The Process Of Creating
Laura Westlake, a painter and naturalist fuels her creative energies through her love of birds and wildlife. A native Long Islander, she is essentially a self-taught artist who has been drawing and painting from the early age of five. Laura studied at Santa Barbara City College in California, and The School Of Visual Arts in New York developing a successful career in commercial illustration which lasted for 15 years. Her profession included work for television, magazine and print ads, portraiture and book illustration.
The experience of working in commercial art left her disenchanted and departed that world to persue the fine arts in the late 1980's. She started from scratch using her basic instincts and the elements of nature for her new and current work.
With colored pencils, she recreates the rich colors and moods of still lifes and landscapes through a slow layering process with as many as 15 layers of colors applied. Some of the works take as long as 100 hours to complete. She uses the color pencil on heavy, 100% rag paper, with a palette that contains 120 colors. Unlike paint, colored pencils can't be mixed on a palette and must be blended directly on the paper's surface. With this precise dry medium, it's possible to build small areas at a time without worrying about smudging. Working slowly is essential, and mistakes must be avoided, since the pencil cannot be completely erased. Using a camera the subjects are staged and pieced together with many photographs as the primary source of reference. Each piece is an original work of art.
After 35 years of working in color pencils she has changed her medium to oils. The works are similar in detail and precision but the oils give her a larger pallette to work from with more brilliant color.
Laura has received numerous awards and has exhibited extensively in galleries throughout the United States. Her new works can be seen in her representing galleries.
Passionate about wildlife, particularly birds, she looks to incorporate them into her artwork at every opportunity. "I feel it's a personal connection I add to the piece and brings life to the art. Every painting tells a story and they all begin with a bird." Adding to her artwork she holds Federal and New York State licenses for wildlife rehabilitation.
Laura Westlake lives in Orient, N.Y. with her artist husband, Dominick Di Lorenzo.