Lauren Adams studied visual and studio art at Fairmont State University, painted en plein air for many years, and has since transitioned to abstract, large-scale works by rolling out raw canvas and painting directly onto the surface with acrylics. The West Virginia-based painter took some time to discuss her work, creative process, and a typical day in the life of a working artist.
How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
It’s been a long, winding path that started in college. My work has been through several phases over the last 15 years. The changes have been quite a process, but what I am always most interested in reflecting on is how the work is still connected. I spent most of my time in college studying the figure through live model gesture drawing/painting (met my future husband—Minted artist Derek Overfield in a figure-drawing course!). Upon graduating university, I worked for years on plein air painting, directly observing the landscape as opposed to the figure. In 2011, I began doing small, more expressive studies on paper and then decided I wanted to translate them to canvas. I wanted to grow the scale of my work plus emphasize the expression of the landscape and experiences felt (versus on-location observation), so I moved back into the studio and utilized one of the methods that I had touched on in school, but hadn’t spent much time with—stained canvas painting, only on a primed substrate. The possibilities felt limitless and I’ve loved it ever since! All of these phases involve embracing the physical work of painting: the gesture of your entire body, your engagement with the process. A celebration of life.
Did you study art formally in school?
Yes, I hold a BA Interdisciplinary Degree in Studio Art and French along with a BFA in Visual Art.
Where do you currently reside?
I live in North-Central West Virginia, in the Allegheny Plateau. It’s great because we have quick access to many beautiful lakes and rivers along with gorgeous views of ancient mountains, yet are still within a day trip to cities like Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.
Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
A typical day starts with coffee and a small breakfast, a bit of morning reading, and reviewing my plan for the day. If there are urgent emails or client questions, I will get to those first. Personally, I find that once those most pressing things are completed, I can then focus easier on my work, without distractions. I will spend the rest of the day painting, either inside (accompanied by my cat) or outside if the weather is decent enough (not too much rain in the forecast). Then dinner with my husband and some exercise. The evenings will be packing any orders, answering other emails that have come through, ordering supplies we have run out of, or sometimes an additional painting session in the summer when it stays light out later. Then it’s time for some rest, with Netflix or reading.
What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I don’t know if it qualifies as a rule, but I attempt to keep my daily focus on gratitude. It seems to help with everything else.
Please describe your last month in a word.
What are you serious about?
What are some keys to balancing work and life?
I think sometimes you have to understand that there is no perfect balance—certainly not every day. And maybe that’s okay. I’m guilty of over-planning and it took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to schedule that “perfect balance” in my life. Shifts will happen and certain seasons will come and go. I personally try to watch out for self-care, making sure I am getting fairly consistent exercise, eating healthy foods (for the most part!), and working on maintaining a positive attitude.
Click through to read more from Minted artist Lauren Adams…
What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
Right now I’m really loving rolling out raw canvas and painting with acrylics directly onto the surface with gestures and washes.
When did you begin painting/drawing/etc.?
I began to seriously create art as a freshman in college. I was hugely inspired by a professor I had at that time, Lynn Boggess. He has long since retired from teaching but now enjoys a well-deserved successful career as a plein air painter.
Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
How do you approach your art?
How would you describe your artistic style?
Abstract, Gestural, Minimal, Nature-inspired
Please tell us about your studio space.
My husband and I share a renovated area in our little 1930s home, but we also use the garage and I personally have been painting outside in our driveway—I love the energy and momentum you get from painting outdoors. It feels good to be back outside.
What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Go for a walk, take a break. Get away for a bit. Revisit my inspiration. But ultimately, be present in the studio and do the work, even if it’s not turning out.
What are you working on now?
Large-scale paintings on raw canvas
What are some responses you’ve received to your work?
People who enjoy my work usually comment on how vibrant and individual it is.
What advice would you give other artists?
This is always a tough question. Every artist’s path will be different; I always hesitate to give out advice. I would say perhaps a good, general piece of advice might be to periodically check in with yourself, make sure you are creating your honest, authentic work. The work that only you can do.
How did you first hear about Minted?
Honestly, I can’t remember how I discovered Minted, but I was excited to enter my first competition, as I hadn’t done anything like that in some time.
What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
I love how Minted spreads the joy of art and design—everyone deserves art in their life!
Lauren’s Favorite Things
We asked Lauren to share her current favorite cultural and art inspirations.
Who inspires you: My husband
Favorite recent discovery: Colorado
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite charity: The Humane Society
Favorite colors: Blue, yellow
Favorite city: Paris
Last stamp on your passport: Nice, France
Song in your head: David Bowie’s “5 Years”
Favorite pieces of art in your home: Sentimental pieces—drawings my husband and I created in college or the portrait of my grandmother
Pets: My two cats
Favorite flowers: Lily of the valley, sunflowers, daffodils
Favorite gadgets: All the kitchen tools
Favorite dessert: Chocolate cake!
Coffee-table book: My Frida Kahlo book
Favorite snack: Right now it’s cucumbers from my mother’s garden
What’s in your Netflix queue: Star Trek: The Original Series
Favorite works of art: Helen Frankenthalers “Jacob’s Ladder,” Caravaggio’s “Salome (Madrid),” anything from Pat Steir, Agnes Martin, or Cy Twombly
Favorite art supply store: Utrecht
Favorite brushes: Liquitex Freestyles
Photos: Courtesy of Lauren Adams1 COMMENT