The Art of You - Artist Stories - Laura Harrison McBride
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Artist Statement: McBride has been unkindly called a dilettante on occasion, probably because she has rarely met an art form she didn’t love and worked in many. She began her odd career at age 3 in ballet (which lasted until age 10), then switched to acting through age 18; at university, she switched to English Lit. But her best friend, an artist, used to encourage her dabbling in art. Finally, in her early 30s and living in Manhattan, she studied at the Art Students League of New York because the great anatomy and drawing teacher, Robert Beverly Hale, was very, very old and she had always wanted to know what he had to teach.
After a couple of years of study with Hale, Tom Fogarty (oils), Gregory D’Alessio (watercolour) and John Howard Sanden (portraiture), McBride applied and was “elected to membership” in the ASL, a membership she keeps up to this day, although she now lives in Cornwall, as she has for the past 8 years, except for one year in Languedoc.
As if to prove she is more than a casual dilettante, McBride also studied for a master’s Degree in journalism, worked as an editor at Prentice Hall in NYC, freelanced for magazines, wrote 14 non-fiction books and one adult humorous mystery, decided to learn to train hunter-jumper horses, taught riding in the US…and all the while, took the occasional portrait commission, and did quite a lot of trompe l’oeil for individuals and interior designers.
These days, McBride says, in respect of her bones being a lot older than they once were, the horses are a memory filled with passion, and will probably become art subjects soon. She has no interest in journalism, she says; these days, one has to be a warrior as well and that doesn’t appeal to her. She has finally arrived at the place of doing what her artist friend told her 50 years ago: “You really need to do some painting,” she said.
And so, it is.
Work Description: The entry is a one of the watercolours I did for my children’s book, Allo, Bijou by my alter ego, Nora Ned McBride. Along with it is a copy of the book itself, a story about a little dog who moves to France and finds friendship with a collection of French dogs. (A second book is now in production; it’s theme is the little dog—Bijou—rescuing an abandoned kitten with the help of her French friend.)