“My mother claimed I painted a mural in the hallway of our house in Coney Island when I was five or six,” Leslie says. “Unfortunately, I have no recollection of this apparent masterpiece, and she never thought to take any photos. I’m not sure she even knew how to use a camera… Can you believe it? Given that beginning, though, I suppose it’s no surprise I became a painter.”
Leslie spent 18 years as a dress patternmaker in NYC’s fashion industry, frequently designing and sewing her own clothes. Then she started painting in pastels, falling in love the moment she put stick to paper. “I remember walking home from my first pastel class; my feet barely touched the pavement. I was lit up!”
After leaving NY and traveling for several years, Leslie settled in the Denver, Colorado area. She studied with award-winning watercolorist Chuck Danford for four years. Somewhere along the way, she took a detour into fiction, writing and publishing three young-adult novels which can still be found gathering dust on Amazon.
“A novel can take a year or more, draft after draft, polishing every paragraph until it sparkles, getting it edited, hunting for an agent, on and on,” Leslie explains. “It’s truly heartbreaking when your books, which are kind of like your babies, go out into the world and sink without a trace. But for me, painting is never heartbreaking!”
Leslie teaches painting classes from her Englewood Studio. Her work has been juried into the Pastel Society of America’s annual competition. When not at her easel, you can find her merrily traipsing through thrift stores, loudly out-singing contestants on The Voice, and enjoying the endless beauty of Colorado.
My years as a dress patternmaker created an acute awareness of shape and line, which have become one of the main focuses of my current work. When I would do dress fittings on the model, she would sometimes ask for a quarter-inch correction to the pattern. That quarter-inch frequently made a huge difference to the way the dress hung. It is the same with my paintings now. Small (or large) alterations to the shapes and the way they fit together can change the whole rhythm and flow of the piece. The power of shape fascinates me.
My other focus is definitely on color. I love the way it can create harmony or discordance, excitement or calm. I’m intrigued by color’s effect on human emotion (as well as its effect on a room).
I’m always trying new techniques and materials such as collage, mono-printing, sgraffito, upcycling thrift store paintings, and scribbling using a variety of tools such as crayon or marker. I paint because it’s absorbing, fulfilling, exciting, and sometimes truly transformative.
I hope you can feel any or all of that in my work… or you’d just like it over your sofa!