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My portraits, figures, and landscapes reflect life today, but also have a timeless feel. Oil paint permits freedom of expression that is only limited by my imagination and the constraints of two dimensions, allowing a rich variety of visual effects. I enjoy the adventure and physicality of painting, the unabashed sensuousness of the art form, and the freedom to explore abstraction, realism, and anything in between.
Each painting begins with a foundation of studied draftsmanship using high quality materials and traditional techniques. I create long lasting artworks using the latest conservation information available. A portrait documents a moment in one’s life that is saved for generations. Even if a painting is not a formal portrait, I feel compelled to make my work of the highest quality I can. Unlike some art today that is meant to be temporary or mainly conceptual, for me longevity is a central element.
I explore my portrait and figure subjects in a sympathetic way that reflects my personal interest in them as individuals or as archetypes in their community. My paintings speak to our common humanity and current issues, while I celebrate individuality and the unique character of my subjects.
In landscapes, I revel in ever-changing light effects and the impossible beauty I find wherever I look. I am currently developing a series of landscape paintings that celebrate America’s parks and wild spaces. I have been enjoying many plein air painting adventures in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and California.
I also seek out rural and industrial settings closer to home. My "Distant Neighbors" series focuses on my community in West Virginia. This rust belt region of coal mines and dominating steel and power plants along the Ohio River typifies American industrial decay. Appalachian people are known mainly through stereotypes. Through portraiture, figurative compositions and landscapes, I address this long-suffering but proud population in a world apart and left behind.
Leslie Nutting was born in California, but has lived in New Mexico, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Canada and Hong Kong. She earned her BA degree in History and Asian Studies from Williams College in 1985. Upon graduation, Leslie entered government service as a foreign affairs officer, and over the years has had many opportunities to travel. Her peripatetic background inspired her interest in people and cultures all over the world as well as in her own backyard. She lives in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Ojai, California, with her husband and three children.
Leslie studied art at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Museum of Art, and received her MFA in Painting from Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2010. She is a member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Oil Painters of America, California Art Club, and the Portrait Society of America.