Conversations with an Artist: Laura Roebuck
The paintings of Laura Roebuck highlight the interplay of color, shape, and texture with intuition and movement. She both brings her background in psychology into the abstract concepts of her work and reimagines everyday worn-in objects into mixed media art. We fell in love with her Fertile Soil series and had to acquire one for our own house and are thrilled to have her collections in the shop for you to love.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
I had been going to a lot of open studios at home in San Francisco and began to think that I wanted to start painting myself. I found myself in a funky, old drugstore while I was in Key West for a medical conference and bought an old pad of paper and a tiny child’s watercolor set for maybe 89 cents. That night, I began painting palm trees while talking on the phone in the dark. Maybe it was the ocean breeze wafting in, but in that moment I knew something important had occurred. The moment of certainty came a little later, when I first put oil on canvas.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
What I’m most drawn to is exploring color, texture, and movement through abstract oil paintings of all sizes, though my passion is definitely for large scale works. I tend to pursue saturated, intense color works, alternating with studies in neutrals, muted tones and monochromes.
Porter on a Cross Country Train, 36x36 | Sold
Tell us about what influenced the direction for your latest artworks.
First it was the larger scale—large size stretched canvases hung as a diptych. Next, it was returning to white painting, when I was inspired by a serendipitous discovery of a now discontinued, coarse, white paint and finally, introducing color with the re-discovery of an old box of small oil pastels with which I entered the sculptural piles of white paint.
How has your work developed over time?
I started painting medium and small-sized abstract oils, at first using household and construction tools, then palette knives for a number of years before moving into paintbrushes. I have alternated exploring a purer form of painting with conventional approaches using oil paint, medium and paintbrushes with more sculptural approaches expressed through very thick, impasto, paint and non-conventional media including sand, ash and found objects.
I discover primarily by doing. and by developing a relationship with paint, canvas and tools. I also study classical and contemporary art, finding what I love and what I’m drawn to in the art and natural world. This combination allows me to grasp both the process and the mechanics for creating—for bringing a vision to the canvas.
It Ended with a Moth, 60 x 72
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
Oil sticks, tool to open paint cans and medical grade tweezers.
Looking for the Blue, 36x36 | Sold
Do you collect anything?
I’ve had many collections over the years. And I have found that as I paint more I am able to integrate the collections both literally and figuratively as inspiration, and tame some of the the actual collecting!
...beach combing for shells, rocks, sea glass, sand, detritus
street found objects
rusted, broken objects
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched, or listened to recently?
Red tail hawks on the streetlight post outside the house
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts and Beatrice Wood’s Studio
Anselm Kiefer videos
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
Don’t look back (sage words from my husband and Bob Dylan)
Fertile Soil, Unexpected, 36x48 | Sold
We love how Laura's art holds space in compelling ways, allowing your mind to wander. See them in-person or give us a call for buying and shipping info.
Follow this link for Laura's available works for sale at Poet and/the Bench. Check out our Laura Roebuck Fine Art page to view other paintings sold to get a sense of her range in process, technique and inspiration.
See you soon,
Bonnie & Jeffrey