First Place Drawing
Sponsored by: Artwork Archive, Jack Richeson & Co, Silver Brush Limited, Revelite, Portrait Society of America and Atlantic Papers
Leon Doucette Beverly, MA, USA Gathering, charcoal on paper, 15 x 22½" (38 x 57 cm)
Inspiration: Leon’s drawing was initially inspired by his father’s health. After a major stroke, there was a cloud of uncertainty concerning his recovery. Being very close to his father, Leon went through a period of unease and anxiety. He found the act of drawing especially cathartic. He asked his girlfriend and studio mate, Melissa Cooper, to pose. As he was developing the likeness, her expression—gazing beyond the confines of the studio ceiling—it became something else on the paper. It was a different kind of expression, as if her eyes were carrying the weight of Leon’s own worries. The image had become a meditation on trauma and uncertainty. Rather than a young woman simply reclining, here was an exhausted figure, gathering her strength, hence the title of the piece.
Artistic Path: After completing high school, Leon attended the New Hampshire Institute of Art. One of his professors, Jon Simon, became a mentor to him. Within a few months of graduation, Leon joined the curatorial staff of the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Seven years later, he still works full time at the museum. Both of Leon’s parents were musicians and encouraged his artistic endeavors. The paintings of his maternal grandfather lined the walls of his childhood home. Growing up with these paintings fueled his interest in art and history and made him aware that art communicates across generations.