Artists of OurSausalito: Leslie Allen
“China Gates” — Oil on canvas by Sausalito Artist Leslie Allen. Artist Bio is below.
Our Featured Artist: Leslie Allen
Originally from New Mexico and Texas, Sausalito resident Leslie Allen has been an artist in the ICB Building for over 20 years. Her large abstract oil paintings reveal the influence of Bay area abstractionists of the forties and fifties. Through many years of study and experimentation, Allen has developed her own visual language, with gestural marks and a color sense that echo Joan Mitchell, and a geometric space-division in her work that relates more to Frank Lobdell or Richard Diebenkorn.
Allen’s work shows solid structural bones and intense love of color, gesture and paint. Some of Allen’s canvases are a dozen paintings deep, and through the layers she teases out early marks and shapes by sanding, scraping, and digging through the layers of oil paint. As Leslie says, “It’s easy to see how a person might tear a rotator trying to get a large abstract oil painting to feel just right. I never had that concern making small landscapes en plein air!”
For almost 20 years before meeting artist and mentor Chester Arnold, Allen had been a die-hard watercolorist with little interest in any other medium. Though Arnold appreciated watercolors, he seemed so certain Allen would take to oil paint like a bee to nectar that Allen realized she had stumbled into a rare opportunity to learn oil painting from someone entirely old-worldly in his tangible reverence for the craft of drawing and painting. Allen studied with Arnold for the next decade, and credits him with infinite magic as a mentor and artist.
Leslie is represented by Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael, and will have her next solo exhibit there mid-December through January 2010. Her work is published by ArtBrokers, Inc. of Sausalito.
Allen and her husband, artist and architect Barry Peterson (another Artist of OurSausalito.com), also run Studio 300A at the ICB, an architectural office specializing in unique, highly-tailored residential and commercial organic architecture.
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