L E S L I E W U
When I’m not in the studio I am paddling on Puget Sound, or walking along it’s shores. I grew up kayaking and camping in the Adirondacks, along the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Carolina Coasts. I’ve lived in Upstate, NY near the Finger Lakes and in the Midwest near Lake Michigan. Now I live in the North West on Vashon Island. Where ever I have lived, these particular stretches of seas, lakes and rivers go with me. They are in me every bit as much as I am in them.
I am influenced by the subtle landscape paintings of the 19th century Luminists, who were focused on the effects of light and atmosphere, especially Sanford Gifford. John Frederick Kensett's compositionally reduced paintings interest me as well as the understated solitary moments in Edward Hopper’s and Casper David Friedrich’s work.
I paint with with a reverence for the landscape. Feeling and memory are essential parts of my process. On site I take many photographs. Then begin with charcoal sketches to distill my feelings into simplified compositions. This allows me freedom when painting to remember the powerful connection I experienced in the landscape.
Sometimes I collaborate with my father who was a wonderful photographer and I’ll adapt his images of our camping trips from the 50‘s and 60‘s into my paintings. This is where the figures in landscape began for me. Now when I’m camping and see children and adults acting like children I photograph them to celebrate nature’s inherent, self contained power to uplift.
To further express the power and serenity of landscape I’ve increased the scale of my paintings to allow me to feel the expansiveness of the place and the awe that I experienced as a child and continue to experience now.