Meet the Artist: Laura Moore

Laura Moore
Laura Moore

What mediums do you use for your artwork? – Which is your favourite and why?

Since watercolours found their way into my life a few years ago I have not used any other medium.  Its versatility, fluidity, vitality and mysterious ways are enough to absorb my attention and curiosity.
I find the challenge for a watercolourist is to learn to tame watercolour without extinguishing its energetic, life force qualities.

Which contemporary artists do you admire?

There are many modern day watercolourists who paint with expression, mystery and looseness that I admire.  Far too many for me to mention here.
I do believe that spending too much time focused on just one or two artists leads to the loss of individual creativity and originality.  From a young age I have always had an interest in the art world and I have always been open to all genres of art.  The appreciation of art as a whole broadens the mind and develops thinking and creativity in my view.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

My first local Solo Exhibition last year.  It was quite a daunting prospect putting my artwork out there for the world to view.  Possibly it is confidence that holds a lot of aspiring talented artists back.
My view with all this is to take the risk no matter how scary as “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

If you had one wish (regarding your art), what would it be?

I am really content with the path that watercolour has put me on.  It is not an easy road to go down but I know that putting time, effort and determination into it brings such wonderful rewards.  My one wish would be that my art might inspire others to pick up the watercolour brush to find solace in this wonderful medium like I have. 

How would you characterize your style?

Tricky question as I believe styles evolve.   For me stagnation is probably the worst thing that could happen on an artistic front.  I intend to continue to learn new techniques and to develop my own subject ideas and in doing so, develop my style further.  This will keep my passion and interest alive, the paintings fresh and the skill moving forward.  There will always be an element of impressionism and looseness within my style and too much realism lacks expressiveness and mystery for my taste.

Laura Moore - Thinking of Fish (watercolour)
Laura Moore – Thinking of Fish (watercolour)

Do you have a signature painting?

“Thinking of Fish” is probably the painting that encapsulates me as an artist and me as a person the most.  It symbolizes my great passion for both watercolour and wildlife in an impressionistic, colourful and textural way.  For me inspiration comes from connection or emotional commitment with the subject and this helps me to produce a more individual and expressive painting.

What’s in your calendar for the coming year?

My next event is the Lea Valley Art Society’s Easter Exhibition held over four days at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, UK.  I will be helping in manning the event as well as exhibiting my artwork.  (Six framed paintings and four unmounted.)  More details can be found on my website.  Once this is over I will be working towards another local solo exhibition later in the year.  I will continue to look for suitable venues to exhibit my style of art throughout the year and beyond.

If you had one tip to share with other artists, what would that be?

My tip for artists is to fully develop their understanding of the application and timing process with watercolour.   It is the gentle fluid manner in which the brushstrokes are laid down onto the pristine paper and then left alone for the pigment to work its magic that determines the final effect achieved.  Mastering this skill brings fresher washes and more confident brush markings that create a more interesting, expressive and individual painting. 

Laura Moore - Papaveri (watercolour)
Laura Moore – Papaveri (watercolour)

How can people find you on social media? 



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Making your mark

Paper petals (watercolour detail)

Shirley Trevenna talks about how important it is to develop your own distinctive marks. It’s what distinguishes your work from every other artist. What makes your work unique? What is it about your work that conveys your distinct ideas?

Paper petals (watercolour detail)
Paper petals (watercolour detail)

It takes a while to develop a style. Sometimes it has felt as if this aspect of my work would never emerge. But in time, every artist develops something of a style – even if it’s not a conscious one. If you paint enough, your way of laying pigment on paper will start to become apparent.

I prefer to think about my mark-making style. To make it something I experiment with and develop. Every time something happens on the paper that thrills me, I think about how it happened, and whether I want to incorporate that aspect in my work in future.

One of the methods I’ve found quite useful is to tackle a subject using a number of different palettes, styles and papers. Invariably one will stand out from the others, or something will make me do something different. In this instance, I’ve chosen a glorious photograph of poppies taken in our garden. I’ve used sections of the photo in many different paintings. This time, I worked on Arches smooth and added a few layers of glaze. The final details have been added with the point of a sharpened stick, used to drag the dark background into the poppy petals to emphasise the papery texture of the petals.

I love the freedom and slight randomness of the pigment marks on the paper, combined with the little granulations and the meandering stick marks. They all combine to give this painting an organic feeling – each poppy is a little different, and each has its own character. Will do more of this.

Here’s a photograph of the full painting:

Paper petals (watercolour 29 x 19)
Paper petals (watercolour 29 x 19)

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Red red rose

Velvet (small watercolour)
Red red rose (small watercolour)
Red red rose (small watercolour)

I have lots of new works waiting to be started and a couple in progress. I’ve also only really been able to snatch a few hours in the studio since Christmas so they’re not really coming on very fast. Just as I was about to get stuck in to some of the new work, I realised that a gorgeous bouquet of red roses on my desk was at the perfect stage for painting. All of the blooms are fully open and just gorgeous. They had to be painted.

This was the first painting in which I was trying to capture the velvety texture of the petals. I quite like the idea of trying a few different styles of painting from a single subject. Great learning in that, I think.

There may be more paintings of roses before I’m done.

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The first brushstroke

Winter tree (Watercolour sketch)
Winter tree (Watercolour sketch)
Winter tree (Watercolour sketch)

The first brushstroke on pristine white paper is always a leap of faith when you’re painting in watercolour. At Christmas I was given a book of 640g Saunders Waterford  paper; beautifully bound – and quite terrifying!  It’s the most luxurious paper I’ve ever painted on. Thick, 100% rag cotton, and absolutely white.

I found myself immobilised for a while, convinced that whatever I painted on those pages would have to be perfect or it would spoil the book. Then I decided to be brave and let go of the fear – and just paint something for the sheer pleasure painting on that paper. So I did. My last bit of painting for 2012 was deliberately bold – done in the strongest of my favourite blues, and absolutely imperfect!

It felt as if I had to dive in and just do it, so I did. Perhaps 2013 will be a year of brave painting – being bold, fearless and imperfect. I suspect, therein lies a lot of the fun of paintings.

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Advent 4 – My Christmas Tree and December Give-Away

This year I decided to paint a Christmas tree with a difference for my card image. Given my trip to South Africa in November, the tree just had to be an African tree.  There’s no reason why an Acacia can’t be a Christmas tree, after all.

The cards came back from the printer yesterday so I’m giving away a pack of 5 of my African Christmas Tree cards as a December Give- Away.  Following a suggested from my friend, Karin Panaino Petersen who always has wise words and a creative view of the world, I will give the original to a charity so they can print their cards from it for next year.

So, the usual drill:

– Add a comment to this post to let me know that you would like to be included in the selection

– I’ll make the selection on December 13th – 8 days time.

– And depending where you are, they may reach you in time for your last few cards. Otherwise they’ll make interesting New Year cards, or start off next year’s selection.

I’ll post this to Facebook as well and f you feel inclined to share this give away with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, that would be great.

And if you have a suggestion for a Charity that might like the original for next year’s cards, please let me know in a comment or by email. I haven’t chosen one yet.

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Four Seasons IV

Four Seasons IV (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)

As the Four Seasons series has evolved, each painting develops more distinctions between the seasons. In the earlier versions, the change of seasons was depicted mainly with colour. The paintings always start from the centre, work outward and move clockwise through time.

Four Seasons IV (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)
Four Seasons IV (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)

A couple of weeks ago, the fourth version of Four Seasons started to take life. For the first time, changing shapes joined colour in the representation of the seasons. I predicted that the painting would produce some surprises along the way – and it certainly did.

Girls’ Best Friends

Girls' Best Friends - watercolour

I was working under time pressure last weekend. Time was running out. Exhibition season is starting and I didn’t have enough new work to show. Admittedly, there’s always the old works to show again, but it feels as if it’s time for a change.

Sometimes, despite the fact that it’s pressurised, tight deadlines produce some interesting results. I tend not to play it safe, and get quite experimental. This weekend was no different. I started a series of show paintings. There’s something about high heels in particular that women love. They have such elegant lines. Girls’ Best Friends was the outcome of me working on emphasising those lines and bringing out the structural feel of a pair of stilettos.

Working to a deadline clearly paid off in this instance: this painting was accepted for the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists Exhibition at The Peter Pear Gallery in Aldeburgh. The exhibition starts tomorrow and goes on until 16th October.

Girls' Best Friends - watercolour
Girls’ Best Friends (watercolour 38 x 48cm)

I’m stewarding at the exhibition on Sunday. I’ll write more about the exhibition after that.

For the artists amongst you, I’ve started a page listing online resources for artists. The list isn’t very long at the moment, but it will grow in time and if you have any to share, please let me know. It includes, art material suppliers, framers and art galleries, amongst other things. Hope it proves helpful.



Killing Time by Daid Poxon - watercolour 18"x27"

Time is in the forefront of my mind at the moment.

On Friday I got a lovely email from David Poxon sharing the news that his painting Killing Time has won the award for excellence in the Shanghai Biennial. I saw David’s work at the Aspects of Reality exhibition in London this summer – so I’m not at all surprised at this great news.  Congratulations David!

Killing Time by David Poxon - watercolour 18"x27"
Killing Time by David Poxon – watercolour 18″x27″

In other news…

This weekend is the Royston Arts Festival where I have some paintings on exhibition and where I’ve been helping out. The theme for the exhibition is ‘About Time’ and there are some really interesting interpretations of the subject on display.

I’ve also been pushing the envelope when it comes to my own time. I’m racing against the clock to complete some new paintings in time for submission for the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists exhibition which starts next week. (Not leaving things to the last minute at all, then :-S)

More later, when I have time.

Discovering creativity: Treasure in the garden

One of the most exciting things about painting is discovering creativity you were previously not aware of.

Suzanne Lindfield emailed me on the subject of discovering creativity. She said:

“The urge to draw and paint was very strong for me when I was a child, I always at it! However I didn’t have the opportunity to study it in school or at third level and that really hindered me and my expression of it for nearly 20 years. But in the last few years (I’m now 41) I’ve come back to it, attending night classes, meeting up with art-folk and of course, meeting the online community. Re-learning has sometimes been difficult and I’ve had many “barriers” in my head to break down. But the greatest thing is that I really feel as though I’ve found treasure in my back garden! It’s just such a joy that keeps on going, getting deeper and learning more all the time. Even the process of breaking down barriers is interesting, although sometimes painful, but there’s always something to learn!”

discovering creativity
There’s treasure in the garden. Mini watercolour

I just love her comment about feeling she had found treasure in her back garden. That is a perfect description of the way it feels every time I get a section of a painting to do exactly what I want it to do. Or when I see one of  those wonderful happy accidents that watercolours deliver from time to time. There is a thrill of discovery every time a new technique works, and every unique creation is rather like treasure.

Discovering creativity in yourself when you didn’t know that particular skill was there is a really satisfying experience.

Discovering creativity in a different form

So now the question is: Doesn’t everyone have some treasure waiting to be discovered? It may not be art, but if there’s a new skill to be learned; new insights to be uncovered; then there is treasure. I wrote about being thrilled every time I hear someone has decided to try learning to paint. Suzanne’s comment explains why that’s so exciting: I can’t help smiling when I think about the thrill they’re going to have when they see an image emerge from the end of their brush; when they catch a glimpse of their gold. Now I’m beginning to feel rather like an archaeologist. There’s a lot of digging at times, but the treasure – when I find it – is well worth the work. Thank you, Suzanne.