James C. Leonard

American Art Collector - - Artist Focus -

Cal­i­for­nia-based ab­stract ex­pres­sion­ist James C. Leonard says,

“Art plain and sim­ple is some­thing you find in your heart and bring out for the world to see.” Work­ing with an ex­tended pal­ette knife and acrylics on can­vas, he cre­ates bold hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal strokes in strong colors in or­der to trig­ger the viewer’s emo­tions. This ba­sic move­ment is com­pli­cated by the in­ven­tive lay­er­ing of dropped, speck­led and frag­mented colors that cre­ate a sense of ad­di­tional depth.

Leonard says, “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.”

This lay­er­ing cre­ates a rich can­vas that is ever new. His paint­ings have am­bi­ent land­scape qual­i­ties and can have 30 or 40 lay­ers in one paint­ing. His fi­nal touch em­ploys a tech­nique called sgraf­fito— where he scrapes lines through the up­per lay­ers so the colors of the ground lay­ers show through. The Ger­man pain­ter Ger­hard Richter has in­flu­enced his style, ap­proach and di­rect­ness.

“My work de­vel­ops out of sense of ap­pre­ci­a­tion that each paint­ing will cre­ate its own life. My job is to en­ter into a re­la­tion­ship with the work, by lis­ten­ing to how and where it wants to de­velop,” he says. “Con­trol is not the is­sue, re­spect and lis­ten­ing is. By al­low­ing [this], I am not lim­it­ing the de­vel­op­ment of what is pos­si­ble. The dis­ci­pline is re­straint, not im­pos­ing what I want or think the work should be.”

Leonard’s paint­ings have been ex­hib­ited in­ter­na­tion­ally. His works also re­side in pri­vate and cor­po­rate art col­lec­tions across the United States and Eu­rope.

Great Di­vide (dip­tych), acrylic on can­vas, 36 x 48 x 2"

Walk­ing on Wa­ter, acrylic on can­vas, 36 x 72"

Mi­gra­tion of Lives, acrylic on can­vas, 36 x 72"

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