Studio Visit

Studio Visit

Laurie Balmuth


Studio Visit 

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Q. What motivates you?

A. The need to find meaning and beauty. I am a simple dauber. The contents of the subconscious fascinate me. The impulse to make something beautiful and alive from a space of inner disappointment feels hopeful and unexpected.

Q. Tell us about this series of work.

A. These paintings spring from my study of Asian calligraphy and hours and years of drawing from life. My natural habitat is the art museum. I think I try to absorb the essence of the masters through my pores and the air I breathe in there. I am trying to make an honest picture.

Q. When did you start calling yourself an artist?

A.  I am a painter.

Q. Tell us about where you live and how it influences your work ?

A. I live in a place of intense natural phenomena and connection to the wilderness and the elements. It is very windy here and the weather systems are localized and sudden. There are mountains and cliffs and a mile wide river. The landscape changes from heavy coniferous forest to desert in a matter of a few miles. There is the chance to walk and hike, get on the water, and cross country ski in the winter. My dogs like it. We spend part of the winter in southern Baja Mexico where I find my most compelling source of imagery.

Q. Tell us about your studio practice ?

A. I take a lot of photos. I examine them looking for ones I feel will give me interesting shapes. I sometimes make a number of large line drawings in a series especially intended to develop into paintings. But I only work on one painting at a time. I paint and look and paint some more. I like to refine the color design and clean up any scraggly transitions.

Q. What in the painting process drives the work ? Method, material, an idea or something else?

A. The method of searching and discovery carries through all phases. I strive to put as much of myself into the work as I can. The drawing is a kinetic thing. The color achieved with good quality oil paint transmits pure joy and the color dialogue within the painting gives it internal light.  I don't have an idea. The painting is it's own idea. I think of my paintings as beloved children I am helping become their best selves.

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Q. Do you find art making therapeutic ?

A. I don't feel especially crazy right now, but then, I've been painting. I'm sure it dusts the cobwebs from my psyche.

Q. What are you most proud of ?

A. I am thorough and strive not to gloss over anything important in my work; I want to get to the root of the matter.

Q. If you could have drink with one artist who would it be?

A. Dana Schutz.

Q. What motivates you ?

A. I feel hollow and useless when I'm not working.

Q. What is the artist living or dead that you feel a great connection to ?

A. Wang Doh

Q. What is the one thing you've wanted to do but have been afraid to try ?

A. Backpacking through Eastern Europe.

Q. What's next ?

A. Making new work.


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Honesty in image making comes from emotion and the need to paint. Craft comes from inside a
particular person. A painting is my perfect world, made honestly and exactly to my specifications.