I have been drawing shadows in my garden since I was a teenager. I think this was perhaps the beginning of my need to make. Looking back it was about capturing the fleeting nature of trees, positive and negative shapes and forms in the landscape. I believe it helped me understand the need to focus less on the recognition of an image and allow the energy and spontaneity of process to become celebrated. It is the environment in which I live that continues to be my constant source of inspiration.
Extract from an article by Fiona Robinson RWA:
‘Steen has a singular vision. She describes her work, as ‘very experiential’. Everything that feeds into her work is the result of direct experience, something observed whilst on a walk or when driving, or just being. “When you walk past something, or experience something in nature, it is that specific bit that inspires me and needs to be recorded. I have always had the desire to make work that is fleeting, which directly recalls the sensation of experiencing a specific subject.” The need to relate her vision with human scale, probably owes something to her architectural training. The complete focus on trees and the natural world is relatively recent, but she makes no distinction in her working methods between her tree paintings and the portraiture which is another element of her practice. The one informs the other and they are all part of the same progression… Her drawn line is very beautiful, delicate, thin and yet has a tensile strength which encapsulates both the brittleness of dead twigs and the suppleness of sap filled branches.’
I tend to call all of my work ‘drawings’, mostly because the creative process of each piece begins and ends with drawing. The process of which is at the very centre of how I work. My motivation has always been my belief in drawing and the act of finding my own figuration. I believe this can be seen most recently in the ‘home drawings’ where the honesty of the material holds a memory of my working processes and intent. I use paint as a tool, and in a way it is secondary to the act of drawing. I use paint to define space, to build up texture, to define the positive and the negative, to carve out or build up, to layer ideas, and to push and pull the line. It is the graphite that defines silence and light.
My aim has always been to make drawings where only the most important lines survive. Lines that make you want to read, then breathe, then read the drawing some more because you know it is moving something inside of you – and there will be parts that confuse and parts that sing and parts that you know you will never be able to forget.
An established artist in Canada where she was born, Laurie continues to exhibit in Canada, Switzerland and the UK, where she has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions and collaborated on interdisciplinary, performance and design based projects, over the last 20 years. Laurie lives and works in Devon.
Laurie Steen, RWA Drawing School Tutor
Through her workshops, Laurie has been teaching alongside artists and students of all ages, where she is actively involved in working to engage and inspire students to simply, ‘lose their inhibition to draw’.
Laurie has worked with organizations like Dartmoor Arts, Beaford Arts, Bristol Drawing School and Coombe Farm Studios. She has said; “I particularly love teaching outdoors, where students are not only encouraged to use nature as a subject but also for the tools one uses to draw, allowing the natural environment to inform working methods and processes.”
She has also co founded an ‘Art and Forest Camp’ for children aged 5 -13, thats runs during term holidays. Their aim is to allow children opportunities to really explore their creativity and imagination in a fully supportive environment in order to build self esteem and allow each individual the freedom and confidence to lose their inhibitions and express themselves.