Lauren Forcella was a natural born artist, gifted from her early years and thanks to a friend that believed in her, she kick started her career with her own studio. Self taught, Lauren has the ability to bring the magic of nature to life through her paintings.
Her career has taken her on many paths but she feels like she returned back home when she was back doing what she loves, creating art. Here, we spent some time with her to find out more…
Tell us the journey that led you to launching your brand, Lauren Forcella Artist…
It’s hard to explain how extremely close I was to Nature growing up. Home was tumultuous, so I had my own “homes” in private magical places in the woods. To give back for this great fortune, taking a stand for the planet was my top priority, so my first career, I was a hydrogeologist. After seven years of politics trumping science, I retooled in the human potential movement, and eventually had my own family of four kids and founded a critically-acclaimed syndicated advice column, Straight Talk Advice, with contributions from youth panelists around the US [2004-2016]. While this was full-time work, I never stopped painting after the life-changing event that marked my personal discovery of painting, my “sudden onset”.
I was literally talked into going with a writer friend to someone’s art studio. I was very busy with my four kids at this point, they were all in a row, the youngest still a baby, so it was only after months of my friend’s begging that I begrudgingly went. I picked up the brushes and can’t describe my utter astonishment. It really was as if a secret door opened and I entered a parallel universe. Though my technique keeps improving, it emerged as an already-developed skill, literally a “sudden onset” experience. A few months later, another friend saw the paintings and without a word, went straight out and rented me an art studio. Since that time, I painted a lot, but it was always on the side of kids and the writing career. I was never sure how to make a go of it. After all, art is a challenging career choice, even a silly one, no? That was my conditioning. It was not till 2017 (the kids now grown), that I ditched everything and took the leap.
You’ve naturally gravitated back to what you most loved doing as a child. Do you have days where you don’t enjoy what you do for a living, if so, how do you overcome this?
Though I never painted or took art classes, I loved coloring and writing and being outside in special magical places. It is wonderful to have made my way back and in the process discovered my true talent as a painter and colorist — still with Earth as my muse. Because I am building my business from the bootstraps, I do my own marketing and administration, and I can’t say I enjoy this part, although I am decent at it, and I love interacting with fans. I push on, knowing it’s essential. I also live in gratitude for my most wonderful future assistant!
How do you want people to feel when they see your designs?
I want people to be inspired to love the earth more. I want my paintings to stimulate an emotional connection with nature. And to live more harmoniously because of it.
How often do you launch new designs and what’s the process behind that?
I work wet-on-wet, alla prima, which is French for “first coup” and is how many of the early impressionists worked. What this means is that I strive to place each generous, paint-laden brushstroke right where I want it the first time. No letting the paint dry and adding layers. Once I start a painting, I work on it each day until it is finished. One painting at a time. I love the immediacy and intimacy of working this way, it let’s me translate not only the subject, but also the emotional life of that subject. I generally complete two paintings per month, sometimes more — once I have my assistant, definitely more! I choose my designs based on what in nature has inspired me most recently. When I’m outside, I fully immerse myself in the experience, taking reference photos, walking barefoot, napping directly on the earth to fully absorb and connect.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
When I first made the decision to go after my art, I knew I was damaged goods, filled with doubt, not believing in myself, etc. So I hired a Bob Proctor-trained coach, Tessa Manning, and worked with her for nine months. Two revelations stand out: One, you have to choose what you absolutely love to do, because it will be so difficult and will require such unimaginably hard work that if you don’t love it enough, you will never keep working that hard. That was a huge revelation for me because I do have that love for it. When the colour is going on the canvas in front of me, there is nothing like it. And when I’m in Nature, I literally can weep over how beautiful it is and how much unconditional love I feel coming from Nature. So to combine painting with Nature I knew would be an unstoppable combination. Upon understanding this, I was sorry I didn’t go after art earlier.
The second revelation: Do not have a Plan B.
How do you manage your time as a mum of 4 and entrepreneur?
Raising my kids with no TV was my biggest success secret. They listened to me, there was no blather competing with my voice and values. I was fully in charge and I was fair, so they respected me. I had three boys in a row, followed by a daughter, so this was no small feat. It was a mutually supportive household, we championed each other. My other secret was dispensing with the concept of “me time”. I had a powerful epiphany early on that every bit of my time was ‘’my’ time. That changed everything. While I did write the column full time, it dovetailed with raising them, in fact, they were all involved with it. Though I never stopped painting once I discovered it, it was on the side. Once the kids were launched, I realised I didn’t love the column enough to keep struggling with it. I did it out of love for them. (If you know about publishing, my particular interval, 2004-2016, was about the worst it ever was for this disrupted industry.) I let it go, got myself a coach and went full tilt into art.
What has 2020 taught you that no other year has?
That beauty and nature matter more than ever. I’ve been pretty sequestered due to Covid, but focusing on beauty every day and being able to be in nature has kept me balanced. And thank God for telephones!
Since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?
I would start with a ton of money. This starving artist thing is stressful! But who knows? My writing business ironically gave me the courage to be an artist. I mean, I was already starving, it couldn’t get worse.
To date, what has been your proudest moment?
I’m most proud of my job as a mum. My kids, now successful adults, are my best work. Okay, I’m also pretty proud of diving headfirst into an art career with no plan B. That took some guts.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I would love to go to Japan, both in fall for the foliage, and in spring for the cherry blossoms.
Where can we find out more…
Thanks for asking! At my website https://laurenforcella.com/