Laura's Autobiography

My name is Laura, but you may know me as @a_minute_with_me on Instagram. Maybe you have noticed my illustrations here, in John's awesome blog or in some idiom featured on @johnsenglishpage.
For thirty years I have been doing this job with my husband. We were classmates at school but in addition to illustration, he also deals with trompe-l'oeil, wall decorations and pictorial restoration. If it weren't for him, I would probably now be a writer rather than an artist.
In this field, it takes years to get the necessary dexterity, conception and vision of the finished piece in order to obtain decent results. There are many sacrifices that you have to make: patient observation, drawing until your fingers become stiff and your eyes inflame, recognising mistakes with humility, throwing dozens of sheets of paper into the bin and starting over without getting discouraged. If you get do get discouraged, then you don't have the true calling!
Often you soon need to start wearing glasses, and yes, like any self-respecting artist, you never strike gold during your lifetime -Van Gogh, Caravaggio and scores of other artists know something about that! :) -
After becoming a mother, I started working from home to bring up my son, and this has the added benefit of greatly influencing creativity.
During the day I dedicate myself to research and study related to the theme of the project, the sketches, the colour palette and which technique to use.
These are all functions that I can interrupt and resume without problems between shopping at the supermarket (sometimes that's where new ideas come up) waiting for the washing machine to finish the wash cycle or taking care of my beloved cat. On the other hand, I work at night when I have to finish a job and there is no more time for mistakes; absolute silence favours a continuous workflow and optimal concentration.
Whether it's a copy of a Sorolla painting, an oil portrait, a botanical panel, a custom bookmark or a humorous illustration, it makes no difference - the commitment is the same. There is never anything taken for granted in illustrating a subject, not even when you have acquired experience: it is always a new test in which you have to combine what you want to convey and what the customer expects from you - or the viewer, in the event of an exhibition.
While making a copy of a painting or a botanical table requires only precision and technical skill, everything else gives me the opportunity to express myself more by abandoning stylistic rigour and playing with different techniques to convey the message (and to be honest, that's what I really prefer!)
The final result of my work must produce an effect similar to listening to a song: it displaces you a bit, maybe gives you joy or makes you feel blue with melancholy. Sometimes it brings up a memory that you have buried. It makes you vibrate with energy for a second and then your feet return to the ground and it’s life as usual.
I think this is why I avoid using computer graphics programs. There are excellent artists (who I admire a great deal), who use these programs. But for me, it is important that the whole creative process goes from my head to my hands without intermediaries, to create an authentic human continuum with the final recipient.
People who contact me always require something special and I talk to them to get in tune with their needs. I like this phase because there is a beautiful moment of connection.
When I ask my clients "Are you happy with what I have done for you?" and the answer is yes, I know that together we have reached a destination that does not exist on any geographic map. And if the answer is no, we start all over again by reanalysing everything, which is a good way to nourish understanding between artist and client. I love my job like few things in the world.
I always have a lot of fun when I draw for John, every time it's like taking a ride to the playground, and I hope that you who are reading will experience this effect too when you look at my illustrations in "Lady Gyppo's horoscope of the month" or in "Something good will come out of it! - Recipes for Dummies-" or on his wonderful Instagram page @johnsenglishpage
Oh, and what’s the most irritating question of all for an artist?
- What do you do for a living?
- I’m a painter and illustrator.
- Wow, great, really wonderful! But what work do you do?

You can follow Laura's amazing Instagram page here
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