Laura Steels Hitchcock grew up on the south shore of Montreal in the hilly apple country of Mont St Hilaire, but now calls her Meaford farm home. “The Meaford area is so similar and I feel at home here. I have been coming to the area for over 30 years and I am finally able to make the 100 acre family farm on Scotch Mountain my permanent home.”
As the child of an artist mother, paint and art supplies were always close by and Laura spent many hours drawing. She painted in her 20s despite a lack of formal training, doing children’s illustrations and paintings for the bedsides of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Intensive care unit where she worked. After a 20-year hiatus to raise her children, Steels Hitchcock participated in Inktober 2017 and hasn't stopped producing artworks since.
Laura works in both Pen and Ink and in Coloured Pencil. “I love coloured pencils for the details it allows. Now that there are archival lightfast pencils it is becoming more popular with artists. Another bonus is it does not make a mess.” Her Coloured Pencil technique requires over 30 layers of pigment be built up, moving from light to dark. It is a time consuming process resulting in smaller pieces taking as much as over 30 hours and large pieces 60-80 hours to complete.
Passionate about the environment and the preservation of natural habitats, Laura selects pick animals with whom she feels a connection for her subjects. “I try to capture the moment and the emotions that I felt when interacting with the animal. When I do commissions, I try to learn as much as I can about the personality of the pet so I can weave their character into the drawing.”
A horticulturalist and Master Gardener, she also brings her love of plants, especially trees, into her work.
Getting her work out there in front of the public eye is Laura’s greatest challenge to date. She rues: “I have never run a small business before.” Come see her gorgeous, intricate portraits at Coriander Style during Collingwood’s Art Crawl on Saturday, September 28th from 2-9PM.