An Artist’s Process: A Painting Demonstration by Lauren Sansaricq
December 2, 2012 by Hawthorne Fine Art
Lauren Sansaricq (b.1991), whose landscape paintings are inspired by the artists of the Hudson River School and are represented by Hawthorne Fine Art, recently performed an exciting artist demonstration at the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm College, where her work is on exhibit until December 6, 2012.
This event featured one of Lauren’s hauntingly beautiful nocturnal scenes illuminated by a pulsing full moon, and demonstrated the process of drawing, underpainting, and the final glazing. She selected a nocturnal scene in order to show the clear transition from underpainting to a richer finished image once glazing is complete. After drawing out her composition, Lauren spent time building up the primarily monochromatic underpainting—often called the dead color stage. The choice of a nocturnal scene, according to Lauren, was successful in revealing the importance of determining the tonal values of the whole image in relation to the drawn arrangement. Lauren began painting concentric circles outward from the central full moon, deepening the color and warmth of the pigment as she progressed. Fr. Iain MacLellan, Director of the Chapel Art Center, noted that visitors were especially amazed by the quickness with which Lauren transformed pigment from her brush into naturalistic form, as if by magic! He stated that Lauren’s “apparent learnedness and deftness with pigments and brush” were especially impressive and exciting for viewers.
Since the underpainting must dry before glazes can be applied, Lauren had prepared another panel ahead of time with the same composition in order to show visitors how to glaze a painting. As Lauren explained, glazing uses thin layers of transparent paint to enhance the colors and shadows of a painting in a way that creates richness but preserves the lightness or freshness of the paint.
This impressive demonstration provided an illuminating experience for visitors not only into the technical aspect of creating a painting and the extensive care and work that goes into each image, but also the intense emotional part of Lauren’s work. Fr. Iain mentioned that the demonstration revealed “the real purity of intent on the part of the artist. [Lauren] relayed in a quiet and forthright way… the fullness of the experiences she has had with the almost unsurpassable beauty of the brilliant moon at night.” One visitor’s question, which the artist found particularly inspiring, was in regard to the spiritual quality of her work. The visitor asked how Lauren’s technique enhanced this spiritual feeling. Lauren responded that her glazing technique and scumbling (glazing with a more opaque paint) would help call a viewer’s attention to one particular element of the painting. This element, as Lauren says, “should tell a story of the journey we are all on for enlightenment and ultimately the Truth.”
Lauren’s technical prowess and reverence for nature as conveyed through painting reflect the ideals expressed by the nineteenth century American landscape painters of the Hudson River School. While the demonstration is especially significant for its illumination of Lauren’s own working process and personal connection to the subjects she depicts, it also reveals the important techniques, pigments, and types of brushes used by historic artists. This very special event, which so brilliantly supplemented the exhibition of her work, The Glimmer of Light, “became a living metaphor for how to enlighten others,” said Fr. Iain, and “how to bring light out of darkness with materials, methods, perception, and memory.”
In addition to Lauren’s demonstration, the exhibition at Saint Anselm College was recently supplemented with a lecture by David Dearinger, Susan Morse Hilles Curator of Paintings & Sculpture at the Boston Athenaeum. Dr. Dearinger’s talk introduced the Hudson River School, focusing on the development of the art movement through the careers of three major artists—Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, and Frederic Church—all of whom found painting subjects and artistic inspiration in the Hudson River Valley and Catskill Mountains of New York State.
The Glimmer of Light: Landscape Paintings by Lauren Sansaricq will be on view at the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, until December 6th. We hope you will have an opportunity to visit the exhibition! To enjoy more of Lauren’s paintings, please view the PDF catalogue of the artist’s previous exhibition at Hawthorne Fine Art, Nature’s Poetry.