I am so pleased to introduce you to Lauren Adams. Lauren paints the most intriguing and beautiful landscape paintings. They’re so abstract and minimalistic, focused on color and form. I love the suggestion of the terrain. These paintings are based on Lauren’s home state of West Virginia, but these paintings move beyond a particular place into an emotion. They are full of warmth and exploration.
Enjoy looking over Lauren’s work and soak up every word of her interview! It’s full of helpful advice!
When and how did you first begin your career as an artist?
I began looking at art seriously as a freshman in college. At that time I had declared an art education major, but as I progressed in my studies, realized that I would not be satisfied until I went after what I really wanted – to be a professional painter. I ended up with a BA Interdisciplinary Degree in Studio Art with a second concentration in French. Next, I went on to earn a BFA in Visual Art, in preparation for graduate school. After taking a hard look at my financial situation (not good!), I decided to forgo an MFA and head straight into creating and exhibiting work.
Can you walk us through your artistic process?
My process is fluid. I don’t do any thumbnails for canvases. The closest thing I have to that are my works on paper, which I am constantly making. These are great for loosening up and exploring, but I never set out to recreate them on a larger-scale canvas. I like to set parameters for myself and work within those boundaries. I will start with a general idea and work from there, see where the process takes me. It has to be open-ended. I’m very attached to my materials (oil and acrylic paint). I paint on the floor, on stretched and primed canvases with thinned down acrylic paint, sometimes oils. The nature of these materials will remind me that I am creating a painting, first and foremost, and to let it be what it needs to be. It’s always about striking a balance between the control of my idea and the embracement of chance.
I love how minimalistic and poetic your work is. How do you decide what to focus on and what to leave out of the landscape scene?
Thank you, I appreciate that. My work originates from about 5-6 years of painting landscapes on location in various areas of West Virginia. It has since shifted into a studio-based practice that has emphasized abstraction of that landscape with a minimal aesthetic. The paring down of my work has been an exhilarating challenge; it’s tough. For good or bad, I will spend a lot of time debating the inclusion/exclusion of a single color or stain or mark, especially when it comes to my canvases. My poor husband (who thankfully is also a painter – derekoverfield.com – have a look, he’s amazing) has sat with me on many occasions, viewing a work in our studio, considering things like this. There truly does seem to be a delicate moment where stepping just an inch further in the painting can make the difference between creating a fresh-looking piece or an overworked canvas that I will scrap. And I do toss out a lot. It’s important for me to keep that in the back of my mind too, not to get too wrapped up in the “preciousness” of the work.
Do you have any tips for aspiring artists on creating a sustainable life as an artist?
Most times I try to stay away from giving advice, because every artist will have a unique path to success. But, since you asked – the first thing is to understand that only you get to define success for yourself. No one else can do this. You get to set how big or small a goal for your art/career. If your aspiration is to be a full time artist though, and you aren’t independently wealthy, I would say first to understand how difficult it is. I like to make sure that others know that I do currently maintain a part time job (I work 3 days a week at an office) outside of my studio practice. I have worked either full or part time at various points over the years to support myself. For me, having part time work has been a real benefit, because it takes away the stress of making work that is “marketable”. Nothing else dictates what my work should be, or where it should go. If sales are slow one month, no worries!
Also, I would mention the fact that as a professional artist, you are signing up to be a business owner. I certainly wish I had been more prepared starting out to deal with this side of things. Administrative work, dealing with taxes, marketing, shipping art, providing customer service, documenting your work, etc.- all very different from creating art! My husband and I rely on each other to get through it all; we’re a team. Having a support system in place is a huge asset. In the end, art has to be your passion and you have to be in it for the long haul. If this is you, then all of the hard work is completely worth it, when you are creating the life you want to live.
Thank you SO much Lauren! Your insight and honest advice is so valuable. Check out Lauren Adam’s website for more info, to see more stunning landscapes, and to buy her work. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a beautiful week and weekend! I’ll see you back here next week. I have a crazy full weekend of making and creating in front of me!