Featured Artist Lesley Riley

Artist Lesley Riley creates digitally altered cyanotype prints that produce stunning botanical imagery. Follow her story by visiting her website.

 

“Party of Three” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 24” x 24”

“Party of Three” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 24” x 24”

 

My work has always been a response to my surroundings, both literally and figuratively. When raising my six children, I chose materials and forms that were both domestically inspired and childproof, carving my studio and time from nooks, crannies and stolen moments.

 

“Indigo Autumn” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 30” x 40”

“Indigo Autumn” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 30” x 40”

 

As my space and time expanded, so did my art and reach. Not content to follow other peoples’ patterns, I quickly moved from pieced quilting to art quilts. Cloth doll making followed. The only danger to children being needles and pins.

 

“Graceful” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 9”

“Graceful” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 9”

 

While waiting for my “free” creative time to arrive, I filled my head and my hands with classes in basket weaving, drawing, oil painting, design and composition; safekeeping the knowledge for that someday when my time was mine, all mine, and I would hit the ground running. I went to bed every night thinking that maybe tomorrow was the day I’ll have some time for art.

 

“Bells Are Ringing” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 18” x 18”

“Bells Are Ringing” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 18” x 18”

 

It was then I learned that every five or ten minutes spent creating is a victory. Those daily minutes add up and keep you in flow, so that when the larger blocks of time do appear, your art engine is already running. I was a jack of all trades—master of none—but have come to realize how they all finally came together to inspire and inform the art that finally had a chance to spill out.

 

“Crosscheck” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 12”

“Crosscheck” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 12”

 

I cannot imagine my life without art. I consider myself a late-bloomer, hitting my stride and finding my voice at forty-seven. I was so excited by this “awakening” that I wanted to share it and encourage others, who may be waiting for when the time is right, to create now!

 

“Sunshine 4” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 24” x 24”

“Sunshine 4” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 24” x 24”

 

My art and enthusiasm for art have created opportunities to teach workshops across the United States and in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Italy. I have written seven mixed-media books and coached others toward their own artist success. I hold a twice a year Red Thread Retreat in Knoxville, Maryland, giving women the opportunity to escape the day-to-day and try new art forms with nationally recognized instructors (including me!)

 

“Rusty Blues” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 12”

“Rusty Blues” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 12” x 12”

 

Social media enables me to share new ideas and inspire others with my daily posts on my no-excuses, outside-the-box approaches to making art and my nightly Quotes to Sleep On.

 

“TGIF” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 30” x 40”

“TGIF” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 30” x 40”

 

A 2015 move from a lifetime in the city to a forested mountaintop expanded my space and soul in unexpected ways, providing inspiration and materials for my current body of work with leaves and wet-cyanotype (an altered version of the mid-19th century cyanotype process).

 

“The Sensitive One” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 36” x 30”

“The Sensitive One” Digital Art from Cyanotype Print, 36” x 30”

 

I love incorporating a part of where I live into what I make. My original wet-cyan leaf prints are the jumping off point for digital photo manipulation used as a tool to amplify and enrich their natural shapes and creating colorful and unexpected imagery that draws you in.

 

Artist Lesley Riley working with cyanotype prints in her studio

Artist Lesley Riley working with cyanotype prints in her studio

 

With my Modern Botanicals, my goal is to make you look twice and think twice about the (extra)ordinary leaves that fill your life.

 

Artist Lesley Riley invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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