2020 was a hard year for everyone. My full-time profession is as a psychotherapist. So while my world, along with everyone else's, became much smaller, confined to my apartment with my dog and my husband, I conducted therapy from an office I carved out for myself in our guest room/gym/room of misfit stuff (everyone has one of those, right?). The world and everyone in it were experiencing a level of anxiety and uncertainty many had never before encountered, myself included. On a cross-country trip with my mother on our way to visit my siblings and young nephews, I looked up at a gorgeous open sky with clouds pink and purple, the sky with a soft, almost green warmth as the sun started to set. Out of the blue, my mind gave me a rather unusual thought, "I wish I could paint that." I had never seen myself as a creative, hadn't loved to draw as a child or anything of the sort. So, you could imagine that this thought caught me quite off guard. Over the next couple of weeks, I couldn't quite get that thought that I really wanted to paint something out of my mind. Hesitantly, I decided to go for it. After some brief online research, I bought a single canvas and tiny set of oil paints, some cheap brushes, and set up a spot in my bedroom and tried to paint a scene from a backpacking trip years ago. And so began my journey. I threw myself into learning the fundamentals of representational art-making, pouring over books for hours at a time, scouring the internet for information, and making a lot of bad art. As they say, you can't be afraid to make bad art.
There is no way I can separate my art journey from the mental health journey that the world, my clients, and myself experienced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are deeply intertwined. Art, quite literally, gave me new life. I certainly can't picture my life without it.
Alright, enough with serious stuff, on to the fun stuff! Right now, my inspiration seems to come from everywhere from gorgeous quiet landscapes to the warmth of a good lamp. At the moment I am very drawn to interiors and portraits. Narrative themes, shocking for a psychology junkie like me, I know! Having never drawn before, when it comes to portraits and figurative work, in particular, I have been forced to teach myself to draw. It has been equally frustrating as it has been rewarding.
In all of my work, I hope to capture the feeling of light that generates a mood and emotion in any given subject, whether that be feeling warm and content at home or feeling expansive and in a state of wonderment when looking at a tree sparkling with sunlight. I'm happy you're here with me on this journey as it evolves because I am sure that it will. I hope that you stick around and just maybe try something new yourself. You might just find something that brings you new life as well.
Laura Haberer is a self-taught artist inspired by post-impressionism. Laura works full-time as a psychotherapist with a Master's in Social Work degree from the University of Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Kyle, and rescue pup, Evie.