artist statement

I like painting what is around me, what is familiar, because of the almost endless opportunities for deeper exploration. I am intrigued by the idea of “knowing” something by painting it many times, at different times of the day, and different times of the year—changing my palette as needed, the size of my canvas, and my medium. And this is true whether I’m exploring a landscape, figurative or architectural theme. Often the resulting pieces evolve and become more austere and abstract, restrained and mysterious.

I have always been interested in the transformative quality of light—how it can reveal, distort, dissolve or diffuse an object depending on the angle of the sun. How many ways can the light change the place, form, figure, or face? It is the act of returning again and again to a familiar place for deeper observation that drives my work.

I like to sketch and paint in plein air, and then return to my studio where I use these studies to create larger, more developed pieces. The larger work becomes a distilled and improvised memory. I don’t so much paint what I see, as paint what I feel about what I see. And while all my work is grounded by a sense of representation and place, I also love developing the surface of a piece.

I have always made art. It is part of the rhythm of my days…a constant element and constantly evolving part of my life.

Leslie Baker