The Inspirational Works of Painter Laura Hamilton

The Inspirational Works of Painter Laura Hamilton

I am thrilled when I come across something that makes we ask, “Why?”. Humans are a curious bunch and I’m right up there on the top of the heap. Artists are definitely one group of people that have helped to feed my voracious appetite for curiosity. After 150 interviews I find myself not yet tiring of what seems like the same old questions I ask time and time again because the answers are never the same. When I came across the girls, ladies and women with no face and crazy hair my curiosity was about to boil over, and I immediately had at least half a dozen questions for painter Laura Hamilton.

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Laura started out in her young life as a school teacher, and this was the career path she thought she would be on for all of her working years. Then one day baby Lincoln arrived and the Hamilton’s were now a family of four. This should have been a happy occasion but for Laura she found herself lost in the caverns of postpartum depression following the birth of her second son. Laura explained it was a very difficult state to overcome, but as time passed and with medical help she was able to go back to work after her year on maternity leave. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a bit of a disaster for Laura to the point where she would make herself sick with anxiety and panic attacks. Then, one day there was a tipping point and Laura was driven home from school with a one month leave of absence in tow. During that time she received some words of advice from her mother-in-law that would help to change her life. Laura took the advice and started to nurture herself back to health and, with the help of her husband, she was able to spend time reading, meditating and learning to love herself again. The rest of Laura’s story is full of inspiration and hope.

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The month leave of absence was almost over when Laura decided she was going to paint. She had been watching artist Buzz Siler from Portland, Oregon on You Tube, and was fascinated with his technique. Immediately she went looking for paint and tools to get started; a few cans of household latex paint and a screw driver ought to do it. What happened next for Laura was nothing short of an awakening; an outline of a girl began to take shape right before her eyes. This girl is Lucy and considered by Laura to be the first of her many “daughters”. Laura revealed to us that Lucy was the start of a new beginning for her. At the time, she represented all the things that Laura wasn’t. She was strong, bold and brave, and these characteristics gave Laura the strength and courage to change her life. When we met with Laura in September another school year had already begun, but Mrs. Hamilton was no longer in attendance. As of the end of the 2015/16 school year Laura and her husband decided to take a leap of faith and invest in her art career, and now she paints and paints and paints.

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After our interview Laura took us to her painting studio for a demo, which, if not for all her paintings leaning gracefully against the walls I may have thought this was a place a commercial house painter stored her equipment until the next job. There was a table in the middle of the room with a bad case of paint measles and a closet and shelves with all kinds of bargain bin paint cans from the local hardware store. What a surprise! This was not what I was expecting at all. Of course my curiosity was really starting to get the best of me by this time. Laura’s painting technique involves a canvas which lays flat on the table, a bunch of water, cans of various colours of oil based household paint, big, fat paint brushes, her fingers and a whole lot of intuition and trust. It’s a process that takes some time. Laura starts with an idea which can spark from a memory of her childhood, a photo, wallpaper, or even just a single colour. She sketches out a rough outline of her new daughter, applies water, paint, more water, more paint and keeps coming back to her until her aura shines through, at which point she is done. Laura says she has a starting point but really doesn’t know where the finished piece will actually end up.

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So why the no face and the crazy hair? Laura admits the hair is probably a reflection of her own curly locks but the lack of facial features is more symbolic. She wants people to really connect with the women in her paintings and she feels that by not giving them features it makes it easier for that to happen. She wants them to represent a spirit or a being, not a real person. They are symbols of courage, free-spiritedness, playfulness, purity, bravery, confidence, kindness and a re-connection to nature. Laura and her daughters give the gift of hope and inspiration to all of us.

We invite you to have a listen to Laura as she talks about how her art changed her life. Also, kindly help us spread the word about Laura and her art by sharing this post on social media. And we love comments so feel free to leave a nice one below. Thank-you.

Jamie-Lee Cormier – Painting in Her Corner of the World

Jamie-Lee Cormier – Painting in Her Corner of the World

Corner Brook, Newfoundland is located on the west side of the island and is the first larger center we came upon after embarking off the ferry in Port Aux Basques. It is nestled among a rocky landscape right at the edge of the water. It has a breathtaking view, an extremely helpful tourist information center, all the amenities a person would need and a young painter by the name of Jamie-Lee Cormier.

Jamie-Lee in her gallery in downtown Corner Brook.

Jamie-Lee graduated with a degree in fine arts from Memorial University in Corner Brook in 2007. I remember when I was younger and fresh out of school my imagination about the future seemed boundless and fruitful and this was the impression I got upon meeting Jamie-Lee. She has a youthful exuberance that so many of us lose or ignore because we think it isn’t “appropriate” as we get older. It is refreshing to meet people like her.

Mixed Media Composition

After graduating from school there wasn’t a place for Jamie-Lee to show her work. The art school turned out an artist but left no place for her to go. She didn’t let that stop her. She went into business for herself, opened her own gallery in the downtown corridor by the name of JL Gallery, and invited other local artists as well. Jamie-Lee has always wanted to be an artist since she was a child and she has held a steadfast commitment to it ever since. Consequently, with a supportive family and lots of encouragement, she has worked hard and it has paid off. Her gallery has been contributing to Corner Brook’s economy for almost 5 years.

Jamie-Lee works primarily in mixed media but lately has been stretching her wings and working more on realistic paintings with oils. Although her art career is just getting started she has had commissions and requests from the people in her community for her mixed media art as well as her oil paintings. Most of her work incorporates some aspect of nature taking on a more abstract interpretation of it or sometimes a realistic impression.

Iceberg in St. Anthony, NL

Gary and I have interviewed many veteran artists and some emerging as well and found with life experience there is usually an evolution, and sometimes the art becomes a message or a story for a personal philosophy. After talking to Jamie-Lee, I didn’t get the impression that there is some kind of deeper meaning when she paints; she just loves to do it and that is all there needs to be. Her work is alive and full of energy, just like her, and as time goes by, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Jamie-Lee Cormier and her art.

Please join us with Jamie-Lee as she talks about her passion. Comments are always appreciated. Thanks.

Painter Heather Kohut

Painter Heather Kohut

We received a response email from Heather in regards to meeting us during our time in Fernie. She wanted to know more about our marketplace website. The next day we arranged to meet her and her husband Gary at Boston Pizza for lunch. Heather and Gary don’t live in Fernie; they divide their time between Wasa Lake, B.C. and Nanton, Alberta. They happened to be in Fernie the day Gary and I were there to retrieve her paintings from a Fernie venue. She had told us during lunch that she was collecting all her paintings and thinking about hanging up her brushes and palette knives. She says “As an artist, I don’t just want to have a backlog of paintings sitting in storage somewhere. The economic times affect everyone and artists can be some of the most vulnerable.” She considered our email to be timely and perhaps serendipitous. It was nice to meet Heather and Gary for lunch and we mutually agreed that a trip for Arty to Wasa Lake the next day was a good idea.

We stayed at Norbury Provincial Park campground that night and headed for Wasa Lake the next morning. It is a stunningly beautiful drive on a route we had never traveled. We are both so grateful to have moments like this. Heather’s breathtaking moments were hanging all over her house. She is a realist painter who represents her subject matter so well, I was sure I could reach out and feel the roughness of the bark on the trees. Your curiosity is enticed with each push of the palette knife as she asks you to be inquisitive and step into her painting to follow your imagination around the bend while you are gently persuaded to wonder what beauty lies beyond the crook in the path.

We invite you to watch our interview with Heather and learn more about her and her passion!