Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May Artist Project - Leigh Gusterson

One of my favorite blogs belongs to Maggie Stiefvater - artist and author. She's been doing posts this month that she calls her May Artist Project. She picks artists that she finds interesting and posts a sort of book report on their style and work. Her picks have been interesting, she hasn't gone with the standard people and I've learned a lot. The other day her post challenged those of us who read her blog to pick an artist of our own and post our own insights into their work. So, with that introduction, here is my pick:

Leigh Gusterson is my choice for the May Artist Project. As Maggie would say, Leigh is dangerously alive - so I was supposed to ask her permission before posting her images. I admit I didn't ask before posting, but as I own both of these paintings I think I'm safe.

Leigh lives and paints in Taos, New Mexico and if you are at all familiar with artists of northern New Mexico you'll already know that her style and bright colors are native to the area.

Her color palette of bright colors and the fun, lively style of her drawing and painting are what I find most compelling about her work. Taos is my favorite place on earth and Leigh captures more than the look of the area, she captures the energy and feeling that is uniquely Taos.

Drive to Santa Fe 28x32 oil on canvas

Drive to Santa Fe depicts one of the most incredible views waiting for anyone who visits Taos. This painting shows Leigh's signature old truck with dog in the back. Both the truck and the dog figure prominently in a lot of her work and add interest and story line. When I look at this painting I feel happiness, excitement and anticipation of the unknown on this road trip.

Spring at Pablitos 34x38 oil on canvas

Spring at Pablitos captures the aliveness of spring. It feels happy and alive with the potential of a brand new season. I think the feeling of exuberant life that Leigh is so adept at capturing has to do with the bright colors and her bold and confident painting style. When I look at her work I imagine her on site painting away with confidence, with no hesitation. Brush picking up paint and bolding being placed on the canvas. Leigh's work is the definition of precise looseness. Her style is loose and free but also precise and well thoughtout.

Leigh's paintings are strong and command your attention. Her drawing skill is self-evident as is her painting skill - her talent is a given. What I find amazing about her work and what I hope to express in my own paintings are a sense of feeling and energy. I've emailed with Leigh on a few occasions and from that limited contact her vibrant personality is obvious. She is a very energetic person who is full of life - I imagine she'd be great to hang out with. I'm not particularly a high energy person and I admire that about her work and hope to incorporate into my own art. I would consider it a very high compliment if people who looked at my art work told me they felt positive energy coming from the canvas.

I hope you've enjoyed my artist for the May project. You can see more of her work and read about her interesting life at: http://www.leighgusterson.com/

1 comment:

Susan Carlin said...

Chris! You do have a thing for paintings with old trucks, that's for sure. These are juicy and fun and I can sure see why you'd want to share them with us. Thank you!