Artist of the month - February 2019 - Leslie McNeil


My journey into the art world has been a rather circuitous one with several starts and stops along the way. In the early seventies, I started working in oils, but I became impatient waiting for the paint to dry. After a couple of years, I packed up my box of paints and called it quits. My artistic nature started calling me again, so in the early eighties, I attempted watercolors, knowing I wouldn't have the issue of a long drying-time for the paint.. Instead, I found myself up against a formidable medium that I was unable to tame. My work turned out to be miserable failures- nothing but various shades of Payne's Grey. I abandoned that even faster than oil painting, and then took a long hiatus from the art world for over thirty years. 

As an interior designer, I first noticed pastels while looking for artwork for my clients. Not only was I captivated by the bold colors of this brilliant medium, but the soft, velvety texture. I kept telling myself that, "someday", I would try my hand at pastels. Well, that someday came over five years ago. Once I picked up a stick, I was immediately hooked! I loved all the ways I could experiment with color, and best yet, I didn't have to wait for paint to dry! 

Sometimes, I feel torn by the best of both worlds. I've lived my whole life in New England and now spend four months of the year in here Southwest Florida. The beautiful, natural landscape of New England, with the changing seasons, provides a never ending supply of subjects to paint. The familiar surroundings bring a comfort to my heart and soul. And the many amazing birds and colorful sunsets of Florida motivate me in a totally different way.

I'm very grateful to have such extraordinary teachers in Massachusetts, who have pushed and challenged me to go further. I'm also blessed to be part of very talented art communities, both here and at home who are a constant source of support & encouragement. Most of all, I'm thankful to God for giving me the ability and desire to paint the beauty that surrounds me everyday.......