The Process Of Creating
Laura Westlake, a painter and naturalist, fuels her creative energies through her love of birds and nature. 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 13 years. Her profession included work for television, magazine and print ads, portraiture and book illustration. Disenchanted with that world she turned her focus to the fine arts mastering both color pencils and oil paints and has been exhibiting extensively in galleries for the past 30 years.
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. Each piece is an original work of art.
After many 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. "Returning to oil paints was a rebirth for me artistically since it was the first color medium I worked in when I was a young teen. I now realise how much I didn't know so with every painting I am still learning. It is a never ending journey."
Passionate about wildlife, particularly birds, she looks to incorporate them into her artwork at every opportunity. She holds both New York State and Federal licenses for the rehabilitation of migratory birds and houses them in multiple aviaries on her rural property. "It's invigorating no matter what the season and working outdoors with the birds is a direct reflection in my art. Every painting tells a story and they all begin with a bird."
In addition to her painting, Laura teaches color pencil workshops. She lives in Orient, New York, with her artist husband, Dominick Di Lorenzo.