Thursday, June 27, 2019

EXPLORING ART and ARTIST: Roberta Laliberte

Well, I am so happy to be back doing a blog spotlight on an upcoming artist who will be showing her work at the OOAK Artisan Showcase Gallery in Rome, NY! 

Roberta Laliberte is from Pine Falls, Manitoba, in Canada.  Living in this beautiful area has provided Roberta with inspiration and experiences that have influenced the development of the artwork that you will enjoy as you take a night out and enjoy her beautiful creations of art.  I had the opportunity to interview Roberta and learn about her background in art and what has inspired her, what moves her and what message her art is trying to share with us. 

You live in Canada? 

Yes, I live in Pine Falls Manitoba, a small community along the Winnipeg River, close to lake Winnipeg. 

Did you grow up there?

Yes, I left a few times for school but ended up back where I was raised.

At what age did you start taking an interest in art?

Probably birth! Seriously, for as long as I can remember I was drawing something, knitting something, building something. 

Were there any early influences that helped to shape your artistic direction?

Too many, and that's not a joke. It created a real problem for me because I became a gifted copyist. I could do anything, that was someone else's vision. I came to the realization a few years ago that I needed to pare it down and start to figure out what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it. It's still hard though, not to be overly influenced and at times; I literally close myself off to outside influence.

by Roberta Laliberte

I see a lot of what I believe is watercolor (the non-artist in me comes out!).  Was this the medium you started out using?

Well, both watercolor and acrylic really, although I never combined them. The old school ideas of pure mediums uncombined proliferated my beliefs right along side the idea that the more realistic I could make it the more talented I was. It takes a lifetime to gain the confidence to trust your gut. 

Have you ventured out to different mediums as well?

Actually, when you mentioned seeing a lot of watercolor in my work, you were actually looking at mixed media acrylics. Most of my current work is fluid acrylic on paper combined with pens, charcoal, pencil crayons, and different types of pastels, toss in some collage and then you have described my work. I only use watercolor now when I am out sketching, crawling, and creating reference material. Fooled you, didn't I?

by Roberta Laliberte

What medium (or combination of mediums) do you like the most and why?

In truth, I love combining them all, trying them all but the ones I mentioned previously are the ones you will find in every mixed media painting I create aside from collage.

by Roberta Laliberte

Looking at your artwork, I see a few themes.  A lot of nature, fields and woods and trees and water.  What does it mean for you to be in nature?  Is there a specific area that you visit to gather your inspiration?

It's funny, at one time I never would have dreamed I would consider myself a landscape artist. It's crazy but at one point I felt the need to drift from the idea that everything had to be detailed, I wanted to be loosely descriptive. Landscapes lend to that quite nicely so I guess it just sort of fell into place. It was a natural flow.

by Roberta Laliberte

What is "Art for Earth"?

It was an online multi artist workshop package offered as a fundraiser for Tree Sisters, an organization committed to reforestation put on by Tammara Laporte from Willowing. I was happy to contribute. 

I love your flowers, especially the poppy fields.  Do these flowers have a special meaning for you?

I just love them, all flowers really. 

by Roberta Laliberte

by Roberta Laliberte

Much of your art is realistic with a little twist of whimsical.  Is this a reflection of your life in any way?

I would say it is more of a reflection of my belief system. No matter how real life gets you have to find the whimsy and wonder in every day or you will grow bitter and bored with life. I want to be a kid at heart till the day I die and kids live with wonder. 

by Roberta Laliberte
CHECK out the video of the creation of this work!  The Rose Queen VIDEO

How has your artwork helped you develop as a human being and a woman?

I think it makes me happy. When you are happy, you are a better person, for everyone around you. So many people don't find their happy place and it makes me sad.

by Roberta Laliberte

Do you have another career other than art?  How have you been able to mesh these two together?

I have a hair salon in my home. It's a pretty natural combination in my opinion. It's like I am creating art on people and all the principals of color mixing works for me in both. I also teach in the school system doing integrated arts programming. 

You have begun to teach others to create art.  What inspires you, drives you as a teacher of art?

I have been holding some workshops.  Most of my workshops are mixed media acrylic. I do belong to a sketchcrawl group which is of course mainly sketching and watercolor. I do 'teach' attendees when they saunter by while I am working, but it's not formal. If someone wants to learn I am always happy to share.

If you could leave one lesson with your students about art, what would it be?

Trust your gut. Stop questioning what you 'think' it should look like or how it should turn out and just go with it. Know that it doesn't matter what the critics think (yourself included). Yes, we are critical of our own work but it's only because we have preconceived ideas about what others who 'know more than us' think it should look like. Just do stuff and try stuff till you like what you see. Also, 20 pieces of crap doesn't mean you are a terrible artist. It means you are innovative and you are finding your way. 

by Roberta Laliberte
NOTE the size! She has a whole series posted on her Instagram feed

Tell us about your show in July at OOAK Artisan Gallery.  What medium will you be showing?  Do you have a theme?  As the public gazes upon your work, what do you want your artwork to tell them?

“North of 49” is a collection of landscapes that share my wanderings through the beautiful forests and rivers of the Canadian Shield. I will be showing a collection of mixed media works as well as some of my watercolor sketches. I want viewers to feel the absolute awe of what I feel when I am standing in the beautiful woodlands, lakes and rivers I am privileged to call my home. I walk out my door and I am a 5-minute walk from rivers and forests.

Where do you go from here?  Do you have unreached aspirations?

I would love to travel and teach. I would also like to start working bigger. The largest pieces I have done are 30" by 48". I want go huge! It will be a challenge because I have become accustomed to the tools I use to create my signature touches. Those tools will need to increase in size to create the same marks. I don't know how I will do that with pencil crayons but that is what innovation is, figuring it out, I'm ready.

Thanks Roberta for sharing insight into your world of creation and art!  Roberta is much like all of us.  She finds inspiration in the natural world around her, and tries to “sketch” a piece of that wonder and inspiration to share with others.   We gather our own sketches, in our minds, in our writing, in our acts of kindness toward one another,  in preparing an amazing meal, in teaching our children, in developing our talents that we have been given.   We all search for that inspiration.  Roberta has beautiful artwork that may inspire you and give you a reminder of what you dream of, yearn for, aspire to.  Come and take that walk toward seeing the bigger picture that we sometimes lose sight of, of finding that whimsy and wonder in your day, and be inspired! 

 Roberta Laliberte’s artwork will be on display July 13 through August 4, 2019, at OOAK Artisan Showcase Gallery in Rome, NY.   We hope to see you there! For more information visit us on our website >>  CLICK HERE

From Shelley: My favorite video of Roberta's is PEARS. The way she created this piece is like magic. She literally threw watery paint on the substrate and went from there! WOW. Check it out by CLICKING HERE.

ALSO, if you want to read other posts here, about Roberta, use the search bar (located on the sidebar).