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Local Artists Live: Laura Parker
May 8, 2021; 10:00 AM–10:30 AM CDT
Laura Parker’s watercolor portraits and landscapes are inspired by the artist’s own imagination, yet they effortlessly evoke feelings of heartfelt nostalgia in whoever views them. Tune in to Local Artists Live on Saturday, May 8, to see some of Laura’s mystical creations and learn about what inspires her art, and read more below for a preview of the artist’s creative background and interests.
Born and raised in Montgomery, Laura Parker has always had an interest in the arts. Coming from a family of musicians and dancers—initially, her main focus was ballet—she danced from an early age until an injury in high school. She had some limited exposure to the visual arts, reading storybooks with vivid illustrations and looking at her older brother’s pen and ink drawings. She recalls that as a teen she had art classes one summer and took some art in high school, and that was enough to encourage her to pursue visual art in college.
Laura earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in drawing and painting from Auburn University at Montgomery. As she grows in her artistry, Laura has come to recognize a special joy derived from making art, and she hopes to spread that happiness to anyone who looks at her creations.
Above: Laura Parker, Untitled, 2020, watercolor on cold press watercolor paper, 11 in x 14 in
This program is part of the series:
Meet the Artist
What is something you appreciate about life in the South?
I enjoy the diversity of culture in the South. There are so many different people groups with different backgrounds. I enjoy learning about people who aren’t like me.
What are some works of art in the MMFA’s collection that you appreciate, and why?
I of course love all the portraits as that was my focus for so long, however, my very favorite piece in the collection is Voices of Silence by Jimmy Ernst. I love the use of contrasting colors, the use of chiaroscuro, and how crisp all the details are. I could stand in front of that painting all day and continually find something new or interesting about it.
What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?
I think my current favorite is between a concept piece I created around the zodiac sign Leo and a landscape I did most recently before having my son. I feel like both of these pieces were turning points in my practice, moments where something just finally clicked. For Leo it was unlocking a certain amount of creative freedom from “real life” subjects. For the landscape, it was a breakthrough in using watercolor as effectively as I had been striving to do.
Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel in that moment?
I don’t think I have a favorite piece. Art is too varied to pick a favorite. I did get to see a Vigee Le Brun [work] in person and it was definitely a surreal experience. I would love to take a tour of Europe one day and see all the art I learned about in college along with the incredible buildings that house them.
What drives your creativity?
Mostly that it makes me happy. I always feel calmer and happier after sitting down to paint or draw. It’s always been my “happy place,” even as a little child. I also love the joy my work can bring to others. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as hearing that my work has brought happy tears to a client.
What advice would you give to beginning artists?
Create what you enjoy. Don’t paint or draw what you think others want you to. Don’t force yourself to draw in a particular style, just be yourself and create how you create. It’s much easier to find yourself as an artist if you spend time just doing it and enjoying the process rather than the finished result. Formal training can be wonderful, and taking commissions is a great way to make money as an artist, but don’t lose sight of what you want to put out into the world.
What excites you the most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene, and how might we further these efforts throughout our community?
I think the ability to show my art to others and hopefully add a little bit of joy to their lives—being an artist can be a very isolating thing and the growth of the community offers support to the individual artists as well as enrichment in the lives of everyone here.