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    3rd August 2023 Sophia Sohal

    A Discussion with the Artist – Laura Pedley

    Meet abstract artist Laura Pedley

    Tell us a bit about your journey to painting.

    Growing up, textiles was always my thing. I studied Embroidery at university after my Foundation and absolutely loved it, but throughout the degree and after graduating I was always drawn to painting. However, whenever I set myself the task to try and create, it felt so forced and clunky. After graduating university, I applied for various things and had lots of rejections, and slowly my creative passions took a back seat to a regular admin job.

    Then I reached my thirties and had my first son, and before he was even here, I knew that I was done with a regular job. I wanted so much for my son to have the courage to go after whatever he dreamed of. This wasn’t something I could tell him to do – as with so much of parenting I could only show him by my own example.

    It was time to start taking myself seriously, to paint because it was in me to do (and always had been), and to stop caring so much what the outcome looked like. I’d dreamed of being an artist all my life, becoming a mother made me brave enough to finally become a painter too!

     

    We’d love to hear about your creative process. How do you get started with a new painting?

    I begin with a very vague idea of composition, based on answers to questions like whether I want the final piece to feel heavy or light, calm or busy, muted or bright.

    Working on lots of paintings at once helps prevent me from getting too precious about each work and helps me be more experimental and freer with how each artwork develops.

    My process involves dozens of thin layers built up over weeks, using acrylic glazes. I really enjoy a constrained colour palette as it forces me to be much more thoughtful about where each layer and mark goes on the painting.

     

    Your work is very tranquil and harmonious – does a sense of peace and calm make for your perfect working environment?

    Oh yes, most definitely!

    My studio is at the end of my garden, surrounded by beautiful trees. I often work in silence. My hope is always to capture and express my peaceful experiences out in the landscape. If my working environment feels chaotic it definitely shows through in the work as it develops. It’s the same with my internal world, I just can’t create if I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

     

    You mention you rediscovered your creativity when becoming a mother. How has motherhood impacted your artistic inspiration and what you want to communicate through your art?

    I wouldn’t be an artist today if I hadn’t become a mother first. I began painting with earnest in the overwhelm of early motherhood, just for myself, to find a sense of sanctuary and peace in all the chaos and newness. When I managed to find alone time, I would walk in the hills and then paint the peace and stillness I found out in the landscape. This grew into wanting to share that tranquility with others, to recreate and communicate my experiences so that other people could have them too.

     

    You paint with a beautiful colour palette of soft blues and greens bleeding into pastel pinks. What is it that keeps attracting you to these colours?

    Quite simply, these are the colours that make me feel the most peaceful, so I find myself pulled back to them again and again!

    I do work in other colour palettes from time to time, especially when working on commissions. But when I’m in a creative flow, these deep blue-greens and pinks best communicate what I’m trying to say in my paintings.

     

    Do you ever use drawings or specific landscapes to inform your work, or is it purely expressive and in the moment?

    When I’m working for myself, it’s actually very intuitive process. I might have an idea of composition and flow, but as each layer builds it speaks to me about what the next layer needs to be and the painting follows its own path. Paintings rarely finish looking how I’d imagined when I started!

    Certain places definitely inspire me – particularly the Lake District – but I don’t usually paint specific landscapes (except for commissions, which is always a fun challenge!).

     

    What are the highlights of your career as an artist so far?

    Honestly, it’s been such a privilege to be able to pursue my passion and develop my practise alongside being a mother to my young children. The highlight of my career so far is being able to rediscover who I am in my paintings, and for them to be able to thrive alongside me.

    Also, I’ve had such incredible feedback from collectors about the sometimes very personal impact my work has had on them. How moved they are by it and how it speaks to them on a daily basis in their homes. This is why I share it, it’s such an honour to be a part of someone else’s story in this way.

     

    What are the best things about being an artist, and what are the most challenging?

    Best things:

    The freedom to spend my days following my dreams and ideas is just incredible. And for people to respond to the resulting artworks by buying them to have in their own home is still amazing to me. I can’t believe I get to do this every day!

    Challenges:

    The challenges are mainly practical really. With two kids still in primary school there is never enough time to do everything I want to do. I know this season of life will pass quickly though. I try not to worry too much about all the things I can’t do and soak up this time while they’re still small. It has meant saying no to some opportunities, but I know the time will come all too quickly when school pick-ups and swimming lessons are a thing of the past!

     

    My Life in Art – Laura Pedley

     

    • First piece of art you bought?

    Surprisingly, it was actually only very recently that I bought my first original artwork!

    For my 40th birthday gift from my husband I chose a beautiful small blue painting by Oliver Hilton. I’ve bought prints in the past, and had paintings given by artist friends; but this was the first thing I chose just because I absolutely loved it.

     

    The Art Buyer

    OLIVER HILTON, BLUE

    • Favourite artist?

    Oh, there’s so many! My current favourite is probably Helen Booth. I’m really, really looking forward to visiting her solo show in September. I love how her work is so simple and elegant on the surface, but has incredible depth and evokes such strong emotions. It reminds me of Mark Rothko.

    The Art Buyer Gallery

    HELEN BOOTH, IT LISTENS

     

    • If you could own any piece of art (even if you have to rob a bank or museum!), what would it be and why?

    It would have to be Mark Rothko’s ‘Seagram Murals’; they’re what made me want to be a painter. I first saw them at Tate Modern when I was 16 and I could hardly walk away from them. I still try and visit every time I’m in London! To be able to create such an intense and emotional atmosphere in a place just using colour is a truly incredible thing.

     

    Mark Rothko, The Art Buyer Gallery

    MARK ROTHKO’S ‘SEAGRAM MURALS’ 1958–59, AT THE TATE MODERN, LONDON

     

    Visit Laura Pedley on our website and browse of her beautiful artworks.

     

    Laura Pedley, The Art Buyer Gallery

    Laura Pedley, Rest Days

     

    Laura Pedley, The Art Buyer Gallery

    Laura Pedley, Welcome Home

     

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