Pennsylvania wildlife artist Laura Mark-Finberg’s paintings have been described as “windows unto the soul” of the animals she paints. During a career that has spanned more than twenty years Laura has explored a vast array of subjects in her quest to help the viewer understand a little more about the animals she paints. Laura is meticulous in her research and attention to detail and demonstrates a flawless search for truth in each painting…
Working primarily in acrylic, Laura’s technique is to build up layers of paint to create the detail, depth and reality of her paintings. According to Laura,”Unlike oil paints, acrylics are difficult to blend as they dry so fast; consequently, I use a lot of transparent washes or glazes and build up layers of paint.” Eyes are her favorite part. “Sometimes I’ll do the eyes first. If I’ve created life in the eyes the rest of the painting seems to paint itself. At other times I’ll wait to the end, almost as if there’s a reward for completing a piece.” “My favorite subject are the predators. Unlike some animals there is such awareness in the eyes.”
Laura has traveled extensively. Her research has taken her to such divergent places as the Himalayas in both Afghanistan and Kashmir and to the undersea world off the coast of Venezuela. Laura believes, “it’s the research that keeps my paintings fresh and alive. As an artist who paints wildlife I personally need to be able to reach out and touch my subject matter. I believe it gives a reality to my work that is not obtained by being sequestered in a studio.”
In a painting of a peregrine falcon it wasn’t enough to accurately depict the bird. My husband Barry and I climbed a sheer cliff face to photograph the rocks at the top of the mountain. “We sometimes place ourselves in precarious situations in an effort to capture reality in a painting.” A few years ago we took up scuba diving because of my desire to paint a part of nature that so few have the opportunity to view first hand.
Laura has won a number of “Best Of Show Awards” at Art Shows across the country, including the 1999 Best of Show Award at the NatureWorks Show. She was the “Featured Artist” at the New England Wildlife Art Show in 1992, the National Wildlife Art Show in Kansas City in 1998 and was the Featured Artist at the Nature Works Show in Tulsa in February of 2008. Her work has appeared on the cover of a number of national and regional magazines including “ International Wildlife Art News Magazine”.
In her home state, she has won the Pennsylvania State Conservation Print Competition on three occasions. Laura has worked with conservation groups throughout her career. In 1990 she produced Waterfowl USA’s NY 1st of State Conservation Print, and was the Member Artist of the Year for the National organization in 1991. She was one of sixteen artists from across North America selected through “The International Treaty Support Fund” a division of the United Nations to work on a limited edition leather bound book on endangered species.
Laura painted the “Companion Print of the Year” in 1995 for National Whitetails Unlimited. In 2002 working closely with The Pennsylvania Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations’ Laura produced the 1st of State Conservation Print for Pennsylvania. In both 2008 and 2009 she was one of a select group of artist from around the globe to exhibit at the juried “Artists For Conservation” exhibit at the prestigious Hiram Blauvelt Museum in Oradell, New Jersey. Recently, Laura was selected as one of three artists whose work will be featured in the 2012 National art package for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
As a tribute to her father’s influence, Laura continues to sign her original paintings using her maiden name, “MARK”.