Art is where I go to explore and to express; it's where I lose my self, but find my way. In a world that grows more complex by the moment, I yearn for simplicity and clarity - the way light falls upon a leaf or leans against an abstract symbol. I strive to integrate my experiences and perceptions through color, texture, shapes and forms. Unusual linear perspectives often catch my eye and become the basis for a composition. While I may approach a canvas or piece of paper with a pre-conceived concept, usually that idea is short-lived; the painting often takes on a life of its own after only a few strokes. At those times, I'm forced to face reality - I am not in control. This process can be intensely freeing and joyous, and at the same time, unnerving. It requires a willingness to suspend judgement, especially about one's capabilities. Frustrating mistakes can turn out to be brilliant markings in the final composition. In this way, painting helps me to trust the process of life, and keeps me moving forward, regardless of circumstances.
ARTIST STATEMENT - TONGLEN SERIES
Some of my work is inspired by a 2500 year-old Tibetan meditation practice known as Tonglen. This visualization technique involves breathing in our concepts of darkness, the murky interiors where our nagging anxieties live, and embracing the smoky confusion of fear's many faces. Conversely, it also involves the sending out of breath. With a tangible sigh of relief, sorrow and burdens drop away and we are once again serene and safe, expanding instead of contracting, floating out into sparkling space and joyous light. In effect, Tonglen counsels one to breathe in the bad, breathe out the good - the opposite of most yoga practices -- in an effort to help us soften our hearts. The Tonglen series reflect my visual perception and personal understanding of the sacred Tonglen tradition, and the poignancy of my own passage. Through these paintings, I express my reverence for the duality of existence. By facing the challenging circumstances of death, illness, and confusion -- the many fears that come up in our lives -- we develop greater capacity for love and compassion. Instead of resisting or turning away from these vital experiences, through the process of acceptance we somehow learn to find bliss on the underbelly of our burdens.
This site is dedicated to the memory of my father, Robert Sol Leeds, to my friends and family (especially Terry, and my lively mother, Roberta, a most enthusiastic supporter in so many ways), to my patrons, mentors, and to my remarkable mate, Larry. To all - I express my sincere thanks and deepest gratitude. This site is also dedicated to those who have jumped into the unknown before me -- and to all who want to, but can't quite do it just yet.