Lesley initially trained as a graphic artist before starting up her own business in 1996, fusing her love of animals and nature with her broad ranging artist talents she is now well known for her wonderful vivid landscapes, animal portraits and her beautiful raku animal sculptures.
Working as a freelance sculptor for Border Fine Arts over a four year period she produced well over 100 animal studies for the company, whilst during this time continuing to develop her own unique painting style and also discovering raku ceramic and the beautiful possibilities it held for creating lifelike, one off, handmade animal sculpture.
Lesley has worked in a variety of mediums and has won many awards for her work, her work is collected internationally and her work hosted by many of Scotland's top galleries.
RAKU FIRED CERAMIC ANIMAL SCULPTURE
My raku sculptures are all one off, handbuilt original pieces, they are made using earthenware clay to which I add paper pulp to aid with the raku firing. the sculpture must be hollow and this is achieved by wrapping a thin skin of clay around paper stuffing to create the basic body shape. As the clay hardens I work into the details and finer points.
The sculpture is then dried before bisque firing and glazing. After glazing the piece is then raku fired, this is a fast firing technique where my gas kiln reaches 980oC in about one hour. At this temp the kiln is opened up and the red hot sculpture is carefully removed and placed in a metal chamber containing wood shavings. The intense heat ignites the wood shavings instantly producing a lively fire pit. The chamber is then sealed and the fire suffocates as it consumes all the available oxygen leaving a thick acrid smoke and an oxygen starved atmosphere. The thermal shock of the process causes tiny hairline cracks to appear in the glaze, these cracks and any unglazed areas absorb carbon from the smoke resulting in a rich crackle glaze with a beautiful smoky finish.
I often use glazes containing copper oxide, these glazes react with the oxygen levels and can produce some wonderful bronze effect finishes.
I work in a variety of styles and mediums, my main influences are the North East sky and the dramatic light of the changing seasons with Spring and Autumn being my favourite seasons. Of course animals feature in almost all of my works, sometimes as a portrait and sometimes as part of the wider landscape.
My animal portraits tend to be bold and dominant, featuring on capturing the essence of the animal, suggesting its possible character and status where my landscapes revert more to my graphic artist training and are vivid, geometic depictions of a possible or impossible world. Almost surrealist in their creation I deliberately play with scale and perspective to create an unreal realism.
Every now and then I take a time out and paint skyscapes, we have such incredible cloud formations that I just cant resist capturing them.
Acrylic is my favoured medium as the fast drying time and bold colours suit my painting style. Although I have recently taken to oils for a new series of animal pieces, "Urban Parallel" being the first in this series.
Many of my paintings are available as Fine Art Limited Edition prints, as I have my own fine art printing and Picture Framing business you can be assured of the highest quality and colour accuracy.