Laura Boswell has a distinctly economical way of regarding a view. With a sharp eye for the most important and aesthetically pleasing or telling elements, she strips everything else away, until all that remains are a few colours, sweeping lines, and a sense of utter serenity.
For me there’s an impression of having struggled uphill or through a tangled forest, and then happened upon the most beautiful, breath-taking, equilibrium-restoring scene.
Laura studied printmaking at university, but then went into the photographic industry. “It was only in my forties with the loan of a printing press that I began work again as an artist, and I sort of fell into it as a career,” she says. “ My main drive was that my work should be good enough to sell to strangers, rather than amassing a drawer full of prints, so by that very ambition, rather than by planning, I became a fulltime artist.”
Likewise, Laura’s affinity for linocut and Japanese watercolour woodblock printing came about through practicality.
“I was the only student in my year to embrace printmaking and, from necessity, I found I could work on lino alone and still achieve good results,” she says. “Consequently it became the focus of my work. Japanese woodblock I admired, but knew nothing of the technique until I studied in Japan (again a chance comment from a friend led to that residency) where I found that Japanese woodblock’s subtle painterly quality was such a good counterpoint to linocut that the two techniques give me everything I need for a lifetime’s printmaking.”
Laura’s landscapes and shorelines have a wonderful lightness and elegance about them, which is due in part to her overarching aims for each piece.
“I think I try to give people space and room to escape through my work – a private escape for the viewer,” she says. “I also hope to catch something of the familiar for the viewer – the feel of a remembered walk or view. My main ambition is to allow my viewer a quiet moment of pleasure and peace.”
Mission accomplished most beautifully, in that case.
“I get a lot of ideas from craft-made items, such as textiles, jewellery, and ceramics,” Laura says. “Since my work is chiefly about shape and colour, inspiration can come from anywhere. I do love a good transport poster and spend a lot of time simply looking at historical prints and engravings. Of course, mainly I work with landscape so do a lot of staring and sketching outside.”
More recently, teaching has become “an essential part” of Laura’s artistic life. “It challenges me and keeps me on my toes,” she comments. “It allows me to put my thoughts and methods into words and it always encourages me to rush home and work. I also get a genuine thrill out of coaxing a good print from my students and that happy feeling has to be good for my own work.”
The best part of Laura’s life as an artist is simple. “The fierce delight of beginning a new project. I can’t think of anything else as purely pleasurable as working on a set of design drawings and then working towards a finished project, whether that’s a commission or a personal project or even my annual Christmas card!”
Discover more of Laura’s work, plus a list of the galleries that stock Laura’s work along with full details of shows and events at www.lauraboswell.co.uk.
Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.