Featured Artist Laura McRae-Hitchcock

Artist Laura McRae Hitchcock explores the idea of Thin Places through her ethereal nest and abstract paintings. Visit her website to find more of her portfolio.


abstract painting with nests by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Phone Home” oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″


My art moves between realism and abstraction in much the same way that I myself move between living and loving my life as a human being, and experiencing life through my ever-deepening spiritual practice.


abstract painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“The Clearing” acrylic on canvas, 20″ x 20″


For over five years, I’ve been exploring the idea of Thin Places. To me, this has come to represent the intersection of my two worlds. I heard the term used in 2016 during my two-month artist residency in Ireland. Thin Places describes a physical place on earth where heaven is so close you can feel it.


abstract painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Moonbeam” acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″


I’ve been trying to capture that feeling in my art ever since.


abstract landscape of a tidal creek by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Tidal Creek” acrylic on wood panel, 12″ x 12″


At first, I began with painting landscapes en plein air. I began to travel, thinking that was the reason I’d been so inspired. I even started a travel art workshop/retreat company called Wild Hair Adventures with a couple of friends so I could experience even more new places.


abstract landscape by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Marsh Morning” acrylic on wood panel, 12″ x 12″


But while the small studies I did while traveling came close to helping me remember how I felt outside, they didn’t translate into the feeling I was trying to create in my large studio paintings.


abstract nest painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Forever Safe” oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″


I began to exaggerate colors and shapes and finally jumped into full abstraction to interpret what I’d seen and felt in those Thin Places. That’s when I began to get as excited about painting in the studio as when I painted outside.


abstract painting with a nest by Laura McRae Hitchcock

“Return to Joy” acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 30″


At the same time that I started traveling, I began a series of nest paintings. What started with one nest, painted to work through my sorrow (and hope) as my last child left for college, turned into an ever-evolving series of nests which became quite autobiographical.


abstract nest painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Forever in Her Heart” acrylic on wood panel, 12″ x 6″


When Covid hit, all travel came to a screeching halt. I’ll have to admit, I was stumped for a bit. But being stuck at home has actually brought more insight and more spirituality to my work.


abstract nest painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“Her Refuge” acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 24″


Staying home, I have had time to study, read and dive deeply into my own beliefs. As I continue to work with this idea of Thin Places in mind, I have come to understand that paintings themselves can be Thin Places. They are a kind of portal; the artist channels her own feelings, energy and ideas into this work of art and Spirit joins her in that process. When it is finished, the viewer stands before it and can actually be moved themselves to feel something new, gain some new insight.


abstract painting by Laura McRae-Hitchcock

“XOXO” acrylic on wood panel, 12″ x 12″


That is my hope, my prayer—that when a person sees my work, whether it is one of the nest paintings, a little plein air or one of my abstracts—it creates an opening in their heart to receive a renewed feeling of hope, a sense of peace and love, and a feeling of being connected to Spirit. For in the end that, to me, is what a Thin Place does for us. It is what my paintings do for me and I hope for the viewer as well.


Artist Laura McRae-Hitchcock invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


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  1. The style is very enjoyable. My favorite is Tidal Creek.

    • Hi Martha,
      I’m so glad that you enjoy my art. Tidal Creek is one of my favorites too…I painted en plein air. Our art retreat rental house was right at the edge of the marsh and I just loved standing out on the dock painting it!

  2. Laura,
    I particularly like your nest paintings. They are realistic but the backgrounds are abstract and designed to enhance the nest. I am a wildlife artist that paints realistically, but my backgrounds are done loosely. That’s the part I struggle with the most.

  3. Helen McDowell says

    I love the idea of the paintings themselves as Thin Places. Also kicking myself that I didn’t ask you about your art when we were at Pawley’s. Looking forward to seeing more of your work, and you!

  4. Hi Annmarie Snyder-Grove,
    I used to struggle with that too and still do sometimes. I think one thing that helped me was to use the aperture on my camera to focus on the nest and blur the background. Or you can paint the background abstractly first and then paint the nest in on top. Hope that helps you!
    Happy Painting! Laura

  5. Hi Helen!
    I am sure we’ll be talking painting the next time to come to Pawleys!
    I love the idea of the paintings themselves being Thin Places too. Art is so powerful visually, but I believe it moves us in mystical ways too. I believe Spirit uses all kinds of methods to get our attention, to communicate with us. One way is through the arts… music, sculpture, theater, paintings…Creativity/Spirit moves through it all not only connecting with the artists, but also hoping to connect with those of us watching, listening, and standing in front of the art as well. Powerful stuff, yes? It’s what gets me jazzed about painting for sure!
    Looking froward to talking with you about it in person!
    See you soon, hopefully!

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