I love to draw and have been doing so since I was a child.  Drawing is such a direct extension of me that the sensation of it is that it is my first language.  The way I have chosen to render this body of work is rather meticulous and, because my pencils touch the paper so many times, it feels like carving to me.  Many of my images are coming out of dark shadows, which is a beautiful way to use graphite and enhances the sculptural quality.  This is one of the reasons the Falling Man drawings became the Falling Frieze sculptures.

Some people have to be near the ocean to feel alive, but I have to be near art supplies and be creating something.  So, I feel very blessed to be creating what I love in a beautiful place like Santa Fe.

Questions Answered

Is your work being represented in a gallery?
Currently, as I experiment with creating a new body of 
work, I am not exhibiting in a gallery.  But stay tuned...

Do you teach drawing?
Yes, I provide private instruction throughout the year.  
Unless specifically asked to, I don’t generally teach the
rendering technique used in my graphite work, but 
instead recognize the individual style already expressing
itself in my student’s work.  Learning to use the various
media, understanding proportion, anatomy, perspective
and the properties of light and shadow are the focus of 
our studio time.  I believe that maintaining a sketchbook
is the foundation to developing anyone’s drawing skills.

Why do you draw in pencil?  
Graphite is such a basic material, and yet it can yield quite dramatic results.  I like the simplicity and at the same time enjoy the challenge of pushing the medium to its limits.

How long does it take you to draw a piece?
The actual drawing takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months, but the incubation and preparation can take considerably more time.  My mind doesn’t separate the 
two, so as far as I am concerned, I’m always working on a piece.

Why do you draw so many hands and feet?
It began with Lotus Feet, which is a drawing of a girl stepping beyond the boundaries of the framework of the drawing.  The implication of that action is clear.  I realized that the feet or the hands on their own can carry the narrative of the entire piece. 

What’s with the fabrics and praying hands?
Fabric is a very sculptural element.  The challenge of the folds and the repeated patterns is like piecing together a puzzle - a puzzle that doesn’t always connect seamlessly in the right places, but appears believable in the end.  

The contemplative hands are directly related to my meditation practice.  Introspection, internal stillness, simplicity and peace is what  I am striving for in my own life and it can’t help but inform my art.

Is the paper you use textured to get that effect?
No, I use relatively smooth 4 ply Strathmore and the apparent “texture” comes from a technique I use: miniscule overlapping circles drawn with very sharp pencils of varying hardness and softness. 

How do I buy one of your pieces?  
Contact me.  The tapestries can also be purchased through Magnolia Editions in California.  Signed limited edition prints of my drawings can be purchased by contacting me by email.  I also welcome commissioned projects.  

What about the blind folded naked falling men?
Pain is often a great motivator.  In the aftermath of a heartbreak, I created a story about men, which I then worked out on paper and in clay.  John O’Hern said it best when he described the Falling Men in his article for American Art Collector magazine: “...her concept that men are blind to one another, incapable of reaching out and helping, ignorant and alone in their deadly fall...a fearful representation of our ignorance.”

How did you end up in Santa Fe?
As a respite from painting murals in New York City, I came out here for a plein air painting workshop and decided it would be a good place to take a 6-month break...that was 1993 and I’m still here!

How does the tapestry fit in?
The notion of creating tapestries from original paintings is as old as the hills, but currently they are being presented like any limited edition fine art reproduction.  Their large size and the fact that they are fabric evokes very different qualities in the final product.  The digital images of the tapestries (shown on this website) don’t come near to conveying their tactile nature, which experiencing them in person affords.  The tapestry process is described in detail at the Magnolia Editions website.
laura o