Laura Z


I am a self-taught artist working in a variety of painting and drawing media, but my passion over the past 15 years has been to develop EarthPaint, in which I use colorful gemstones and minerals as the sole source of textured natural color, adhered to canvas using a variety of clear acrylic polymers and techniques I have developed through years of experimentation. The idea was born on a mountainside in Cullowhee, NC, an area in the mountains of western NC that is known worldwide for its abundance of minerals and gemstones. I collected colorful earthen samples and crushed them by hand in a tiny ceramic mortar and pestle. My first attempts were very abstract, but every panting I do in this exciting and challenging medium teaches me something new. I have abandoned most of the artstic presumptions I had when I took up EarthPainting. There were no rules, so I made it up as I went along, giving myself a wide berth and relaxing my expectations. After 15 years I can render fine details and effects that almost satisfy my inner perfectionist, but I still approach each painting as a discovery and a revelation. I also create mixed-media art using acrylics, gouache, pastels, colored pencil, ink, even nail polish. My style can best be described as expressionistic, though the preparation of EarthPaint lends those paintings a more contemplative quality than my works in other media. I am also very active in community theater, havng appeared onstage or as stage manager for countless live performances. I have a B.A. in Professional Writing from Western Carolina University. I currently reside in Maggie Valley, NC.