Featured Artist – Laura Curtin

You’re not seeing things. They really ARE pink elephants. Remarkably detailed, whimsical creatures, conceived in the creative mind and expertly committed to canvas by wildlife painter Laura Curtin. They draw you in. They make you smile. They make you downright happy.

Curtin, a second-year Art-A-Fair Artist, is hardly a newcomer to the art field; her work demonstrates the skill and expertise befitting a 28-year painting career. She’s primarily self-taught, and started painting simply because she knew she could. She chooses to work in oils because she loves just about everything inside those little foil tubes: the smooth, silky texture, rich pigments, that oil paint smell… and, of course, the ones that create the color pink.

Workshops and seminars have helped Laura hone her skills over the years, and she’s enjoyed an ongoing relationship with a Huntington Beach teaching gallery that has kept her sharp. She works in a bright, clean, spacious studio area located in the Garden Grove home she shares with husband Kevin.

As for her work, the journey from concept to completion can be a lengthy one. She typically begins a new work by designing it in her head. Before she places brush to canvas, however, she researches reference images depicting just the right environment, lighting, mood and detail. She draws out her composition using tracing paper to transfer it onto the canvas. At this point, she begins to block in the background layer. Even at this early stage, Laura includes a high degree of detail – but leaves her foreground subject areas devoid of paint until the background has been committed to canvas. Once she hears the call of the wild, she then switches to smaller brushes and breathes life into the beloved animals that serve as her subjects. Few details escape her attention, and the results are spellbinding… animals with bright, sparkling eyes, some bearing intricate folds and wrinkles – and others with soft, lively fur. Experience has taught Laura to recognize when a painting is done – when she finds herself modeling shadows and highlights on individual chunks of gravel – it’s time to stop.

Laura’s busy art career includes active participation in several professional and charitable organizations. Somehow, she also manages to meet the demands of her primary career as owner of a Westminster bookkeeping and income tax office. As you might guess, Laura finds it challenging to find time to paint during tax season. But, she’s a mobile artist who packs up her tools and paints at her office desk as time permits. It’s a practice that once yielded a serendipitous outcome: a visit from a professional framer, looking for a good tax expert (at a time when Laura herself was looking for a good framer). Good timing, indeed.

You’ll typically find Laura painting in her booth from Thursdays through Sundays during the Art-A-Fair season.

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