leslie shiels painting

Leslie Shiels

A full-time painter, Leslie Shiels (1950) was born in Ohio. She earned her BFA in 1974 from University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP). She has exhibited her work in galleries, museums and civic art venues in the United States, Bermuda & France. Her work is a part of numerous corporate and private collections including sight specific commissions for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The Mercy Hospital Group. She is represented in collections of The Masur Museum of Art, LA; the Alexandria Museum of Art, LA; The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum, WI; The Customs House Museum, TN; Masterworks Museum, Bermuda; Canton Museum of Art, OH; Huntington Museum of Art, WV; Zanesville Museum of Art, OH; & Richmond Art Museum, IN. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including the Artist Magazine, and seen on the set of ABC’s Nashville for seasons 1- 4. She served on the advisory boards of The Art Academy of Cincinnati & Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff Center for the Arts as a regional artist liaison. She was awarded numerous residencies including at the Weir Trust, CT; Anderson Ranch, CO; and South Hampton, Bermuda; The Indian Hill Historical Society published a book of her paintings, Indian Hill: A Point of View. Currently, she maintains a studio in the West End, Cincinnati, Ohio and downtown Aiken, South Carolina.

Artist’s Statement

I am a painter. I paint in oils…..the best I can afford at the moment..

Oil primed linen is my substrate of choice. I approach painting and art as a gift that needs tending and as a discipline. I go to the studio daily and stay regardless of the outcome. I believe in allowing for opportunistic success that comes through purposeful work. This approach opens the door to accidents that might be brilliant. I keep a wide blade wallpaper scraper at hand so that if the days efforts are not to my liking, I scrape the surface (though not too perfectly, just to the point of smoothness allowing for the ghosts to survive). I use the vestige as a building block that might prove to be the catalyst for an image that is ‘better yet” another day. I think of painting as I think of music…the rules & basic scales etc. need to be understood & known to play jazz…in order to ad-lib. Or as in acting.. to be able to do quality improv. Creativity is a muscle that requires exercise for fitness and I just happen to paint. I don’t make sketches, preliminary drawings, templates, models, etc. I might paint a study I believe could stand on its own. I paint. Starting is easy. Stopping is the trick. Finding out what it will ‘be’ is the fun.

I like the quote from C.Close that, “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. ” I just get to work regardless of the reason a particular image is on the surface. I work in series. A painting begins with a personal concern, a thought inspired by a novel, a news story, or a conversation boiled down to a single question or declaration. Previous statements and questions have included, “What tangible speaks of you?”, “Ignorance is the greatest common enemy.”, as well as “First and third world peoples are more similar than dissimilar.” and “Human social structure has much in common with animals that work as a pack.” The example I use is a dog.

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