Her Creative Fury
Loudoun Sketch Club: Has creating art always been part of your life?
Leanne Fink: Yes, but it has evolved over time. Like most artists, I loved to draw as a child. I was the kid who copied every portrait out of the weekly TV Guide in pencil and rapidograph. My uncle was an accomplished oil painter and taught me the basics of the craft. After receiving a fine arts degree, I landed a graphic arts job in New York. Madison Avenue and 41st Street. Does anyone remember ordering type? How about a waxer or stat camera? I still have a pica ruler from those bygone days that always seems to measure more accurately than any other. After a few years in the business, my husband and I started our own NJ based agency. After almost ten great years, we both decided to pursue other careers. We went back to school and became doctors of chiropractic.
LSC: That must have been a challenge.
LF: Yes, especially since we were raising our two young daughters at the time. Looking back, it was a very crazy stressful time. My artwork took a backseat…except for one thing. I still made time to teach my girls how to draw. A family tradition I guess. Today, my youngest is a professional artist and entrepreneur and her big sister is a master calligrapher who works in DC.
After twenty years of helping patients, my husband and I retired from practice in 2015. It was time for me to get back to the canvas, brush, pencil, pen and paint. I dove headfirst into the arts community. I had already pursued graphic arts and didn’t find the need to do it again. It’s like wearing those vintage hip huggers after age 50. In this post retirement go round, my concentration is fine art. Specifically painting.
LSC: Was it difficult to go back to painting after such a long break?
LF: You know, that’s what I thought, but it wasn’t like that at all. Maybe I was making up for lost time in the studio but I was driven by a creative fury. There was so much in the world of art that I had not explored. I had always been an oil portrait artist. All of my work up till this time had been very representational, approaching photographic. When I was young, I considered landscapes to be very difficult…maybe even beyond me.
Two things changed that viewpoint. First, I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore. With age comes the understanding that doubting accomplishes nothing; doing gets things done. Secondly, I realized that I was living in one of the most picturesque places in America. I was awed by my surroundings. These vistas were begging to be captured in paint.
And so, I painted like a mad woman, experimenting with techniques and expanding into mediums that were a mystery to me… acrylics, encaustic, mixed media. I became involved with Loudoun Sketch Club, Loudoun Arts Council, WLAST, and FOLPA. I now count many fellow artists as close friends and love seeing their work and above all “talking art.” It’s no secret that the creative mind always demands stimulation.
LSC: So how has this recent frenzy changed you and your art?
LF: Art is an evolutionary process. I still enjoy portraits, of course, especially pet portraits. I don’t think that will ever change. But there is a marked difference. My style of painting is both expressive and representational, bringing to life colorful, uplifting landscapes, portraits, still life and fantasies. I am inspired by Erin Hansen, Trisha Adams and Antonia Walker.
And while I grew as an artist during that period, I could not maintain that furious pace. Life and art is all about balance and equilibrium. We know that there must be balance in our paintings with regard to composition and color. The same holds true when one has a free schedule. It is very easy to want to get involved with every juried show and event on the calendar. That’s what I was doing when I first returned to the studio. It was too much. It’s more important to follow your dreams than to be everywhere all the time.
LSC: What’s next for you?
LF: While 2016 was a year of discovery, 2017 is one of raising the bar on my artwork. For me that means working on larger canvases with more complex subjects and variety of media.
I believe that art inspires. It is for everyone. So I will continue teaching art throughout the year. I thoroughly enjoy working with adult students who have never held a brush before but who have an enthusiasm for art and a desire to learn. My Paint Your Masterpiece! classes are inspired by the great avant-garde painters of the last two centuries.
And since we live in a county where you can’t toss a rock without hitting a winery or brewery, I created the Toast to Your Inner Artist Workshop Series. In 2 hours I have the most delightful time guiding the enthusiast toward creating something exciting. These workshops, along with the “refreshments”, seem to be their own form of art therapy.
Come to visit me at WLAST on June 3rd or 4th. I will be returning as a guest artist to Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville. Contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Art energizes me. I always love to talk about it. My website is www.leannefinkart.com.