In my youth I envisioned beautiful magical birds and avidly frequented and lost myself in the woods and flower gardens of my childhood dwellings. I had this understanding of flowers, animals and natural beauty ever since I was a child and I experienced a communion with them. I was able to communicate my feelings through my paintings and these feelings could be grasped in an instant without spoken words. The symbols expressed, in a silent language, the beauty of the hidden world through the sense of Feeling. I was entranced by fairy tales, which I feel also have a secret language of an inner world unique to each culture. I longed to bring heaven on earth. While communing with Nature, somehow I knew that an Inner Garden, in perfect harmony, was very much alive within me!
To bring my Unconscious Mind into Consciousness has been my life’s work. At an early age I was able to convey feelings in my art using the language of form and color. I remember in the 2nd grade when we studied China, I seemed to have a natural grasp of Calligraphy, this dance with the brush like a ballet. This was feeling in action. I would paint Chinese ladies and birds too. I loved the Tales of the Arabian Nights with Scheherazade and lavish illustrations by Edmond Dulac and Maxfield Parrish.
I was deeply affected by my Russian heritage. On my seventh birthday, I was ushered into a new world of magnificent art and music: The Bolshoi Ballet's debut in America of The Nutcracker Suite at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City!
The inspiration I drew from the great artists of the 1900’s, whose collaboration in the arts of music, dance, choreography, painted sets and costume design created the stunning, exhilarating performances of the Diaghilev Ballet Russe, expresses my joy of combining all the art forms into one.
I attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City, Philadelphia College of Art and the New York Studio School Of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture started by Hans Hoffman. While painting in the Studio School one day in 1972, the black and white drab tapestry before me suddenly was transformed into massive color shapes like islands breaking apart in space. Perhaps my visit to Tangier, Morocco the previous summer had indelibly imprinted my consciousness with its intensely vibrant and colorful landscape.
Later that year, I was introduced to Persian Miniatures through Nizami’s: Leyli and Majnun and instantly recognized my heart's calling. I said, “This is my life and I have to paint these pictures!” I felt its poetical symbolism and imagery matched my beautiful inner world. I longed to express this! I began to paint from its Persian Miniatures. I realized that here was a symbolic language spoken through the paintings and the poetry and I was determined to grasp its meaning.
In 2003-2004, I journeyed to Iran three times, spending three months painting in its glorious gardens on each trip. It was in Shiraz that I discovered my Inner Garden and I painted this Outer Garden: “The Garden of Paradise”, Bagh-e-Eram, which made me capable of painting the Inner Garden within me. In 2004, The Shiraz Cultural Institute told me my paintings resembled the ancient Shiraz School of Miniature Painting. They said they would be proud to call me a Shirazi artist from then on. I remembered that the Shiraz School painted the original Persian Miniature Paintings of "Leyli and Majnun" and I felt I had come full circle! The Shiraz School, with its predominantly Chinese influence was founded after Genghis Khan’s armies invaded Persia in the 14th century. Mongol rulers brought Chinese artisans through the Silk Road, the great trade route linking the East with the West.
The Foreign Ministry granted me a show of my paintings at the Tomb Shrine of Hafez in Shiraz in December of 2004. Mr. Navid of The Shiraz Cultural Institute said, "Laurie is from the West and we are from the East but her paintings show the Real Dialogue Among Civilizations." I asked him what that meant and he said, "Our President Khatami gave a speech and said, 'What we need is not war between Civilizations but the Real Dialogue among Civilizations.'" Mr. Navid explained to the group, "Artists might say this line isn't right or that line isn't right, but Laurie paints with Feeling, and that's something new!" In 2007, the paintings were exhibited at the United Nations: “Shiraz, City of Paradise, The Real Dialogue Among Civilizations.”
I revel in the joyful divine fragrance issuing from the unseen realms mirrored in the ecstatic form and movement of the birds, flowers, and Nature’s magical living landscape. I call this my Inner-Outer World. This is how I can bring Heaven on Earth! It is already here, if one knows how to extract its essence like a perfume and open the container to release its fragrance. I do not want to tell a story with my art, I wish to reveal the intoxicating expressions I see-feel in Nature and Nature’s perfect symmetry that is timeless.
My gift from God is the interpretation of beauty and feeling from the unseen world with my brush onto paper. Since finding the Garden of Paradise in Shiraz, Iran, my Inner and Outer World have become One. I paint what I feel and I am a medium for this work of transferring this awareness to the world. This is my Living Art.