Introducing Leslie is a pleasure. She’s an out of towner turned local who has set herself up creating amazing artworks out of her home studio in Newcastle. We are lucky to have taken such talent under our Novacastrian wing, to have her in our community as a talented female artist and also such a wonderful human in general!
K: You grew up in the country in the USA. How does Newcastle compare?
L: Newcastle is completely different! I first found myself here 9 years ago. I recall the train ride from Sydney airport to Newcastle, I was fascinated with the landscape and all the flora and fauna. Never before had I seen eucalyptus, banksia trees, or the unique scene of the Hawkesbury River with its giantsandstone cliffs. Arriving in Newcastle, I checked into my hostel then walked to the beach. It was July, cold and the swells were massive. Ending up at the Bogey Hole, I watched the waves explode into the sky against the rocks. The seascape made a striking first impression on me.
K: Do you draw inspiration from your home country in your artwork?
L: Absolutely. Particularly the Southwest area of the United States. I travel to this region a lot, addicted to the colours of the landscape. It’s so vast and various there – with massive canyons and rock formations, sagebrush and cacti, pinyon and ponderosa pine trees, and a sky that never ends day or night.
K: What is your personal art style?
L: My paintings are my unique response to landscapes I’ve immersed myself in, which I reveal through colour and an intuitive painting process.
K: You recently participated in the Mistress exhibition at the Blackstone Gallery, alongside nine other amazing female artists from Newcastle. You have definitely been welcomed as a local with open arms! Whats the plans now exhibition wise with all thats going on with the restrictions?
L: The plan is to keep on painting! I’ll always be creating a body of work, COVID-19 restrictions don’t stop that. When time comes for an exhibition, I’ll be happy to share my artwork virtually, at a social distance, or – as we got to experience with Mistress – in a gallery packed full of people.
K: How as a creative, have you had to change what you do in this current environment?
L: Isolation hasn’t caused much disruption for me as I work from my home studio. I’m still able to do what I do, and no matter what, I can always paint. If I were unable to paint this period would be much harder. I sympathise with fellow creatives and other small business owners who have been greatly impacted, doing my best to support them.
K: What advice do you have for budding artists?
L: Practice discipline. Develop your artistic identity by creating every day. Be kind to yourself. If you become frustrated with a project, you’re probably over thinking it anyway. Know your creative community. You’ll find fellow artist support each other.
K: As art is your career, what do you enjoy doing when not painting?
L: Hiking, road trips, coffee dates, gardening, visiting galleries
K: What’s a fun fact about you?
L: I cook seriously good Mexican food.
K: Where is your favourite place to go in Newcastle?
L: The Obelisk for the 360 degree view! The city, mountains and ocean, you can see it all. Best enjoyed during sunset, as the colours change.
K: What is your favourite Book?
L: Margarita Wednesdays by Deborah Rodriguez. This book is a memoir about self-discovery, but more so making a positive difference in the lives of others – all told in an inspiring, honest and hilarious way.
To see more of Leslies amazing talent or to speak with her about a commission head over to her website www.lesliefitzsimmons.com or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Leslie is always happy to chat about collaboration opportunities, commission request and purchase inquires.
To see upcoming workshops and her current art you can also head over to her Insta and FB pages @lesliefitzsimmonsart