Jaymee Laws has been painting women for 20 years, not only because she says they are the perfect vehicle to convey emotion, but because of circumstances in her own life.
“And also because we live in a misogynistic culture and women are really important,” Laws said. “I was always interested in feminism and women’s history. I have four daughters, and so just women, in general, are in my life.”
“The women themselves are painted in a realistic style with surrealistic surroundings,” Laws said. “I incorporate a lot of natural elements. For instance, I do a lot with water or birds or trees, and also dream-like qualities.”
Her piece “Amphitrite” depicts the wife of Poseidon, octopus-like, and full of strength, beauty and mystery, she said.
“That used to be pretty much all I did — was paint women — and I do mosaic on the side, but now I’m trying to blend them together,” Laws said.
Laws recently has incorporated mosaic and stained glass, as well as wood pieces, into her work. Some pieces are solely mosaic.
Laws spends a chunk of her time on a 110-year-old, third-generation home where she, her children and husband reside. A stone mosaic floor in the dining room resembles a rug, while a floral mosaic covers the kitchen door.
“Little by little, I just am making the entire house into an art project,” Laws said. “I’m making something everyday. That’s a huge part of my life … Even if I’m not painting paintings, I’m doing something artistic.”
Laws’ artwork has spilled outside the house onto the garage.
“I painted this garden mural this summer just in my alleyway for people to enjoy when they drive by,” she said.
While Laws spends a lot of time doing art near home, she does have to be realistic with how her time is spent.
“Art is something that I have to do to be whole. It’s part of my soul just to make things,” Laws said. “But it’s also had to take a backseat to mothering.”
Laws said her children are demanding, but in a good way. Luckily, Laws said, her husband Jim — a drummer in the band 7 Devils — helps her go with the flow and is there to support the family.
“I find it pretty amazing how (Laws) finds the time to still be creative and produce so much beautiful artwork,” said Blue Lantern owner Dawn Abbott, who has helped set up the exhibit.
Laws has little time to actively sell her pieces, but said the Art Walk pieces will be for sale, ranging from $75 to $500, depending on size.
“I love that we’re having an Art Walk. And I love the increase in art and interest in art that’s happening in this Valley,” Laws said. “I grew up here, and I did move away for a while, and I moved back. It’s something that I always wanted to see here. The draw of a bigger city is the cultural aspect of it and the appreciation for more enlightened interests. It’s really exciting to see that here.”
Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.
->if you go:
WHAT: Jaymee Laws’ Downtown Art Walk display
WHERE: Blue Lantern Coffee House and Wine Bar, 326 Main St., Lewiston
WHEN: 5-9 p.m. Friday