Yesterday, I stopped by Laura Bender and John Early's new home studio in Portland, Oregon. Along the virgin walls hung a collection of Laura's newest work, some of which she calls Tree Portraits. They are lush, textured, and explore the intersection between flatness and depth. She achieves this by creating textured shapes with hard edges that look like they are paper shapes pasted over each other but are actually painted. The shapes also seem to move back and forth. Laura achieves this effect without the use of opaque or even saturated paint. Instead, she creates fields of color using thin brush strokes that end up referencing fields of grass. Other shapes are built from delicate textures using thin washes of paint. The result is an overall feeling of looking beyond and behind. I felt as if I were an insect flying through a magical plant scape.
Laura and John's studio is open by appointment if you want to see these gorgeous paintings in person. You can also sign up for "Tis the Season of Light", a seasonal workshop Laura is offering on December 6th or 13th, 10 am-3 pm. Learn new skills and produce take home gifts or seasonal decorations. The two projects offered this year are batik wall hangings and folded transparent stars. $60 includes all materials. Studio is located at 330 SE 52nd Ave, Portland, OR. Contact Laura at 503-788-2064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.