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The often asked question of Laurie Bender's award-winning paintings is "What medium are these?" The correct answer is, of course, "watercolor." Ms. Bender's works defy the traditional impression of watercolors as pale, hesitant, and washed-out. She paints vibrant landscapes--capturing not so much what places look like, but what they feel like--with bold, decisive strokes and luminous saturated color.
As an undergraduate and graduate student in Fine Arts at UCLA, Ms. Bender was exposed to training in a variety of mediums. Her love of watercolor began a decade ago when she enrolled in a "plein air" painting course in the Santa Monica mountains. Since that time, she has journeyed far afield, both artistically and geographically. Her widely-collected watercolors capture the beauty and wonder of the landscapes she visits, from the desert Southwest to New England's autumn vistas.
As a colorist, Ms. Bender pushes watercolor beyond traditional boundaries. Her colors, vivid and radiant with every part of the spectrum, are part of the artist's journey toward self-discovery. This unique perception of color is an expression of her imagination. It elicits excitement: a new way of looking at life (art). It gives the viewer permission to step away from collective thought (the way we are conditioned to see things--grass is green, rocks are gray...) into an exhilarating freedom to see what is really there. Wow! We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy, for sure, or Alice in some wonderland. We are in a Laurie Bender watercolor. Unreal and yet.. .we would all like to be there.
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