Winnetka artist Linda Ann Weber describes her creative process as serendipitous.
One example is her abstract work, “Remembering Lake Winnebago,” which was titled only after she completed the painting. What came to life on canvas was not intentional, yet poignant all the same.
“Looking at it, I was reminded of the way it felt to be at my grandparents’ cottage on Lake Winnebago. The feeling of swimming in the lake, the feeling of happiness and freedom and summer as a child,” she says. “But the inspiration for the painting itself? There wasn’t one—other than what I was feeling and seeing in the moment working with these beautiful blues and aquas and greens. None of my paintings are meant to look like a specific landscape, but sometimes, they do.”
For Weber, color and pattern have always simply flowed. As a little girl, sitting down with pile of markers or crayons, she would take a blank sheet of paper and start making patterns until the whole space was filled.
“The colors and shapes just came. Nothing was planned, it was just intuitive,” says Weber, who has two exhibitions this summer featuring her contemporary abstract works at The Highland Park Art Center and North Shore Art League.
Growing up blocks from the lake in Evanston, Weber was encouraged in artistic expression by her mother who painted and drew, and by a sister, who is also an artist.
Weber’s natural knack led her into a career in graphic arts. She spent a few years in packaging design before moving to publication design, shaping magazines and books, and leading teams as a creative director for Morton Grove-based Publications International.
A stint living in North Carolina then led her to explore freer forms of artistic expression. In Charlotte, Weber met the owner of Blue Pony Gallery, which had a press and specialized in exhibiting monotypes, etchings, woodcuts, and other art made with printmaking techniques.
“I was really drawn to printmaking and started taking classes there, making monotypes and monoprints where I would put a piece through the press several times, adding different layers of drawing, collage, and ink,” she says. “But I wanted to explore other forms of art and so, I started painting.”
By 2013, Weber was painting full time, creating multiple series of smaller abstract work and larger individual works. Initially, Weber says segueing from graphic design to facing a blank canvas was challenging.
“Since the paintings come from within, it can make you feel vulnerable, like you are baring your soul,” she explains. “Also, when I was working as a designer, there was always somebody standing over your shoulder saying, ‘Make this red’ or ‘Use this font.’
Now—all of a sudden—it was total freedom, which at first felt terrifying but then became very empowering.”
Like her childhood drawings, Weber’s work today is still abstract and intuitive. Working with acrylic paint, pencil, crayon, paper collage, and glazing mediums, she builds each composition in layers. Until recently, most pieces ranged in size from about 30 x 30 inches to 30 x 40 inches. The addition of a new, larger studio space at her home in Winnetka means she will be adding larger-sized compositions to her body of work.
For more information about Weber’s work and her two current exhibitions, visit lindaannweber. com or follow her on Instagram at @laweberartist.