Facing Fears - A Conversation with Laura Pope

Laura Pope is an amazing person. She is an incredible artist, a wonderful friend and a dynamo who is leading an international organization of spiritually connected artists called The Society of Layerists in Multi-Media. Mary Nelson is the founder of the organization and Laura is the acting president of the group. Mary Nelson writes, The Society of Layerists in Multi–Media (SLMM) is a network for artists who express a holistic perspective in any style or medium. Layering is not a label for a specific technique, such as collage. It is a way to think about creating art as a synthesis of ideas from many sources: the sciences, philosophy, metaphysics, experience, and imagination. The layers in Layered art are the references and meaning that the artist brings to the work rather than the materials used to create it. As a society, we are focused on the intentions of the artist.

Laura has a background in theatre costume design, advertising, marketing, display, special events and promotions. She says, I made the decision to turn my attention full-time to creating fine art. I have never looked back!

My work is a culmination of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects I experience at a particular time. Starting with random marks and strokes, I add many layers of colour to allow unexpected images to appear. I let the paint ‘speak to me’ and tell me what it wants to become. Over the years, I have had the good fortune to work with very gifted artists who have encouraged me to tap into my intuition for inspiration and subject matter. Their influence is still apparent in my work today.

In my books and courses I teach I am always asking what your story is. This is not about the painting itself, but what are the layers that are going into this creative process? Your creativity reveals your story of who you are whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, you have a story. I have been honored to be a member of this group for many years and Laura and Mary have become great mentors and friends. I recently had time to be with Laura and we were sharing some of our stories. I was very taken with a family story she shared about living through her worst fears and how coming through the experience has added to her story and her art. I asked Laura if she would be willing to share some of her stories with us today and she graciously accepted.

Laura, thank you for sharing your wisdom and words with us today.

Where do you find your deepest inspiration?

My deepest inspiration comes from within me – I become the conduit for the spiritual energy to flow through me and speak through the medium I am using at the time.

Has there ever been a time when the well ran dry and what did you do?

Yes there was! – I actually went into an ‘artist’s block’ and was afraid to paint. I think that happened because I got very caught up in my head thinking what would my next series be? Would it be any good? Would my gallery and the public like it? The book, ‘the Artist’s Way’ by Julie Cameron helped me to work through this period – I found myself journaling 9-12 pages a day instead of the suggested 2-3. I realized I was taking my work far too seriously and it became stressful instead of fun or fulfilling. I needed to allow myself to ‘play’ again! To fail! To just enjoy the process again!

We all hope to avoid facing our worst fears but how has living through them enriched your life?

I did have the opportunity to face the biggest fear that I had had since I was 16 – it was a health issue and my doctors did not expect me to live. But I did and after I recovered, I have always thought of it as a gift because I had to draw upon the courage and strength deep inside of me that I had no idea was there. I felt empowered and fearless – I knew that no matter what the adversity, if I stayed positive I could work through it and get to a better place.

What have you found is on the other side of fear?

Now when the unexpected happens I take a deep breath and prioritize and take things one step at a time – I take note of what I am learning through the process – because if we can learn through the experience we can become better – a better person, a better artist.

How has this contributed to your creative process?

It has helped me to be free in my studio – to let the creative juices flow and let the unexpected happen! I now appreciate the process more than the outcome and trust that in the end, a story will be told.