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James Leonard

My definition of art is that which keeps us connected and reflects the highest and most nobel ideas and intentions of mankind. I am most closely aligned to Mahatma Gandhi who said: “All true art must help the soul to realize its inner self. True art must be evident of the happiness, contentment, and purity of its author.” This is how I strive to express the deep appreciation and respect I have for being an artist. My paintings are also the attempt to integrate my profound respect for individuality with the process of making art. I work with-in an introspective, intuitive fashion and strive to bring a personal sensibility to the work. The process in which I work relies on developing a dialogue with the work. This dialogue allows the work to unfold in a non-judgmental way. Imposing my will upon the work does not allow the work to tell me how it wants to develop and where it wants to go. Control is not the issue in the development of the work, listening with respect is. Standing back and entering into a relationship with the work based on respect and trust, allows for this inner dialogue to take place. I work at not trying to determine a specific outcome or predetermined idea, but through dialogue allowing for the emergence of the individuality of each painting. This is the only way I can create art. The personal aspects of the work are the many influences that affect the relationship with the work. The aspect of layers is one that surfaces time and time again. Layering creates both a sense of personal emotional, physical and spiritual history in the work. Each layer reflects its own statement, compounded by the subsequent layer that adds to the visual story. Together a collective passage of time and place emerge to represent a collective idea that can only emerge from the viewer.