In the Studio

Mountain Fig by Claire Lau 06F
By moving her painting practice out of the studio into the landscape, Claire Lau 06F explores the human impact on the environment. The mix of nature and human activity in the Hong Kong cityscape, where she grew up and currently lives, is the focal point of much of her work. Plein-air painting, which she discovered during her Hampshire Division III, captures the world directly in front of her with immediacy and intimacy.

“I think it’s increasingly important for today’s privileged populations to interact and build a relationship with their immediate environment,” says Lau. “While painting outdoors, I want to compel overstimulated eyes to pause and ponder their surroundings.”

As artist-in-residence at the Yew Chung International School, Lau spent a year and a half working closely with students from kindergarten to high school. The final project she worked on at the school was a 40 x80-foot mural created by students and artists based on their individual visions of Hong Kong. The results reaffirmed Lau’s belief in the importance of taking a concept and following wherever it leads.

“In all of the jobs and experiences I’ve had since Hampshire, I’ve been diving into new experiences, and trusting my judgment to guide me through making informed decisions along the way,” says Lau. “The determination to complete a project and not be afraid of charging into uncharted territory is an attitude that definitely strengthened during my time at Hampshire.”

Claire Lau 06F’s plein-air paintings often show the interplay between nature and the urban environment (in this case, Hong Kong).

Claire Lau 06F’s plein-air paintings often show the interplay between nature and the urban environment (in this case, Hong Kong).