Lesley was always a creative kid and both of her grandmothers were hobby oil painters, but it wasn't until she was in college that she really discovered her love for painting. Lesley was an Art History major because she had this fascination with and passion for the stories behind the work but she truly fell in love with painting. From the first class, she was hooked on everything about it-- the beautiful way the colors mixed, the sound of the brush on the canvas, the way the paints smelled, everything. She kept painting after college but back in pre-social media days, Lesley didn't really see anyone she knew making a living as an artist, so she stuck to painting just for herself while working creative day jobs. It wasn't until she got married and started traveling with her husband that she slowly came to the realization that being a professional artist is what she was meant for and was something that she could actually do.
Every painting begins outside. Not plain air, but with her experiences in the fresh air. It is these moments that capture her heart and her imagination and move her to put paint to canvas. She carries these moments with her in photographs and memory until she is ready to allow them to spill forth in color. Lesley begins with a quick sketch in a loose, abstracted manner, allowing the composition to emerge as it comes-- she tries not to impress her own will upon it, but let it be what it will, whether that be mountainscape, seascape or something else entirely. She works in transparent layers, often scraping into, spraying onto, or rubbing back to reveal what is hidden. Often within that process of adding and subtracting is where the composition and beautiful little details, what Lesley likes to call "sparkles", emerge.
Lesley describes her artwork as atmospheric, mysterious, peaceful, organic, tranquil. Though grounded in naturescapes, her work is more about the feeling of a place than the place itself. Memory and perception of place play a large role in her work, as everything she paints is based on the way her mind recalls and how that comes out on the surface in paint.
She is most influenced by landscape and the natural world. Lesley and her husband are avid hikers and nature lovers and the memories of what she observes when they hike and travel is what emerges when she paints. For the last seven years, they've been travelling to new places, living in a different spot every 3- 6 months, so her landscapes have always been changing. Right now they are back in the Pacific Northwest, on the North Puget Sound in Washington, so she findings herself drawn back to the water and seaside colors and textures.
What Lesley longs for as an artist is to create work that moves the viewer, that captures the feeling of a moment or a place. she wants to know that she added some beauty to the world.