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David Leonard | Painter

Born in 1962, Painter David Leonard has shown regularly in Austin, Texas and nationally, and since 2004 in commercial galleries. He has a BFA in Fine Art for painting from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. He discovered his passion for art at a young age. His first subjects: people and places. His later inspiration: cityscapes, landscapes and man-made objects—often industrial.

His blue-hued oil paintings convey a certain calmness one would not typically associate with the subject. “It’s true I don’t care for edgy tension. I prefer a balanced calmness. I want the viewer to be at ease with the painting, to invite contemplation even if the subject matter may be something overlooked in your everyday world. This is where I find my challenge, I take busy, blurred elements of our daily lives and compose them into soothing paintings getting the viewer to see beauty in almost anything” David explains.

Methodical and thoughtful, David regularly travels to places he finds interesting to seek out new subject matter. “Deciding what to do next is complicated. Sometimes I continue on the same kind of subject, sometimes I do the opposite.” He typically works on one painting at a time until completion and produces one work a month on average. Along the way, he ponders future works by producing small studies on board. His favorite places of inspiration are the refineries of Philadelphia and the skyline of New York City.

Aside from dense urban environments, David is also inspired by clouds and water, and American poet Charles Bukowski who was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles. Favorite artists include American painter Wayne Thiebaud, Italian still life painter Giorgio Morandi, Bay Area Figurative School painter David Park, American cityscape painter Ben Aronson, Spanish sculptor and realist painter Antonio López García, and American realist painter George Bellows.

David and his wife, Marie, are collectors and feel it is important to offer affordable art. “I think it’s very important. Many of my collectors are new to it and are of modest means.”

Leonard is currently reading New Art City by Jed Perl and recently completed Lee Hall’s biography on Betty Parsons. He finds it interesting to learn of how other artists and dealers navigated through their careers.

The great Austin, Texas weather affords him the opportunity to regularly pursue tennis and kayaking. Personal philosophy: If what you are doing makes you feel dread then stop doing it, life is short. And when asked what he would do if he weren’t an artist, David says he would be a waiter.

Click to buy David’s limited-edition prints now.

written by Colleen Cassady, Guest Curator


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