After an autumn rain, when fallen leaves lie scattered about glistening in their rich saturated tones, I can barely contain my excitement. Like most artists I’ve always been keenly aware of the shapes, colors and textures all around me, but it’s the mystery and magic of the natural world that brings me the fresh breezes of creative inspiration.
It’s thrilling to be able to share my artwork, books, and workshops with everyone who enjoys them! For over three decades, I’ve had the privilege of making art as my livelihood. My original watercolor paintings and original nature print paintings are in many collections and are exhibited in museums and galleries.
The publication of my first book, Nature Printing, became the training ground for developing my workshops about the joys of this ancient practice, which led to the publication of Hand Printing from Nature. I really hope you will check them out! Each one encourages and brings out the creative nature that lives in all of us.
My deep appreciation for nature, master gardening training, and continual research inform my work as an artist, author and workshop leader. When not tending my garden or visiting gardens you’ll most often find me squirreled away working in my studio, which is located in a tiny southern New Jersey town between the Pine Barrens (an International Biosphere Reserve) and the coast.
I take photos and make sketches of my small garden and when traveling to fabulous gardens of all kinds. But inspiration is everywhere -- in shadows, breezes and frying eggs, in the stars and the ocean. Long drives are great for sorting out ideas.
I begin with the sketches and photographs. Before touching watercolor to paper, a day or two is spent fine-tuning the final drawing and making color charts - and countless cups of tea. I work on two or three paintings at a time so I can take breaks when my brain gets stuck on one.
Nature printing is an ancient practice with an interesting history that features Leonardo da Vinci and Ben Franklin, but no one knows its true origins. The basic direct printing process is pretty simple: natural objects – flowers, sticks, feathers, shells, rocks, vegetables, whatever – are inked or painted then printed by hand or with the use of a press. Indirect printing is another process, and similar to making a rubbing. Depending on the approach, the results of nature printing can be fantastically detailed. Some objects, such as whole large plants and eggshells, are more of a challenge than, say, one flower or leaf.
Some people may remember making leaf prints at camp or scout meetings, although I don't remember ever doing that. One summer day, in the late '70's, I was painting by a riverside in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey where the waters are rich in iron. I picked up a leaf from the river's edge, noticed the iron oxide coating on its vein-textured underside and pressed it to my damp watercolor paper. "Wow", I thought. Then I brushed on some thick watercolor paint, pressed the leaf again, and was hooked. As I learned more about the nature printing process and its long history, I became more intrigued.
Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
Printing from the Source: Food and Flowers
Solo Show: May - June 2015
Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ
Inducted into the New Jersey Emerging Artist Series ** Award
In the Garden
Solo Show: Sept - Oct 2014
Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJ
Dendrology: The Nature of Trees
Group Show: Sept 2012 - Jan 2013
Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ
Annual Member & Faculty Exhibition **Merit Award
Group Show 2012
New York State Museum, Albany, NY
Focus on Nature
Group Shows April - Sept 2008
April - Sept 2004
Published by Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA
Hand Printing from Nature is about creating unique prints for fabric, paper and other surfaces using natural and found materials. 50 projects.
Nature Printing is about creating beautiful prints, wearables, and home
furnishings with flowers, fruits and herbs. 30 projects.
Rustic Accents for Your Home co-authored with Ann Ramp Fox;
creating home accessories with branches, twigs & vines. 45 projects.
The Nature Print Kit. Manufactured by Ranger Industries,
Tinton Falls, NJ. Produced from 1998-2003
'Good Housekeeping' March 2004, article produced by Tovah Martin, Art that Grows on Trees
Home and Garden Television (HGTV) 'The Carol DuVoll Show'
The Discovery Channel 'Home Matters'
Lifetime Network 'Handmade by Design'
For botanical gardens, garden clubs, flower shows, national trade shows, museums, schools, libraries, art and craft guilds, and many other groups and organizations. For more information about my presentations, click here.
The Philadelphia Botanical Club
The Native Plant Society of NJ
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA 1981-82
Pratt Graphics Center, New York, NY 1979
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 1978-79
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 1975-76
Middlesex County College, Edison, NJ 1971-72
In her former life, Laura wrote layman descriptions of research projects conducted by the Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ