BY JASON A. ZWIKER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS
Just start Laurie Meyer talking about painting, that’s all it takes. As she wraps words like luscious and sensual around the subject, you realize that her enthusiasm isn’t puppy love—it’s passion.
Ask her how she creates such a soft and lovely look in her paintings and she speaks of the way that light, changing its warmth and color throughout the day, plays on her emotions like music. “I’m moved emotionally by the warm late-day colors,” she says. “It’s such a journey to capture it well.”
Her own journey to becoming a successful artist carried her across several careers outside the arts. But art was always there, in the margins.
“When I moved to Charleston in 1983, I was drawn to the group of watercolorists who were here in town at that time,” she says. “Most of these artists are now at the top of their careers.”
She was a teacher then, one who weaved lessons about the beauty of art into English class. “I was always incorporating drawing or some sort of artistic endeavor along with literature and writing lessons.”
Outside the classroom, she immersed herself in the works of Lowcountry watercolorists like Rhett Thurman. She learned much about the art of the painting in those days, but she still had a few more corners to round in the path of her life before becoming a full-time artist.
“After Hugo, I was no longer a teacher and no longer married. I did have a young child and I felt it was going to be difficult to make ends meet on a teacher’s salary, so I moved into a pharmaceutical career.”
“I found that art, in a strange but true way, entered into pharmaceutical sales. During that time, I was working with neurologists and became very involved with the Alzheimer’s Association.”
In 1994, she collaborated with several others to launch The Art of Alzheimer’s, using art as therapy in nursing homes.
“I was fortunate that I started with watercolor because it taught me about soft edges,” she says. “Edges are where you find the soul of a painting. The mind of the painting would be the very technical aspects: correct drawing technique, perspective, values. The heart is in the color and light.”
Those feelings flowered within her as she transitioned from watercolorist to oil painter. Her life as a whole was transformed as well. She re-married, raised three daughters, and achieved her dream of becoming a full-time artist. In addition to creating her own works of art, she teaches classes and workshops both locally and abroad. In May, she’ll teach “Painting Color under the Tuscan Sun” in Cortona, Italy.
She has a special love for painting landscapes, streetscapes, architecture and white hydrangeas in the warm afternoon light. “Soft suggestions in a painting allow the viewer to draw his own conclusion as to what the artist is trying to say.”
Her path has taken her many places and includes numerous highlights and accolades. She earned a blue ribbon at Piccolo-Spoleto, and served as Program Director and Director of Artistic Growth for the Charleston Artist Guild. She’s also a member of the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, the South Carolina Watercolor Association and the Portrait Society of America.
She is represented by the Wells Gallery in Charleston and The Wells at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, as well as galleries in Beaufort and Greenville, North Carolina.
Her representation by these galleries is among the milestones of which she is most proud as an artist. From the earliest years of her professional career, she told her children that someday her work would be shown in such venues.
Her many years of determination paid off. Today, what was once just a dream is now reality.
Located at 125 Meeting Street next to the Gibbes Museum of Art in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Wells Gallery features local and regional fine art. The mediums include oil paintings, bronze sculpture, glass sculpture and jewelry. A founding member of the Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Association and the French Quarter Gallery Association, the Wells Gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. An additional gallery is located in The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island. To view work and learn more about the artists, please contact the Wells Gallery at 843-853-3233 or visit www.wellsgallery.com.