Laurie Schirmer Carpenter
"(Carpenter's) oils are meditations on solitude that capture with breathtaking fidelity the vibrant break of dawn or the subtle descent of dusk." John Carlos Cantu, Art Critic for the Ann Arbor (MI) News.
I grew up in northwestern Illinois and graduated from Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado with a degree in English Literature in 1967. Once my daughters entered junior high school, I returned to school at the University of Colorado, Denver to study art, graduating With Distinction with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History in 1988. I have been painting full time since then. When my husband was transferred to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1990 I became reacquainted with my Midwestern roots and developed an interest in the landscape, especially the skies, which are often depicted in my paintings. Moving to northwestern Indiana in 2006, I continues to paint the landscape and skies of the Great Lakes region.
Paintings are about seeing. For the landscape painter they are about seeing a particular place at a definite moment in time and capturing the essence of what is seen on a two-dimensional surface in paint. For the viewer it is also about seeing. Looking at a finished work, the viewer enters a dialogue with the artist that is based upon each of their perceptions of what is seen. Today's culture of novelty and social media often lacks the complexity of the deeper reflection called for in the dialogue between artist and viewer. Paintings, first and foremost, are ideas made visual and open the possibility of finding quiet centers of contemplation in their viewing.
The landscape grows, changes, dies, renews but always endures. While my oil paintings are a chronicle of the land as I see it, they are also visual ideas of the land - the essence of its beauty, vastness, peace and strength. I hope to convey these emotions to those who look at my paintings and trust that they will find their own quiet center in this dialogue.
I have been influenced by the 19th century German Romanticist, Caspar David Friedrich, and by the Luminist Painters of the Hudson River School. Their ability to convey the universality and timeless quality of the land, while giving the impression of a particular place at a particular point in time, inspire me.
The paintings are based upon on-site sketches, plein air paintings, photographs and, most importantly, memory. Using these references, the pieces are created in the studio over a perios of several weeks or months. They may be a composite of several places or, wholly or in part, the result of my imagination. My paintings begin, for me, with seeing and end with seeing better into the spirit of place and time.