Voices of Experience - Laurie Kersey

Voices of Experience

Laurie Kersey

Point Lobos Cypress, 24x30", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
Point Lobos Cypress             24 x 30"               Oil

   When the commercial art world became ubiquitous with computers, Laurie Kersey knew it was time to leave her work as an art director and illustrator and to pursue her fine art full-time. Since then her work has been included in juried and invitational shows across the country. Kersey has won multiple awards for her paintings and is a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America, the California Art Club and the American Impressionist Society. She is a Master Signature Member of American Women Artists. In addition to her landscape paintings of the dramatic and diverse California landscape, Kersey paints exquisite florals and is currently focusing on her love of horses. She is an Artist Member of the American Academy of Equine Art.

Cypress Coast Sunset, 18x24", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
Cypress Coast Sunset                         18 x 24"                         Oil

La Jolla Cove Sunset, 16x20", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
La Jolla Sunset                         16 x 20"                         Oil

   Laurie Kersey grew up in an environment surrounded by art. Her mother worked in oils and later watercolor. "My mother used to have artist friends come over once a week and they would all set up in the kitchen and paint." Her early formal education at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh prepared her for a fifteen-year career in commercial art and illustration, but her later work at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco launched her life into painting.  "All the teachers at the Academy were great but I had two mentors. One was Brian Blood, who is now my husband, and the other is the Director of the Fine Art Department, Craig Nelson."

   "In the early 1990s, computers came into the commercial art world and that's when I left. I switched at that time to illustration for a while and then to fine art. I had no interest in working on the computer all day. The commercial art background gave me a strong foundation in design principles and color theory."

Red Shirt, 18x24", Oil, © Laurie Kersey  
Red Shirt               18 x 24"               Oil

Cooling Off, 24x36", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
Cooling Off                         24 x 36"                         Oil

   Kersey has worked in multiple mediums. "Beginning when I was young and continuing through the illustration days, I worked in pencil, charcoal, ink, scratchboard, colored pencil, pastel, airbrush, watercolor, etc. I currently work primarily in oil, but I play a little bit with etching and charcoal, and I sketch in pencil or ink." She wrote to us about her processes in both plein air and studio painting:

   "My process varies depending on whether it's a location painting or studio painting. For a location painting I just scout around, find a spot, and paint—pretty spontaneously. For a studio painting, there's much more preliminary work that goes into it. I will go to a location or event and shoot photo reference. Then I will do a number of thumbnails or black and white design sketches, usually involving multiple photos. I then usually do a couple of small color studies, and then I will begin on the actual piece."

Tres Amigos, Step 1, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   Tres Amigos, Step 2, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   Tres Amigos, Step 3, Oil, © Laurie Kersey

Tres Amigos, 24x30", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
Tres Amigos                    24 x 30"                    Oil

   "The development of each work varies from painting to painting. You will see in the attached images that I sometimes begin on a white canvas with a linear sketch, sometimes on a toned canvas with a loose monochromatic underpainting. Sometimes I begin by massing-in with color on a white canvas. Sometimes I begin by massing-in monochromatically. Sometimes I will use a grid for a more complex drawing, sometimes no drawing at all. It all depends on what the painting needs, and there’s not a simple answer for that.

Crossing the Creek, Step 1, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   Crossing the Creek, Step 2, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   Crossing the Creek, Step 3, Oil, © Laurie Kersey

Crossing the Creek, 24x30", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
Crossing the Creek                    24 x 30"                    Oil

   "My palette varies somewhat over time and depending on the subject. That being said, my current palette usually consists of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Permanent, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Viridian, and Transparent Oxide Red. I prefer a smooth canvas surface and am currently using Centurion linen, stretched for larger paintings and glued on a panel for smaller pieces."

The Road Less Traveled, Step 1, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   The Road Less Traveled, Step 2, Oil, © Laurie Kersey   The Road Less Traveled, Step 3, Oil, © Laurie Kersey

The Road Less Traveled, 36x48", Oil, © Laurie Kersey
The Road Less Traveled                         36 x 48"                         Oil

   Laurie Kersey offers these words to beginning artists:  "My advice would be to get an education. It doesn't need to be a formal degree but you need the education. Painting without a clear understanding of the principles will only ingrain bad habits."

Sunflowers and Stock, 12 x 9", Oil, © Laurie Kersey

To see more of Laurie Kersey's work, go to:

All artwork copyright Laurie Kersey

Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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