My friend, Leslie, has an amazing creative talent that manifests itself in many ways. I featured her home a while back here and took you through a tour of her lovely home which is chock full of beautiful furnishings and great art. We love a lot of the same things and have been known to choose the same paintings for purchase without consulting each other - so far she's beat me to the punch, but I am sure there will be more opportunities!
Leslie is an artist in her own right and I have such respect for her diligence in painting and learning. I am an emotional decorator, artist, antique buyer and dealer - just about everything I do comes from my heart first, then my intellect - not always a bad thing, but I really admire Leslie's mind. She is intelligent, articulate, intentional, thoughtful, tenacious, educated and focused. She has chosen different subjects to paint to specifically practice her skill. I have included some still lifes, some whimsical, and some figurative paintings to show you her range of talent.
She is also a dear friend and I have wanted to share her work at Hill Country House for quite some time. I have asked Leslie a few questions and interspersed her work along the way.
When did you start painting and what led you to it?
There has always been a part of me that wanted to express and create, but I had neither the knowledge nor ability to even begin. The few times I would actually have the luxury of time to try, I did so poorly that I would give up and just assume artistic talent was something I did not have. So the energy was directed mostly toward the ‘crafts’ I enjoyed, like knitting and needlepoint. I started painting ‘for real’ almost 4 years ago, when Sandra Hulse came to spend a week with Sloan and Debra and graciously agreed to spend time every day showing Debra, Laura and me the basics. She was generous and patient, encouraging and accepting. And we were truly novices. Sandra is a fabulous artist, and a very dear woman.
(Leslie is referring to mutual friends and artists. I had the honor and pleasure of traveling to Italy last year with Debra, Laura, and Leslie.)
Are you self taught or have you had any instructions?
Both. Sandra gave us such a good grounding in the basics! And she lit the fire beneath with her humility and her acknowledgment of God’s role in creativity. The very first thing she did on the first day was read Rudyard Kipling’s poem, When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted (http://www.readprint.com/
How often do you paint and how long does it take you to finish a painting?
I wish I could paint every day, but there’s no way. It works out that I paint in spurts. Sometimes every day or almost every day for a few weeks, then there will be weeks where ‘life happens,’ and there will be no opportunity to paint for a while. But always, I try to stay in the painting ‘mode’ by reading, researching, looking at the art of others, etc.
This is Leslie's daughter, Jordan. I think is is an exquisite painting of a beautiful young girl.
Do you have a favorite subject matter?
I would love to work toward a rather abstract figurative style, but I’m just not there yet. So I’m still working on mastering the medium and the basics of values, edges, color, form, seeing/interpreting, etc. Eventually, I’d like to veer more toward being able to express the impact that a subject has on me in a more direct, less incidental fashion.
Do you have a favorite place to work and do you prefer inside or outside?
Debra is very kind to share her studio space with me, and it’s always a pleasure to work there. It’s a perfect setup and a great location. I can paint at home if there’s no distraction, but how often is that? I am NOT an outdoor painter. I think it would be fun, but heat and bugs are too much distraction for me. I like my comforts!
Is there any one artist whose work inspires you?
There are many. I loved Cezanne’s work before I ever knew who he was. I think there are some wonderful artists out there today whose work shows not just talent, but hard work and deep knowledge of both subject and process. That knowledge and understanding is what appeals to me. Georg Miciu –Nicolaevici in Argentina (http://www.georg.com.ar/) is probably my favorite artist. His work is just thrilling.
What are your hopes artistically for the future?
I’d like to just keep trudging up the learning curve. And it would be very nice to improve my skills while I do. Painting is a sort of therapy …it gets me out of the everyday concerns and out of my own small world. It’s a great blessing. And although I’m really grateful I don’t have to make a living at it, it is also fun when something sells. It’s just a little extra encouragement for the effort and the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve left something behind that is appreciated.
Could this be Dinner?
The precious little masterpiece was a gift to me from Leslie. I love the naive quality and the use of color. It fits right in with my folk art and Mexican things. What a treasured gift.
Thank you , Leslie, for sharing your talent and thoughts with us! I can't wait to see what you do next!