by Maggie See
Laura Eavenson currently specializes in funky colorful pet portraits, but from the farm to the frame shop with four years in art school, her range of expertise is far from limited. She grew up with a pencil in her hand and has always opted to make her own lines instead of using coloring books. Laura preferred to draw horses as a kid, but life on a farm in Carnesville, GA provided for many more subjects. They raised cows but also had cats, chickens, goats, peacocks, rabbits, guineas, a mule and dogs. Although she planned to be a veterinarian at one time, the chance to shadow a vet showed her that bringing the animals to life through art was more her ideal path.
Laura’s recent pet portraits came from her involvement as a foster parent with Circle of Friends Animal Society (COFAS). Aside from having her own pet pals, a Boston mix named Roxie and a Pointer/Lab mix named Harper (both from local rescues themselves), she and her girlfriend are also occasional fosters for COFAS. Laura donated a custom portrait as a raffle prize to the Athens Pet Expo and used Roxie as her first model. The style took off after she placed Roxie’s portrait in the showroom at Athens Art and Frame at the request of her coworkers, and the commissions keep coming!
Her fluid, colorful style with cats and dogs can easily be traced to her broader approach to larger, abstract subjects. Laura says, “I view nature as a large and powerful force, so I love to make large paintings/drawings/multimedia pieces that reflect that.” For example, “instead of painting a wave, I like to try to paint my idea of a wave or the energy of it.” And working in a frame shop has influenced her in unexpected ways, as well, finding that she will retroactively realize the influence of something she encountered on the job after she’s already created a new piece.
One of the most difficult parts of being an artist, according to Laura, is to find the balance between creating art and everything else in life. Art school provided the environment of encouragement and the time to just focus on art. Laura moved to Athens in 2014 after four years of studying art at Piedmont’s Demorest campus, where she even branched out some from painting to sculpture and metals.
Now Laura and her girlfriend frequent parks like Sandy Creek and Ben Burton with their dogs as one way to achieve that balance. She says, “I always feel the most relaxed and inspired when I’m near the water, whether that’s paddle boarding a lake or just sitting by a river. Being outside helps me feel grounded.” Playing guitar and hanging out at Jittery Joes are good for the grounding, as well. Then she can throw the Twilight Zone on in the background and get back to painting.
Being an artist is rewarding for Laura because it’s an outlet for her to express her feelings in a way that others may relate to. While she intends to keep painting funky pet portraits, she also plans to submit to some of the local juried shows around town and get “out there” more. So keep an eye out!
For the time being, you can find more of Laura Eavenson’s work on Instagram at @lauraeavenson and on Facebook at @lauramonster17.