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Check out Laura Wambsgans’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Wambsgans.

Laura, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Pasadena and grew up in a home with creative parents. My mother is an oil painter/sculptor and my father are a machinist that built our homes, furniture and restored antique cars. Art and music, were just as much of an equal part of our household as the food we ate and air we breathed.

After a career as the managing director of a major LA recording studio, I began, serendipitously, to carve in stone with hand tools, which set me off on a 20-year career of learning and creating massive stone sculptures. Eventually, my hands deteriorated and I could see that I would no longer be able to keep up with the demands of the galleries.

My mother suggested oil painting and reluctantly, I dived in. At the same time the Plein Air movement was going strong in the United States, especially California, with our year-round pleasant weather year-round and limitless subject matter within a short distance. I found painting landscapes to be the most inspiring subject and working outside in nature an added bonus.

Sixteen years later, I am still excited every time I set up my easel in the field or go to work in my studio never knowing exactly what magic will happen. The process of painting never ceases to inspire and challenge me daily. I can see myself painting until I leave this place.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I paint landscapes in a pretty traditional method, I’m mixing big luscious piles of paint on my palette, picking up a brush or knife and placing the right hue, value and temperature of paint, on my linen canvas to tell the viewer what I am seeing. At least that is the goal and not always successful but that is what is so intriguing about the process. You have so many “plates” in the air at the same time, from the composition to the types of edges you are creating with the brush, it’s difficult to nail it all down in every painting hundred percent.

All type of scenes falls under the umbrella of landscape painting from ocean scenes, though the desert and up into the mountains. Traveling becomes a welcome part of the job. The more you travel to paint, the more you learn see the subtle differences that bring a truth to every painting. Recently, I rafting down the Colorado in the Grand Canyon 188 miles, painting every morning and evening along the shore. The visual information I learned, camping those 8 days, is invaluable and cannot be learned any other way.

Packing into Lake Ediza, above Mammoth Lakes to camp and paint for a week, opened my eyes and inspired a whole series of paintings telling the story of the high sierras. It was worth traversing glacier glazed granite on horseback thousands of feet above the canyon floors, and listening to bears right outside my tent at night to be able to roll out of my sleeping bag before dawn, set up to paint and watch the sunlight slowly turn the dark mountain tips brilliant pink.

Everywhere I go, I see potential paintings. Many landscape artists paint in our heads all the time while driving or hiking. You think to yourself how you would approach the scene? What are the colors you are seeing and how would you mix them? My mind is never still, even while sleeping I’ll find solutions in my dreams for what I am
working on in the studio.

My goal is to have the viewer look at the painting and feel what I was seeing, from the sunlight on the trees to the warmth in the air. For collectors, I want them to have a painting on their wall that gives them their personal window to a place that brings them peace and comfort.

What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
Give yourself the gift of time. Painting is a bit selfish, in that you are completely within your own mind and ignoring everything else. It is so easy with all the distractions around us, clamoring for attention to put off creating, which is something you cannot stop and start again easily.

Make a place to create that is always ready for you, no matter what. If you have to drag out an easel and put it away after each session, you just won’t paint as often as if it’s always available. Use the best materials you can afford. It’s hard enough to paint without struggling with a poor brush or inferior paint.

Find a friend or mentor to bounce off ideas, to answer questions as you evolve and provide critiques. If you are plein air painting it’s very important to have another artist to paint with, as it can be dangerous to be in the wilderness alone. Finally, just do it. I hear from people all of the time that they are surprised how much painting simply for the joy of it, can unexpectedly add happiness and fulfillment to their lives.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
As with most artists I have about a 3-year lead time for large shows, with smaller supplementary shows happening all the time. In 2021 I have a museum show that I am just starting paint exploratory work for. At the moment I have a solo show at The Lake House gallery in Lake Arrowhead, paintings at Hillside Gallery in Claremont and Gales restaurant in Pasadena. My website is laurawambsgans.com and all the upcoming shows are listed, plus you can sign up for notices of new art or events.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laura Wambsgans

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