Inside the Studio with Painter Laura Lacambra Shubert
A Floridian with European roots realizes her lifelong dream to become a fine artist.
Above all else, Laura Lacambra Shubert captures moments. It is in this realm that the College Park–based painter finds comfort, showcasing life’s everyday moments with a joyful touch.
A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, Shubert has become a sought-after presence in the Southeast and exhibits her paintings everywhere from Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach to venues in North Carolina. Though her work has found prominence in these parts of the world, it can be said that Shubert honed her skills an ocean away. Born to a Basque father and an American mother in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in Spain and central Florida, Shubert grew up with an appreciation for American and European art. Family outings to the Prado and Sorolla museums were common, as were chats about art and culture with Juan Echánove, a successful Spanish artist and a family friend.
Trained both in the United States, where she received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Southern Methodist University, and Europe, where she attended the Académie de Port-Royal in Paris, Shubert describes her work as representational and handled in a loose, gestural manner achieved through her lushly textured oil over acrylic. A mother of three, Shubert, 54, often paints her children and the moments surrounding them.
“I’ve always been attracted to figures and how light falls on them,” she says. “My daughter has become a model for much of my work. Oftentimes, when I see beautiful light in a room, I ask her to strike a pose so I can capture it.”
There’s a distinctly feminine touch to Shubert’s work, which focuses on segments of time as only a mother can observe them. She’ll highlight children splashing in water or a lavishly decorated table set for a family feast, contemplative moments that non-artists may forsake. Her varying vantage points and tight cropping—perhaps a subconscious ode to impressionist Edgar Degas, a major influence on her work—evoke the way a person might zoom in on an image in real life.
Shubert decided she wanted to be an artist when she was 11 years old. In fact, within the margins of her schoolbooks, she would constantly scribble the letters “IWBAFA,” which stood for “I Will Be A Famous Artist,” a dream she kept quiet for fear that it would be dashed by a naysayer if she voiced it aloud.
Despite years of schooling and a steadfast focus on painting, when Shubert moved from France back to Florida in 1986, she had a difficult time finding work as an artist. To make ends meet, she began working at Walt Disney World, translating Spanish and French materials into English. There, she met her husband, John. Shubert would paint from their home, sometimes even in less than ideal conditions—such as the time their garage flooded, and Shubert had to paint in her wellies as she waited for the water to subside. Friends started buying her paintings, and an acquaintance eventually introduced her to a gallerist, which led to her first Orlando show in 1991. The rest, as they say, is history.
Even with an oeuvre that rivals that of some of the great masters, Shubert likes to think she has yet to peak in her career. “Art is a lot like a sport,” says Shubert, who will exhibit at Onessimo Fine Art Gallery in Palm Beach Gardens on December 16. “Before my dad died, we played a lot of golf together, even though I was awful. I was always hopeful for that hole in one; you’re chasing that dream always, to hit that sweet spot. That’s the same way I feel about painting. I’m still looking for that sweet spot as an artist.”