Nurture Your Nature: What do Artists Do All Day?

Hello Sweet T,

How are you? Thank you for sharing Mary Oliver’s poem with me. The graphic you made is so sweet!  The poetry reminded me of the first collaborative piece of art we ever exhibited. It was inspired by Rumi’s poem, The Waterwheel, remember? I love how we were discovering our sense of place and connection to the landscape in that piece. Its fun looking back on all the work we have created together.

I was thinking about your recent trip to Ireland and thought you would find Norman Ackroyd’s beautiful etchings moving. Aren’t the titles of these videos funny?

“What do artists do all day?”

I love how he shares that he may have ended up becoming a butcher for his career, but “followed his bliss” with his art. He explains how making a living from his art seemed unlikely to him at the time, but “doors seemed to open for him” in the form of encouragement and support. This reaffirms my belief that we are meant to do what we love and follow our hearts.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 4.18.21 PM
*map from a great website called:

I think you will like his fondness for maps and the breathtaking landscape of the British Isles where he gleans so much inspiration from.  It reminded me of the beautiful photo of Valentia Island  you shared with me in your last letter.  I imagine the landscape in Ireland to be just as magnificant as the British Isles. Although I have never been to those islands it took me back the two trips I made to England. One visit was in the summer and the other just after New Years. I can still bring myself back to the way the air felt while I was there. So much of life can be felt, don’t you think?

I love how Norman said,

“I don’t think about the marks I am making, I let the marks happen. There is a huge desire to make the marks… and I just respond to them because I feel I want to do it, so it’s very instinctual.”

I was thinking about how lose and free my paintings feel to me today. They have a different energy than when I first started painting in a much more traditional style. I still value drawing and seeing well, but feel much more in tune with myself, allowing for experimentation and abstraction.

three landscape collage
laura gaffke, landscape studies

In these three paintings I was experimenting with a palette knife. I was trying to capture the energy of my time at Bluff Point and the essence of the shoreline here in CT. Sometimes when I am at the ocean or in the woods alone its like I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Time is suspended and my heart lights up with an aliveness I cannot put words to, but wish everyone could feel.

 Hope you are doing well and are enjoying the start of your school year!

xo Laura :)


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