like sitting on the beach and looking out at that water and the sky and the bigness of it all, and that feeling of connection that we get, and the moment that you stop - actually just stop - and you breathe."

Harris doesn't exactly fit within the stereotypical "artist" mold: she isn't introverted or quiet, moody and withdrawn. Nope, she's energetic and upbeat, our conversation peppered with laughter and sly remarks. The common thread that seems to run through all of her paintings is this feeling of urgency, physicality, almost.

"My approach is much more aerobic: loud music, I paint aggressively - it's very physical for me!"

In the studio, she listens to everything from Led Zeppelin to Kanye West and Bob Dylan to help get her in the mood to create.

And for Harris, everything starts with her richly textured surfaces; underpainting simply doesn't do the trick!

"Some people just think its kind of the same process per canvas, but its really not. I've already kind of thought out the painting and know what sort of feeling I want to have when I start the texture, and sometimes I add colour in with the texture, sometimes I don't. But the process is layers and layers and layers of paint - probably I don't know, at the end of the painting, I've probably hit the canvas 20 different times!"

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