Lauren Rader, Visual Artist, Tells Her Story

My life and art have been entwined for as long as I can remember. That symbiosis started to include writing when I was a teenager. My love for both art and writing has never wavered. Not even a little.

Cattails, acrylic on canvas, 48 X 60
I was 9 years old when I discovered my love for minimalism, though I had no word for it at the time. It happened as I wiled away my time in 4th grade placing one loose-leaf page on top of another and coloring in the holes, creating dots on the page below. The contrast of the dark circles on the white page was electrifying. And then, one day, I shaded one perfect circle onto the lower left side of the under-sheet. Just one black circle floating on a page of white. Perfection. I took it home and hid it. I knew no one else would understand. I hid it to protect myself, but I never forgot the stark beauty of that single dot.
Since then, I’ve worked in lots of different media, majoring in ceramic sculpture in college, and then carving in stone for years. For a time, my main medium was colored pencils, and then chalk pastels. But no matter the medium, abstraction has been my constant companion and self-expression my fuel and subject matter.

Seahorse, painted alabaster
One year I had the good fortune to study at Harvard. I took the opportunity to paint in oils full time. As I worked, the dot I had hidden away when I was 9 ruminated in my mind. And so, with the maturity of age, and the confidence gained through years of art-making, I finally created a body of work inspired by that original dot. For the next 3 years, I continued to keep my palette to none other than black, white, and occasionally, gold. A friend of mine calls my work from that period rich minimalism. With the rich texture and deep simplicity of that work, I think it’s an apt description.

Dancing with the Muse, oil on canvas, 83.5 X 59.5
I’ve always taught as a way to keep my art pure – I didn’t have to depend on it for money. I taught in schools for years, but in 2005, I opened up my studio to teach women, in classes I call Releasing the Creative Powers Within. My book, Studio Stories: Illuminating Our Lives through Art was inspired by the stories from the classes. Here’s a summary of Studio Stories:
"When artist Lauren Rader begins inviting women into her studio for classes in creativity, she has no idea what she is about to unleash. Drawn by a common yearning to express themselves through art, the women soon find that the path to creativity leads deep within—to hidden thoughts, buried memories, and dramatic life changes. Here, Rader relates their intensely personal journeys, along with insights from a lifetime of teaching and artistry, and from her daily walks along the river with her sweet dog, Wiley."

Studio Stories: Illuminating Our Lives through Art
                                                                                                     I’m proud that Studio Stories has been really well received and currently has 32 five-star reviews on Amazon.
Art-making and writing have taken care of me throughout my life. From the very beginning and still now, they guide and console me through the joys and pitfalls of life. Lately, my artwork is deeply entangled with grave concerns for our world. Much of my work has been dark of late, reflecting my worries for the people of our earth and the warming of the planet. This piece, Don’t Close Your Eyes, was done for and about the Indigenous people of our country. When I sell this piece, I’ll send the proceeds to them.

Don’t Close Your Eyes, acrylic, ink, feather on canvas, 24 X 24
I believe art and writing will both have a hand in moving the people of our world toward compassion for oneself and others, and then, most hopefully, to a world of peace.

Ascension, acrylic on canvas, 40 X 30
This is Week 41 of Artists Tell Their Stories. Thank you for reading and sharing Lauren’s story today. To connect with Lauren and see more of her work, please visit the following links:
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