James Leonard born in America; has emerged as one of California’s leading abstract expressionist painters. Leonard’s emotionally charged landscapes often portray backdrops for figures dramatically suspended. Leonard grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and has always been drawn to the early expressionists of the 1930’s and 40’s. The German painter Gerhard Richer has had an influence on his style, approach, and directness.
Working with acrylics on canvas, Leonard uses bold horizontal and vertical strokes and strong color to the viewer’s emotions. “Art has always been the focus of my life,” he says. “Just as our lives unfold in unique and beautiful ways, so do my paintings have their own unique and individual expression.”
“Most artists work from the outside in, the subject is outside of themselves. I work from the inside out,” says Leonard. Most artists work with brushes; Leonard works with an extended palette knife. “I’m pulling paint, layering one layer at a time, which creates a sense of history in the painting. It’s like looking at a fence post that’s been repainted over a period of time. You can see the different colors and layers.”
“Great art is such a surprise. It’s so enchanting, so delightfully unexpected and unpredictable. In order to create that, you have to drop the concept of imposing what you think it should be, and allow the work to evolve in its own way. That requires all the skills of listening, allowing, learning to quiet that part of our mind that is constantly telling us how things should be. For me, that’s the essence of creativity.” – James Leonard