Free and Intuitive: Interview with Lauren Mycroft

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Lauren Mycroft is a Canadian painter whose abstract works reference organic shapes using complex layers and staining. Using a contemporary palette and methodical layering technique, Mycroft creates process-driven artwork that feels both fresh and familiar. The compositions are created freely and intuitively, learned through years of practice and formal art training. Inspired by memory of place, Mycroft reflects on our emotional attachment and not specific locales. Through her unique palette and fields of stains, Mycroft offers the viewer a sense of nostalgia and elicits a personal response based on their own experiences with the landscape.

Mycroft studied at Vancouver Island University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and now exhibits regularly on the Canadian West Coast.

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In your artist statement, you talk about how your practice is process driven. How did you develop your process?

My process was developed over years of experimentation and working towards the goal of painting without developing an attachment to the end result. I have always enjoyed painting with a fluid medium. However, something clicked for me when I started working with high flow paints. This new medium caused my process to change dramatically, as I started pouring liquid paint over the canvas rather than applying with a brush.

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What is your favorite part about your intuitive practice?

Painting intuitively as opposed to painting with a specific outcome in mind challenges my need to control small details and allows me to problem solve creatively in the moment. Although it can feel overwhelming approaching a canvas in this way, once I overcome the compositional challenges of a painting, I am far more excited by the result than had I approached it with a predetermined outcome.

You also talk in your statement about being inspired by the memory of the place. When and how did this idea become an inspiration in your work?

The process of painting landscapes is something that has allowed me to reflect upon my childhood, as I moved around a lot in my life. Leaving the imagery abstracted and void of representative details allows the viewer to create their attachment to the work. For me, each piece is very personal; however it is not based on a specific locale, it is more representational of time.

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How does the idea of memory drive and come through in your work?

I would say the idea of memory drives the mood of my work and dictates my color palette and the boldness or softness or a painting. That, combined with the indistinct forms, allow viewers to apply their memory and attachment to a piece which creates a connection for the collector.

Can you tell us a little about your color palette? Is the palette premeditated for each piece or do you work intuitively there as well?

I often start with an idea of a palette or a couple of colors; however, it changes as the painting develops.

Can you share a piece of advice you have received that you think our readers would benefit from hearing?

I don’t remember where I read this, however, the simple, yet powerful statement, “walk towards your fear” has greatly impacted how I approach creating such personal work every day and how I navigate this career. I also have a note on my studio wall reminding myself not to allow the work to become precious; this keeps it fun and experimental and will enable me to make my best work.

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What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?

I keep surprising myself with what I’m able to accomplish as a self-employed person (even the fact that I’m self-employed is a surprise to me) who is also raising two little humans! There’s a sense of pride and newfound confidence that I’ve acquired with each hurdle I overcome.