3 Questions Digital Series

Leanne Fink

An interview from Art in Embassies 3 Questions Digital Series with Leanne Fink, who speaks about her creative process and artwork.

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Full Transcript

I’m Leanne Fink, and I’m an artist from Hamilton, Virginia. I think that living in such a beautiful place is part of my inspiration as an artist. I am more drawn to the natural environment and to, you know, living out in the place where I can look out onto a historic farm in my backyard.We have the most dramatic skies out just looking out the studio windows, looking out in our backyard overlooking the farm. We see some of the hills in the distance and again, winter through spring. It’s like three seasons. We get the most beautiful sunsets here, and I am always been drawn to painting the sky ever since I was a child. Being nestled in the foot of the Blue Ridge Western Loudoun is such a special place. The Blue Ridge Mountains are blue for a reason. There is a biochemical reason that they appear blue and they really do.
It’s like the softness. So I get a hint of that. When I look out my backyard, I get a hint of that hillside and our rolling hills in the winter are a beautiful wheat color there, almost like a Naples yellow.
And I see purples and mauve tones and these beautiful aquas and pastel pinks in the sky. I think there are so many colors in the landscape at any time. It’s beautiful and it speaks to my heart as an artist.
Generally speaking, I work in oil and cold wax on linen, and I am a studio artist and I also plein air paint. You really have to work fast when you’re out in the field, and I consider plein air painting an integral part of my art.
I will complete up to about between 80 to 90% en plein air, and then I will take it back to my studio. Sometimes I will complete the plein air painting in that time frame the same day that I started it.
But many times what I’ll do is I’ll let a day or two or maybe three go by in order to just kind of ruminate on it a bit and let it sink in and say, Well, is the color palette really what I was aiming for out there to portray?
To really give the feeling of, you know, what I want to put forth, it isn’t necessarily, you know, a message that I want to hit my viewer with between the eyes. It is more, you know, a moment in time, you know, capturing an essence of a location.
When I work in the studio, I am working with either photographic reference or I’m working with some of the oil sketches that I have produced clean air to go to a final, larger scale painting. I find myself chasing the luminosity in the final stages of an oil painting.
If I have an area of typically a shape that is warm color, then as I’m looking and studying, I will, you know, maybe make my adjacent shapes or even carry some of that other color, like a cool getting into the jewel tones, bringing that color into that warm shape a little bit.
Many times it’s very subtle, but from a distance, it really it speaks to me and it’s it’s the way I want my art to be presented to the world at this point in time. It all began with my trip to Jordan.
We decided to go to visit in September of 2019. The first place we went to was Jerash and then from there traveled on to Wadi Rum. I started to feel, I don’t know, a great affinity for the country, but also kind of feeling this vibrational tone in my heart center.
While we were there, I just I just kept repeating cradle of life, cradle of life. And by the time we got toward Wadi Rum this was an all out, full blown existential experience to touch down in a location that is all, you know, sun bleached and pastel colors and, you know, rock formations and, you know, scrubby bushes that are this bluish green that are just gorgeous. The sky at times was seemingly filled with with sand that there were also some days where the sky was actually color of my wall behind me. It was very, very brilliant.
I mean, it just spoke to my heart as an artist. And so the whole time I’m thinking, Well, I have to. I have to do a collection of to create and paint a collection based on this vacation because I’ve already I’ve already gotten hundreds of reference photos.
And you know, afterwards, when I was working on the collection, my husband many times will help me with the title of a work of art. And you know, if it doesn’t immediately come to me, I’ll say, OK, let’s kick this around a little bit.
And so we both concluded the cradle of life was a good title for the collection, we added. I added the Treasures of Jordan because of the imagery that I wanted to portray. My work before Jordan was a lot more vibrant.
The color palette was more augmented color, putting it where I wanted it to be. And then when I went to Jordan, I realized that I had to change my entire color palette in order to be able to portray what I was feeling.
It took me weeks to just learn how to mix new colors that were in line with what I saw in Jordan and what I wanted my Jordan paintings to feel like. And I feel that it’s my way of being able to return to Jordan. And it having been such an amazing experience.”