We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Sauder (she/her) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what inspires you?
Inspiration is something I think I will always carry with me. For me, it’s not what I am inspired by but instead, how am I living with inspiration. I learned early on as a creative the importance of working in seasons. As a landscape artist and pigment worker, I am in an endless multi-species dialogue with nature. I do not work to imitate my outer landscapes, but instead to slowly translate and share earth stories. These slow observations and deep awareness have rendered me the time to find an abundance of reflection. It’s in these large periods of time I can truly harness inspiration, feeling it in all stages of my process and in all aspects of my work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a landscape artist and pigment worker living in Maryland, USA. My creativity is an ongoing conversation with the earth, an entity that is so complex, and yet so very simple. Experiencing my outer landscapes brings curiosity, heightened awareness, and genuine reverence for the natural world. As a result, my process is often two-fold–laborious and reflective as I work to refine raw earth pigments and transform them into my own studio supplies. I move this raw pigment on canvas to create lyrical meditations of the earth. Each landscape has a story that expresses and inspires moments of wonder and reverence. Both, the practice of pigments and drawing, weave together the narrative landscape in stories of the past, present, and future.
I most recently published a how-to art book for artists, colorists, and naturalists who seek detailed information about identifying, collecting, and using earth pigments in their personal studio, called A Geology of Color. Writing is a very intimate part of my process and I seek to use it as a tool to conduct ongoing research about my natural landscapes. Throughout my career, I repeatedly learn the importance of staying authentic to your own self–sharing your creativity because you thoroughly enjoy the journey. I believe leaning into this vulnerability is what naturally sets me apart from my peers. It also serves as a roadmap when I am faced with challenges. My interests, the way I communicate, and how I share them with the world are truly unique in themselves.
I received my BFA in Fine Arts and have received several awards including those from Blick Art Materials, Minted, and West Elm. My work is held in private collections around the world. I am a self-represented artist and sell my work through my online studio shop.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I were hosting, I would eagerly prepare a dinner for the night of arrival. Nothing too fancy, but something comforting enough to enjoy in the company of others. I would plan our days around hiking in the Chesapeake Bay watershed–from exploring the Blue Ridge mountains to camping bay-side. Along our travels we would stop at local distilleries, learning the unique stories of this diverse region. If time permits, we would visit any one of the many art galleries in Baltimore/Washington area in the early afternoon. Come nightfall, we could cozy up back at home or a local campsite for an evening full of conversation and discovery. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many, countless in fact, entities that helped me find success. A few books that I will always metally carry with me are Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and Upstream by Mary Oliver. For no particular reason, pieces of these books continue to speak to me. I’ve been endlessly encouraged and mentored by Emily Jeffords, artist and educator, alongside Heidi Gustafson, an ochre whisperer. I am forever supported by an incredible group of artists who come together daily inside an intimate mastermind. And, I wouldn’t be where I am at today without my close family and friends.
All photography by Lauren Sauder.