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Preparing For A Temporary Move: En Route To Michigan!

I’ve got some news to share… In a just couple of days, I will be taking a plane headed for the U.S.! I’m trying to mentally prepare for the shock of not only venturing further than my front door, or the much-walked streets of my neighbourhood, but crossing the Atlantic and setting up house for a year in Michigan! While this is only a temporary move, spending a year in another country certainly entails sorting out a whole lot of life things!

There has been much anticipation surrounding this upcoming move. I’m thinking of the new adventures I’ll have, the new landscapes that will influence the themes of my paintings, and the opportunity to meet new people & hopefully make some connections with others in the arts. At the same time, many questions have been swirling around in my mind: What should I leave behind and take with me to continue my painting practice? What does this mean for my still-available paintings? How can I plan for my business during this year abroad? In the following, I’ll share what I’ve planned so far and what I’m looking forward to…

Looking at my open, empty suitcase, the question of what to bring in terms of my painting materials is easily answered: not much! I will be bringing my trusty brushes, some of which have been with me for years and were previously my grandfather’s, passed down to me. Due to space, weight, and the messiness of paint, I will be leaving much of the rest of my atelier behind. While the cost of stocking up on materials is daunting, the opportunity of trying out new materials is exciting! Perhaps I’ll experiment with different types of paint, pastels, or inks!

Beyond the suitcase, I’ve been thinking about what this means for my business. Over the last several months, I have developed my website and webshop, invested in marketing and promotion, and have had some success in selling via other online platforms, including Saatchi Art and Catawiki. Here’s how I will continue my business during the next year:

  • With packing and shipping support here in Belgium, I am able to continue to run my webshop and keep my paintings available on other online points of sale. This means, if you are interested in purchasing a painting already for sale, you can do so with ease. Please get in touch if you have any questions. If you’re interested in finding out more about my packaging process, read about it here.
  • Biweekly blogs and, for my subscribers, newsletters with studio updates, will stay the same! Become a subscriber here!

In reflecting on how I would like my year in the U.S. to go, I’ve come up with three general themes to guide my actions and decisions: Exploration, Experimentation, & Development.

Exploration: I have spent a grand total of one weekend in Michigan thus far. I don’t know a lot about it. I hear there are lakes, forests, and a lot of coast. In Ann Arbor, where I will be living, there are many farmers’ markets and seasonal delights, like apple cider! I look forward to exploring the city and the surrounding landscapes, which I am sure will influence my work.

I am also excitedly anticipating reuniting with my Canadian family, who I have not seen since January 2020. I expect my new themes will also be influenced by spending some time in the Canadian Maritimes provinces. Perhaps some more works that focus on the red cliffs of the Fundy coast will come about.

Experimentation: As mentioned above, I plan on taking this opportunity to expand my experimentation with materials. This past year, I have mainly painted using acrylics on stretched cotton or linen canvas. The constraints of travel inspire flexibility and creativity. I’m bringing sketchbooks with me and plan to work more frequently on paper, in addition to making paintings on canvas. I’m looking forward to seeing how mixing it up with materials influences my style.

Development: My goal for this year abroad is to continue to develop my technical painterly skills, to stay curious and follow my evolving interests in subjects and themes, and to grow my business by continuing to invest in marketing and networking both on and offline.

I will be making new work while in the U.S., which I will share as collections and/or series. A goal of mine is to exhibit some of this work while in the U.S.

While there are some things we can plan for in life—where to go and what to pack—there are many aspects that remain a surprise. I’m as ready as I can be for this adventure and look forward to discovering what Michigan has to offer!

Thanks for reading!

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Frame Reflections

Framing artwork is very personal. A frame should work well with the artwork it houses—highlighting the piece but not distracting from it—and it should work well in the space in which the artwork is displayed. Choosing a frame therefore can be a delicate balance between artwork and environment: a question of design. I like the look of both unframed and framed paintings. My personal favourite style of frame is minimalistic—but of course, it depends on the work and the space!

When it came to framing my forest landscape paintings for gallery display, I went with a simple, thin, white-painted wood “floating frame.” This style of frame leaves a small bit of space between the painting and the frame to give this “floating” look to the canvas inside. By leaving the edges of the canvas somewhat visible, depth is created, and the painting is really showcased. That extra space highlights the work with a simple outline while not closing in on it or distracting from it.

After a good experience at Akwarel in De Haan, where I had my forest paintings framed, I went back to have my “De Haan Sunset” and “Dandelions” framed in the same way.

These frames are 4 cm in depth, which lends a nice sturdiness to the work while still maintaining the lightness of the white finished thin edges. The edges of the frame are 0.5 cm wide, which again serves to highlight the work in a subtle way.

The frames are equipped with a hanging piece on the back and are ready for display!

Thanks to Eline Verellen for the photos of “De Haan Sunset” and “Dandelions”.    

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Welcome to Laura K. Smith Paintings! This website is dedicated to my painting practice and it serves a few different purposes:

First, it is my online portfolio—a place to share my paintings. I work in series and collections. Since 2020, I have been developing my Forest Series, and most recently, since 2021, a collection within the series has taken shape: my Sculptural Trees paintings.

Second, this website functions as the online point of sale for my work. Through my webshop, I sell original acrylic paintings, high-quality poster reproductions of my paintings, and cards. If you have any questions about my products or are interested in learning more about working with me on a commissioned project, don’t hesitate to get in touch (see the Contact Page).

Finally, this website serves as my painting blog (welcome to the first post!) where I write about my painting process and share what inspires me (as you can see from my landscape themes, it is nature and its colours, light, movement, shadow, and form—but also music, art history, literature, and lately: podcasts!). New blogs are posted every second Wednesday.

Thanks for visiting!    

If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe to my blog to get updates on my latest posts and receive 10% off your first purchase.

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