Laura Sippos - Artist of the Month
I met Laura Sippos through an RIT parents Facebook page. Both of our boys are Freshman at RIT this year. Laura is an artist who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which is where I grew up. Small world!
"I was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Mt Oliver, in the inner city. I lived in Austin TX for 5 years and moved back to Pittsburgh in 1998 with my two oldest sons when they were 5 and 2, to our house in Brentwood. We currently live in Brentwood."
I really enjoy the soft colors and her supple style of artwork. Laura is quite a busy lady when she is not painting.
"I am a single mom of three sons ages 21, 18 and 9. My oldest is graduating this month with an Associates in Accounting, my middle son attends RIT studying Industrial engineering, and my youngest is in fourth grade and very active in Judo and baseball. We have a pet budgie named Hopper.
I have worked full time for 16 years for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in human services. I currently support and oversee county government offices and programs that provide services to people with intellectual disabilities.
As the owner of a ‘fixer-upper’ home, and a single parent, I have learned to be very handy around the house. I have remodeled most of my almost 100 year old home. I love adventure and over the last few years have begun rock climbing and became crazy about tree courses and ziplining."
I'm always interested in how people get started creating artwork. Here's what Laura had to share:
"My dad used to draw little pictures and mazes when I was a kid to keep us kids busy. My two oldest sisters also used to spend time with me drawing, coloring and creating"
I was curious about what type of artistic training that Laura had.
"When I was in ninth grade my art teacher recommended to my parents that I attend Saturday art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Paying for art classes was a stretch for them on their budget but I went and often I took two buses to get home. These classes were so exciting to me and gave me the opportunity to get my hands on so many supplies that I would never otherwise have seen, and made me a museum ‘insider’. Ninth grade was the last year you could attend at the museum, and I was fortunate to receive an award at the end of year show which allowed me to attend Carnegie Mellon University Pre-college classes for two semesters in tenth grade. From there I just had a smattering of lessons, oil painting at Clarion University and watercolor at CCAC. My watercolor teacher suggested that I should teach classes. I’m otherwise self-taught and buy every art book I see at garage sales and watch a LOT of youtube videos."
As I said earlier in the post, Laura's primary median is watercolor, but she also sketches in pencil, charcoal, uses acrylics, oil and pastels. Lately she said that is also dabbling in multi-media designs.
I asked Laura what her favorite and least favorite parts of creating her artwork were.
"My favorite part of creating my artwork is that is so meditative and therapeutic. When creating, I think of nothing else but the brush, paint, design, color, stroke, etc and can get quite lost in it. My least favorite part is that I don’t get to create as often as I’d like or spontaneously when I get ideas. I keep a list of ideas in my phone so that I can remember them later."
I asked Laura who her favorite artists are.
"I’ve always loved the Impressionists. Van Gogh is a favorite as his work is so expressive and alive, and his story so tragic. I believe that some of the very best art comes from great pain.
Also, a local artist, Charles Pitcher, of Bethel Park, who passed away a few years ago was an amazing artist. He painted local scenes and often white birch trees. I have a deep love of trees and he captured their spirit so well. I regret that I never had the chance to study under him."
Laura also offers classes but had to take a break to have time to work with her youngest son.
"I was teaching children and adults for local art non-profits and offering private lessons. I also do my own version of the ‘paint and sip’ classes you see everywhere, which are mini watercolor workshops for beginners. I have done these for adult birthday parties and that is great fun!
I will be offering classes again in the spring. I took a break as my youngest son was recently diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and is currently receiving intensive treatment 4-5 evenings per week."
You can find Laura's work on her website; Laura Sippos Art. She also shows locally if you live in the Pittsburgh area.
"I have sold 9 pieces and completed 5 commissions since I started showing my work in 2009. I show locally at non-profit art groups’ galleries, local library shows and the Galleria Mall in My Lebanon."
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Laura and her beautiful artwork this month. Thanks so much for joining us on another artist of the month post.