Laurel Buchanan is an artist in awe of nature. Constantly amazed by the intricacy and beauty of the natural world, she is passionate about capturing it on canvas so that others will pause to view nature more deeply, to see the wonder of it, and find joy in it.
To accomplish that, Laurel paints mostly plein air, spending a great deal of time outdoors, in all sorts of weather. Her medium is oil paints, which are rich in color, and maintain their color when they dry. Oils also stay wet longer than other paints, which allows Laurel to work a painting as a writer might work a poem or a song, changing various elements as the painting progresses, in order to better support the main theme. In her mind a painting is similar to a musical composition in that it should be consistent in pattern, flow, movement and feeling. Using colors, values, and strokes instead of notes, she seeks to establish a strong sense of rhythm and mood, even while portraying truths about a scene, an object, or a figure. Her brush strokes might be short and small, or large and expressive, depending upon the feeling or texture she seeks to convey. Her works are not finished until she feels both the balance of the design and the freshness and vitality of the brush strokes.
Laurel’s love of the natural world, as well as her ability to see in nature what many do not notice, developed during her first eighteen years of life at the beaches, among the citrus groves, and in the mountains of California. She took up drawing at an early age, capturing many of the outdoor subjects that she enjoyed, and painted her first oil painting at age twelve.
Her formal training as an artist included studies first at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and then at California State University, Long Beach, where she completed a bachelor’sdegree in art. After college, she worked in southern California in high-end textile production, graphic design, gift-wrap design, and display design, but always planned to return to her first love in art, drawing and painting. Moves to northern California in 1989, and then to Oregon in 2001, provided her with opportunities to make a transition back to fine art, and to discover her passion for plein air painting.
Laurel resides in Corvallis, Oregon, with her childhood sweetheart and husband of thirty-three years, Andy. Together they have raised four beautiful and very creative children. She maintains a deep love of mothering, love for people, and a tender, nurturing heart. As well, she is a firm believer that the Maker and Master Artist of all nature made people to be creative, as He is creative, and she loves to encourage others in their own creative endeavors.
Artistic influence for Laurel has come from ongoing study of California landscape impressionists, such as Edgar Payne, Hanson Puthuff and William Wendt. Childe Hassam is another historical American Impressionist whose works have heavily impacted Laurel’s paintings. She has also learned from workshops with master painters Ray Roberts and Eric Jacobsen. Other teachers have included Westmont College art professor, John Carlander, and California Bay Area portrait artist, Linda Harris.