LaRue shares her love of the untold, unfinished story in her fantasy portraiture. At first glance you see a woman in a beautiful dress, but upon further study and careful exploration of her work, one notices similar themes; jewel tones, wildlife in bloom and decay, a nod to renaissance classics, and an almost ethereal look about her characters rendering them timeless and undefinable.
Having spent her early childhood in Florida, the water and ocean will appear as familiar characters in much of her work. However, a move to the thick forests of Virginia at the age of ten has heavily impacted a continued theme of nature and wildlife.
To describe LaRue’s methods would be quite like describing any mythical creature and how they arrive at their final destination. Years of carefully curating props, gowns, and odds and ends, coupled with a rigorous exploration of the Shenandoah Valley have aided her in month-long adventures and off the cuff meetings that make every picture a story all it’s own.
A thick row of pine trees just after a heavy thunderstorm. A veil of fog rolls off the mountain and leaves everything in a haze to thick to see through. A figure walks through the fog wearing a long, crimson colored dress. As she walks, her train disturbs the curling ferns and hundreds of luna moths take flight around her. Her feet are bare and her hair is untamed, wild violets and other flowers tucked between her curls. An owl is perched on her right shoulder, picking at the flowers hidden in her hair.
Nature. The way the wind moves through wildflowers or how the sun glitters on top of a creek. Nature had me enchanted since day one. I am drawn to music, scores, and soundtracks from movies. They make me feel and imagine all sorts of things. Vintage dresses. Fabric that has a history to tell or along train that can drag across the forest floor. Paintings. The old masters, Pre-Raphaelite, I can easily spend an entire day at the art gallery in town. Myths, legends, and lore.
If I got to choose, I think I would be a mermaid. I was born by the sea, the salt water is fused with me. I could spend every hour of the day underwater- letting fish hide in my hair and collecting shells. It is a place that has always called to me and once I’m in, I feel at peace. Though, I think I could also be a fairy of the woods. Something about mushrooms and moss just gets me excited. I am always trying to befriend animals and spend too many hours in the garden.
"You're a true gem LaRue. You're tough and strong and insightful and capable and you can do it all on your own--and in a dress and standing on one toe and with one hand behind your back--but the fact that you choose to do it all with other people, including them in your journey, allowing them into your beautiful, vulnerable, beating heart, shining warmth all over the place like sunbeams and being patient with all good things to help them grow, well, that is a beautiful sight to behold."