A sparrow's journey through this crazy, beautiful life...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Soul Food Meet and Greet: Roberta Laliberte

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Today we are welcoming Roberta Laliberte! After you read her interview, be sure and stop by her blog and enter her GIVEAWAY!!!

 My journey began as far back as childhood.  I would copy Disney cartoons, my favourite. When I was 16 I was featured in Dateline Arts magazine in 1986 as one of the Artists of the year 2000. Ironically, I was pregnant in the year 2000. I did attend art school at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick Canada, a small university with a well known and prestigious fine arts program. Of over 1200 applicants 24 were selected for my class. When I look back on that it shocks me. It never really sank in then. I have mostly been self taught, growing up and living in a small community there were no opportunities for art classes. Until my late twenties I always thought I had really done well if my paintings looked so real you could hardly tell they weren't a photograph. So often it seemed that was how people would gauge an artist's abilities.  I broke free when I met a friend from Africa who painted her house wacky colours, bold and vibrant and she made things that just made me see things differently. Colors came alive and I no longer wanted them to look real. At this point I was still doing mostly realistic work and in watercolour. A few things happened in recent years that kind of made huge changes for me. I went from having no clue how to use a computer four years ago to learning to blog, to learning how to create digital artwork which I began selling in my shop when I opened it up a couple years ago. Around the same time, I found my first issue of Sommerset Studio magazine and fell in love! It was exactly what I saw in my head and rejected because it was not accepted in the art community. I realized then that I didn't care. As of late I have begun doing a lot of teaching and workshops in schools. I have been fortunate enough to have been selected for some grants through the Manitoba Arts Council and just this past month I attended an International Educators Workshop at Julliard at the Lincoln Centre Institute in New York and I loved it! 

To get inspiration, I love to browse my Sommerset mags. Sometimes it is the Sommerset Life magazine. I love to use the gorgeous colors and textures in the photos and sometimes I use those for inspiration. I pull the colours, textures, even the composition sometimes. I  actually use the pages themselves for collage every so often. I love browsing other artists techniques on youtube, blogs etc. Sometimes just cleaning and organizing my workspace helps. I need to get real messy when I am creating and when I am done I can't even think about starting another project until I have a clean space to work. Things that nourish my creativity are usually things that give me an emotional response. Time of day, the lighting, music. I often play music while I am out walking usually in the evening or morning when the sunlight is peeking through trees, I walk feeling like I am part of a dramatic scene in a movie, something beautiful. My favourite scene from a movie was the swan scene in The Notebook. I just loved how beautiful and romantic it was. I love stuff like that and I love seeing that in my own everyday life. The beautiful, meaningful moments in life that so many of us miss while we are busy in the grind.

Right now my signature colors, I guess, are turquoise, pink and warm green. That changes but for some reason I seem to constantly gravitate towards those colours. Sometimes my intention is completely different and then I go to do my thing and poof, all of a sudden those colors are there. 

One piece that I created that I was really proud of was my first public art installation. I had never created anything so large before and I must say I was rather proud of how it looked hanging in that library. It was also a very self affirming experience for me as the professional artist that I collaborated with on the project could not say enough about my abilities and my work ethic and professionalism. It was also a project that made it possible for me to get the grants that I have been awarded lately so I am sure thankful for that!

 One piece of advice I would share with learning artists is to trust your own inner voice. I learned by copying others work, studying it and figuring out by trial and error how they did what they did. This became a problem when I realized I had to think for myself and had nothing original, my own, to contribute. It took a long time to hear my own little inner voice and to start "seeing" things or more to the point reproducing "how" I saw the world. It's hard to jump off the reality boat it's kind of a crutch, but once you do it is so freeing. So if you feel like you are not sure if you can take it if someone says something discouraging about your work then don't ask them what they think. Just strut your stuff and if they ask why did you do that just tell them that was how you meant it to be!

Check out our new class coming December 30, 2013! Join 39 artists over 6 months for a mix of art and craft projects as diverse as the different personal styles of our instructors: cool mixed media techniques, art dolls and other sewing projects, jewelry making, handmade journals, abstract art, portraits, sculpting, works on canvas and in journals. Find out more!


  1. Beautiful artwork you are making, looking forward to bee in your class :)

  2. Thank you for such a lovely post! I can' t wait too!

  3. A pleasure to meet you~
    Thanks for sharing , and giving great advice xox


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