Laura D. Poss, AWS, WSNC, SW, PWS
For as long as I can remember, I have been compelled to create art. The feeling I get from creating something that pleases my senses has always held me in its grasp, and I spent my childhood drawing, writing, and making craft projects. As an adult, I began painting with watercolors simply because I had fallen in love with watercolor paintings; I didn’t realize they would take over my life. While living in Oriental, a small sailing town on the coast of North Carolina, I began to notice a community of artists in the area who worked mostly in watercolor. They produced glowing, luminous paintings, and I was enchanted by the way I could see all of their layers of dried washes, and could even see the artists’ light pencil marks underneath, where they began their work on a clean, white piece of paper. I especially adored their paintings of sailboats, and realized that I had to try watercolors myself. That was when I discovered true watercolors—much different from the little plastic pans I used as a child.
About sixteen years later, I’m still enchanted by watercolors. When I see something that captivates my eyes, I immediately start thinking about how I could translate it into painting. My ultimate goal in any work of art is to create an image that communicates what I saw in the scene that made it worth painting. We could all look in the same place, and we would all see something different; I believe that it is my job to show the viewer my unique point of view. I plan my paintings with this principle in mind, hopefully bringing myself closer to sharing a feeling and a moment—not just a picture.
I like to describe my painting style as “loose realism”. My works are certainly representational of the subjects, but I’m not interested in creating photorealism; I like for my paintings to look like paintings. I want the viewer to be able to connect with the painting itself, rather than just the subject of the painting. This is something I think that watercolor is uniquely able to offer, owing to the layers of washes (and often pencil marks) remaining visible throughout the process.
There are compelling subjects everywhere, and I find most of my inspiration outdoors. From the mountains to the coast, my beautiful home state, North Carolina, provides an unlimited variety of natural beauty and fascinating people. I also enjoy painting from my travels, and most especially cityscapes from my trips to New York and vast mountain landscapes from my husband’s home state of Alaska. I generally paint from photos and sketches that I do on location and, when asked how I chose a particular subject, my answer is usually quite simple: the image got stuck in my head, then rattled around and incubated there until, one day, it was suddenly ready to come out and there was nothing I could do to contain it.
My husband, John, and I live in Greensboro, NC. As a professional framer, John makes sure that my artwork is always framed with the highest quality materials and attention to detail. When I am not painting, showing my work, or teaching, I try to find time for my hobbies, including photography, sailing, birdwatching, gardening, reading, swimming, hiking, and a little bit of sewing.
Courtesy of Dylan Smith, WithATwistMedia.com, December 2020
Select Honors and Awards:
June 2022- Juried Acceptance into the Watercolor Society of North Carolina's Annual Juried Exhibition by juror, Don Andrews. Exhibition to be held at the Craven Arts Council and Gallery, New Bern, NC, October 2 – November 15, 2022.
February 2022- Juried acceptance into the Southern Watercolor Society's 45th Juried Exhibition, April 14 – May 13, 2022 at the ArtCenter Manatee in Bradenton Florida by juror, Ken Call.
January 2021- Achieved Signature Membership with the American Watercolor Society through my third juried acceptance into AWS Annual Exhibitions. The American Watercolor Society's 154th Annual International Juried Exhibition will be held at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, April 12 – 30, 2021. Five nationally and internationally recognized artists served as jury of selection.
March 2020- Achieved Signature Membership with the Southern Watercolor Society, through third Juried acceptance into the Southern Watercolor Society's 43rd Juried Exhibition, by juror Mark Mehaffey.
February 2020- Honorable Mention Award in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society's Annual Online Member Show. The juror of awards was Frank Webb. This is an annual online-only show, which you can view here.
October 2019- Dorothy L. Rosenberger Memorial Award in the North East Watercolor Society 43rd International Exhibition at the Kent Art Association Gallery, Kent, CT, October 20 – November 2. The juror of selection and awards was Kenneth Call.
October 2019- Betty Mountcastle Memorial Award in the Watercolor Society of North Carolina's Annual Statewide Exhibition, Oct. 6 – Dec. 29, 2019 at the Imperial Centre for the Arts, Rocky Mount, NC. The juror of selection and awards was Stan Miller.
June 2019- Cheap Joe's Art Stuff merchandise award in the Southern Watercolor Society's 42nd Juried Exhibition in Kerrville, TX. The juror of selection and awards was Judy Morris.
October 2018- Signature Member Award in the Watercolor Society of North Carolina's 73rd Statewide Juried Art Exhibition. This was my first year as a Signature Member, and an honor to receive an award that is only open to Signature Members. Iain Stewart was the juror for this event.
September 2018- Award for "Outstanding Realism" in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society's 39th International Juried Exhibition in Warren, PA. Juror of selection was Keiko Tanabe; juror of awards was Ron Thurston.
July 2018- Achieved Signature Membership with the Watercolor Society of North Carolina through my third acceptance into their Annual Statewide Juried Art Exhibition. Iain Stewart was the juror for this event. Florence Thomas Art School, West Jefferson, NC, October 7 – November 18.
June 2018- Achieved Signature Membership in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society with my 2nd Juried Acceptance into their International Juried Exhibition. Keiko Tanabe is the juror for this event. Warren, PA, September 15 – October 20, 2018.
February 2018- Margery Soroka Memorial Award from the American Watercolor Society in their 151st International Exhibition. Awards were chosen by a panel of 3 nationally and internationally recognized artists.
January 2018- 1st Juried Exhibition Acceptance, American Watercolor Society 151st Annual International Exhibition, April 9 – 28, 2018 at the Salmagundi Club, in New York, NY. Five nationally and internationally recognized artists served as jury of selection.
October 2017- 5th Place Award, Watercolor Society of North Carolina's 72nd Annual Juried Exhibition, Greensboro NC, October 15 – November 22. Judged by Mary Whyte.
Watercolor Society of North Carolina, Signature Member
Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Signature Member
Publications and Television Appearances:
October 2022- Publication of You Make My Heart Sing, the second book that I've illustrated for Elizabeth Hudson, author and Editor-in-Chief of Our State Magazine. Copies of You Make My Heart Sing will be available online from the Our State Store sometime in October 2022.
February 2020- Our State Magazine, 5 of my paintings and a brief article in a "Painted Carolina" feature in the February issue
October 2019- Publication of Silver Linings, a book that I illustrated for Elizabeth Hudson, author and Editor-in-Chief of Our State Magazine. Copies of Silver Linings are available online from the Our State Store.
September 2015- Yes! Weekly, The Triad's Alternative Newspaper- "Greensboro Artist Accepted into Prestigious Watercolorist Competition". This article can now be read in The Carolinian.
April 2012- Appearance on WFMY's Good Morning Show
I served on the Board of Directors for the Watercolor Society of North Carolina (WSNC) December 2012 to October 2017. For the first four years I was the Publications Editor, which included creating and editing the quarterly newsletter, annual prospectus, a variety of documents and forms, advertising postcards, as well as other miscellaneous printed and digital materials. I also created the first-ever WSNC Exhibition Catalog in 2015. During my final year, 2017, I served as the Local Arrangements Chair for the WSNC's Annual Juried Exhibition. I, along with my group of volunteers, planned and held a weekend conference in Greensboro, NC, which included an annual business meeting, members' luncheon, awards ceremony, 3 educational seminars, a dinner and social, a gallery exhibition opening reception, and a book signing with renowned artist, Mary Whyte. I also served as the Workshop Chairperson for a 3-day Mary Whyte workshop following the conference weekend. I still actively support WSNC as a non-board member. I encourage all NC watercolor artists to join at ncwatercolor.org
My first watercolor painting, March of 2006