How I begin…

Most of my current paintings start with a random application of colors. I look at the resulting abstract brush strokes and shapes & begin to tease out people and animals, landscapes and odd shapes which have nothing to do with each other until… they do.

To illustrate how this works I have made four different drawings using the same panel with a random white “smoosh” on a black background. (I think the lack of color makes this illustration easier to see).

I take a photo of the original panel and use a drawing app on my iPad to do a digital drawing over the top of it. I then rotate the photo 90 degrees to see the possibilities for another drawing, then rotate the photo again to get yet another viewpoint. Each turn suggests different images and I get four possible starting points for a painting.

Working with acrylics allows for quick drying and paint-overs. Sometimes the painting will offer possibilities directly on the panel so I do not always go through the preliminary digital sketches. The iPad is most helpful for seeing what would happen if I were to make major changes on a slow drying oil painting, thereby saving time and materials.

Working this way creates colorful abstract paintings with seemingly unrelated figurative elements that present narratives unique to each viewer. In letting go of pictorial logic and premeditated metaphor I have found freedom in composition, boldness in color choices and magic in following the random line. I let the colors, shapes and brush marks lead the way and use oil paint and oil sticks to complete the paintings.

Starting in June 2016 Leslie will be offering one day sessions to those interested in experiencing this approach to painting. See Workshops