Our FACE of Birmingham today is Laura Beers. Laura is a skilled creator and accomplished artist widely known for her work with mixed media and oil pigments. Her artwork can be found locally at Arceneaux in Homewood and Tracery Interiors in Mountain Brook. Welcome, Laura!
How would you describe your art style?
In the early nineties, when I was teaching myself to paint, my purpose was to express myself, so my style would be considered that of expressionism, painting that conveys my mood without using perspective or realistic colors. I still love this style of art. As I grew into my work, it became more painterly, meaning thick and impasto, but I have always leaned toward toward expressionism over realism. I have a strong appreciation for realistic work, but for my personal taste, I prefer good photography over realistic art. These days I am leaning towards a combination of abstract and painterly technique, and I want to focus on portraits, soon.
Has art always been your passion? Give us a little bio/background information on you.
I remember taking my first art class in a dingy old basement at a neighbor’s house when I was a little girl. This was literally one of the highlights of my childhood. I looked forward to this class more than anything else, and all we really did was play with paints. “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Picasso said that. When I was growing up, parents did not typically encourage their children in the arts. So when I when to college, the closest thing was fashion design. Unfortunately chemistry was a requirement, so I dropped the class and changed my course. A few years later, going through a tough time caused me to take up painting again, as a release. I looked at old paintings and taught myself how to mix a color until it was right. The first series of paintings which sold were of sad ladies.
Where do you get your inspiration?
These days, I paint as much for my clients as I do for myself. When painting for a client, my inspiration often comes from new design, new fabrics, seeing a space in someone’s home, talking to the client about their likes and dislikes, and using my work as the pièce de résistance to bring a room together.
Did you have a mentor or teacher that helped guide you along the way?
Honesty, the materials themselves have taught me what to do. A few years ago I used a lot of reclaimed surfaces AND materials. Everything about this time was rewarding, from hunting for and finding the materials, to fixing the surfaces and producing something beautiful from something that was intended for the dump. There was a strong spiritual significance to this idea and process, as well.
What else are you passionate about?
First and foremost, my greatest “achievement,” if you can call it that, or passion, is being a mother. Along with that, I am passionate about the Gospel of Grace. Religion has gotten the true gospel, which is the Good News, wrong, for thousands of years. Religion tells us you do good you get good, you do bad you get bad. That’s no different than what the world tells us! However, God says “whatever you do, I want to give you good, not based on your works, but based on my precious Son.” This is the true gospel, unearned undeserved unmerited favor (Joseph Prince.)
What music are you currently listening to?
I love all types of music, except country. What I listen to the most: artists like Beck, Cake, U2, Adele, Florence & The Machine, Beyonce, Kanye West, to name a few, and always good worship music. Just because it’s worship music doesn’t mean it is necessarily good music.
What books are on your bedside table/eReader?
Bible, The War of Art, design mags, a funny book Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam, also reading transcripts from Rob Rufus, a pastor from Hong Kong.
Favorite Birmingham restaurant?
Hard to say. toss up between Bottega and Hot & Hot.
What do you do to recharge your batteries?
Coffee, coffee and coffee. Seriously.
What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Best piece of advice ever given to me was from a girlfriend a long time ago: Rest and be beautiful.
What advice would you give to any starving artists out there?
First of all, you can do two things at once! You can pursue being an artist while also being a full-time mom or having a full-time job. Secondly, don’t give up when you have a block or have just finished a ridiculously ugly painting. Some of my best work came from painting over a piece that brought me great frustration. In fact, it’s often easier to paint over a piece than to stare at a blank white canvas.
What is your secret to such flawless skin?
Flawless skin, are you serious, Catherine? Ha ha! Laura Mercier makeup.
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
My favorite thing to do ANY night is go out and eat a fabulous dinner.
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
Personality quirks, yes, irrational fears, no. Aren’t all artists a little different than most people? We are, in a sense, living life on a stage with every work we create. As for my own quirkiness, I have been told that my thoughts, hence comments, are odd, not in a bad way, just different from the norm. My brain seems to lack a filter for extraneous information.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, family & friends!).
The Internet, coffee and exercise. Hmmm, if I didn’t drink such copious amounts of coffee, maybe I wouldn’t feel the urge to exercise, and my life would be completely different.
Thanks for sharing, Laura! And a big thanks to Beth Hontzas for today’s fabulous photos! For more information about Laura’s art, click on her website: www.laurabeersart.com. And see more of Beth’s photography here: www.bethhontzas.com.