Local artist Lainie Martin Strange, born in Kansas City, Kansas, moved to the Jefferson City area with her family from Clinton when she was 12. Her interest in art was already an integral part of her life by then, doodling Peanuts characters and writing/illustrating handmade paper books for fun.
She had artists within her family as inspiration. Her paternal grandfather retired as an art illustrator for the Kansas City Star; he was also a painter. Her father is an archaeologist who does a lot of technical drawing. By high school, she took every art class available, and when planning for college, she knew she wanted to explore some career in art. She attended University of Missouri in Columbia and really embraced the diverse art media she could try while there. She honed her drawing, painting and graphic design skills under the direction of some very inspiring professors. She graduated with a fine arts degree in drawing and graphic design and set out for a career in graphic design. As the internet evolved, she landed a newly created position for the state on the web team in the mid-1990s and is still part of that team today.
After college, Strange continued to dabble in several media: acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil and colored pencil. Over time, she loved the feel of colored pencil best, becoming her go-to medium, despite the fact that most would consider it a "slow-working" medium. On average, she plans out two to three nice-sized paintings per year. Sometimes, she will combine colored pencil, watercolor and watercolor pencil into one painting. Subject matters include Missouri landscapes and waterways, floral art as well as favorite travel locations across the United States. Her style has been described as having a surreal, soft, dreamy-like quality to it.
When Strange moved to Jefferson City, she just happened to move in across the street from a Jefferson City Art Club member. She stayed in touch with her, and when she graduated college, she encouraged her to join the club. Strange held many executive seats over the years, including Art Club president from 2001-03. The club has definitely been a positive networking experience with the art community over the years.
Over the last several years, she started dabbling with acrylics on rock. She loved the organic shape this type of palette provided and tried to integrate subject matter into the natural shape of the rock. With smaller palettes and quick dry times, she can complete one in a matter of days, which is nice. These one-of-a-kind artworks are great to place on a shelf or outdoors on a covered porch. The rock palette might have been a natural fit, with an archaeologist in the family. And he keep her in continuous supply of carefully selected rocks.
If there's anything she's learned about being an artist, it is that it comes in so many endless forms. It's not just someone who paints on canvas or draws on paper. A jewelry maker, a photographer, a muralist, a woodcarver, a cake decorator, a card maker, a tattoo artist, the list is endless. The "artist" within you may very well be that creative hobby or side gig you enjoy so much. Embrace it and carve out time for it!
Lainie Martin Strange is a member of the Best of Missouri Hands and the Jefferson City Art Club. She's been a participant in the local Adult Fine Art Exhibit since 1993. The Adult Fine Art Exhibit show begins April 2 and runs till June 5, at Capital Arts Gallery, 1203 Missouri Blvd. Visit capitalarts.org for gallery hours. You can find more of Strange's work at facebook.com/lainiestrangeartist or @surrealartbylainie on Instagram.