Seeing Laurel Swenson’s artwork at the 2018 Vancouver East Side Culture Crawl was all it took: I wanted to visit her studio, see more of her work and get a sense of the person behind her powerful paintings. We made a date.
After climbing a flight of stairs and winding my way through a dark maze of corridors, I find Laurel in her light-filled studio. She shares the space with 3 other artists yet she is alone today.
Meet LAUREL SWENSON: Abstract painter
Laurel invites me to observe a work-in-progress and gives permission to snap some pics as she puts the finishing touches on a large-scale painting. I’m excited to be here. I didn’t expect her to be painting during my visit. Laurel tells me that this is the point that she can “wreck everything.” The camera shutter clatters in the silent studio as she stands, thinking, looking at the canvas. I’m concerned I’m a distraction.
Laurel collects brushes. Mixes paints. Stands back. Looks. Takes a deep breath and walks towards the canvas. She holds the brushes in ways I did not expect. Marks the canvas with strokes I’ve never seen before. She stands back. This back and forth – call and response, as Laurel calls it – continues until she feels that she has painted what she can in this session.
“To struggle is universal. My paintings celebrate the value of struggle in our lives.”
– Laurel Swenson
Laurel is an artist deeply inspired by human development and the theme of struggle, transition and growth run through her work. She makes a connection between struggles with the creative process, painting and the struggles we each face by simply being human.
I sat down to chat with Laurel and asked a few questions. Listen in for her responses.
Click the audio players to listen in. Trouble with audio? Written version here. spotlight | in conversation with laurel swenson
Five questions with Laurel Swenson
1. When did you first start painting?
2. Has painting always been your primary creative outlet?
3. What advice would you give someone who is undecided about an artwork?
4. When you are working … silence or something else?
5. Artists name their paintings. How do you name yours?
About this featured painting
24” x 24” (61 x 61cm)
Acrylic and polymers on canvas
Light grey painted sides
Available for purchase
World-wide shipping available by arrangement
Where to hang it: This painting will look great on a narrow wall, in a niche or as part of a grouping.
What I like: This painting is colourful yet somehow neutral. It is rich with texture. It’s pink without being pretty and it perfectly marries colour with a small amount of black while maintaining a light and fresh look.
How it looks on a wall:
Other works by Laurel Swenson:
Laurel’s works range in size from 10”x10” to 56”x 56”.
Original works starting at $200 CDN.
– Laurel Swenson lives and paints in Vancouver CANADA –
See more of Laurel’s abstracts at LaurelSwenson.com.
If you’re a fan of abstract art, tell me why. I’d love to read your comment.
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4 Comments Add yours
This has the makings of a fabulous series Catherine.
Conversation with Laurel was very revelatory and I feel I know her a little. I do love her painting titles. Though I don’t often gravitate to abstract art I do very much like some of Laurel’s paintings including the featured one, “Stay Here” (you are right about the pink), “It Hurts Because It Matters” and “Bundles of Emotion”.
Thank you for your generous comment Eileen! I’m delighted that you enjoyed the audio clips and the art. It’s pleasing to know that you appreciate a category of art outside your usual interest.
Thank you for your thoughtful writing and for the time we spent together! It was a treat for me. And many thanks for putting a spot light in abstract painting! My fave.
And thank you for being so very generous with your time. It has been a great learning experience for me.