Rosemary Leach’s bold acrylic paintings make ordinary objects extraordinary. Visit her website to see more of her work.
I painted through high school, knitted my way through an academic undergraduate degree. I snuck in painting courses wherever I could. At age 23, I became a high school teacher and was such a nervous wreck I was quickly given a prescription for Prozac. I looked at this prescription and knew: “I need to go to art school.”
Being a painter seemed utterly unreasonable and I thought being a potter was more practical. Any of you who are familiar with a potter’s life will get a laugh out of that. I treated every pot like a canvas, but glaze is a different animal. Alongside my pots, I exhibited paintings.
A critical lesson from pottery school was that the people who were good threw out a lot of their work. I don’t do that easily. I’m interested in the issue of artists getting rid of work they are no longer proud of. People sometimes make requests to buy paintings I have just painted over.
I have made friends with the ADD slices of myself. I paint from 9am-3pm every day, but I interrupt those hours with a bike ride, a ski, making soup, emptying the dishwasher. I approach a canvas with a particular feeling in mind. An image will come to mind that for me evokes that feeling, often a sense of yearning or soothing, a desire to come home.
Although I have painted all my 46 years, I find the medium constantly humbling. I am a keen learner but strangely resistant to learning from others. I put Ikea furniture together without checking the manual. There is a cost to that!
On the upside, I have no problem getting into the studio. I know some people really struggle to get to the canvas, whereas I have trouble pulling myself out of the studio. Taking a few days off, bits of travel enable me to see my work much more clearly. On the practical side, I’m not drawn to social media or marketing. This dilemma has required me to accept what is innate in me, as well as gently nudging myself to change my ways and opening my mind to possibilities.
Recently my work is at about 60% towards the idea I have in my head. I have spent much of the last decade operating publicly (excruciatingly) at about 20%. Getting the full tonal range, gestural brush strokes, neutral and saturated colours to sing together is a lot to pull off in synchronicity. Recently it has gotten easier and more consistent.
A friend of mine once said “Much of the art world is about distance. Your work is about coming closer.” Her comment was neutral, but it helped me to understand both my work and my life. I am all about the more intimate conversation.
Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!