Welcome to Profile of the Week! We are delighted to present Laura Luisa Cowell from Skokie, IL, USA.

Laura creates an eclectic range of work, including realistic dog portraits, stylized portraits, and more. To see more of Laura's artwork, visit her gallery: http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...

When you view her portfolio, be sure to click on the images to view them larger!

Please join us for this interview with Laura:

How would you describe your art?

Eclectic. I don’t have a set style. I’ve done works that are very realistic and then others that are very stylized. Even a bit surrealistic. As a trained set designer and scenic artist, I had to learn to work in whatever style was appropriate for the occasion.

How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. As a very little girl I remember looking around at other kids’ work in art class, and knowing for dead certain, that mine was much better. I know that sounds terrifically conceited, probably is, but that’s what I thought.

As a kid my mother couldn’t keep up with my art supply needs. Recently we were talking, and I confessed that I used to tear out the last pages of her books to use as drawing paper. She didn’t believe me. I suggested she go over to her book shelf and open up one of her old books that would have been around back in the sixties. She did, and the very first one, was missing the back pages. I did it very neatly. Took her fifty years to find out. Ha!

What is your favorite medium and why?

Don’t have one. I’ve worked with many many types of mediums along the way. But I mostly paint now, even though I’d love to do more sculpting. But funds and space to work are a hindrance. In the best of all possible worlds, I’d have a giant studio in a barn where I could change from one medium to another at will. Wouldn’t all of you? And of course an assistant to clean up the messes. Groovy!

Pick one work of art from your Art Colony portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?

None of my work has any meaning. At least not intentionally. Could be I’m just very shallow. Sometimes I’ll create a work that “looks” like it has meaning. When asked what it means I say “What does it mean to you?” Then I just agree with them. To me, art is for the viewer, not the artist. I like to make people smile when they see my work. I let then interpret it as they like.

A painting I call “Mock Turtle Soup” (shown above) is maybe a good example. I worked from a picture of some sea turtles, popped them into a picture I found of an old bookstore, and painted my cat looking on. Means absolutely nothing. I swear. Still it’s kind of surprising to see. Kitty looks a little surprised also.

Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.

There are a lot of new sculpting mediums out there now. Self drying clays that don’t shrink and don’t need to be fired. Very expensive though. At least from what I’ve seen.

Is there an element of making art that you enjoy the most, and why?

I think being done is my favorite part. Done is good. When it’s a commission, that’s when I get paid. Love that part! It should happen way more often.

If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?

I love working in my garden for several hours before getting down to work. That really is my perfect art day.

If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?

My first knee jerk response is Van Gogh. It might be fun to spend the day sewing his ear back on. In lieu I of that, I’d say Dali. He always seemed totally mad to me. In a good way. Maybe we could play dress ups and wear mustaches. His wardrobe was wild also.

Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?

Enjoy what you do, but never ever, think that you’re going to be able support yourself. I know that sounds snarky. However I’m 58 years old and I’ve learned a few things along the way. It doesn't matter how talented you are. Almost no one makes a living as an artist. You can get by, but that’s only fun until you turn thirty or so. Sorry to be a downer. I go a little nutty when I think of the thousands of art students who graduate every year without any training or experience to earn a living.

My training was as a set designer. I worked in theater, dance, ballet, opera movies and TV for many years. Eventually I moved into special events where I spent more years designing sets and centerpieces for large parties and corporate events. Over the years I had dozens of young artists work in my department. Many times the art school graduates were, although very talented, without the ability to travel in the adult world.

Bottom line, take the art classes, but get a degree in business, or agriculture, or languages. Whatever. You can still follow your muse, but a pay check is still a must. Useful for buying art supplies too.

Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to create. Encourage other people to find that in themselves. I hear so often “oh I can’t even draw a stick figure.” Everyone can create. They've just never had the encouragement. Help them find their muse. And maybe that inner piece we get with our paint, or clay or whatever.

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Aloha Laura....CONGRATULATIONS for being bestowed the title of POTW this week!....it is well deserved my dear!....love your matter-of-fact attitude and your spectacular artworks....thank you for sharing your art journey with us....it was a pleasure to read....enjoy your time in the spotlight! BRAVO!

Love love love your work! Congratulations!

Laura, beautiful art, I love yor animal portraits as well as your whimsical work!

Your work is great!

You capture the faces of the dogs in such a way that I want to snuggle up and give them kisses.  Really beautiful work.

You capture the faces of the dogs in such a way that I want to snuggle up and give them kisses.  Really beautiful work.

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