“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Picasso
Can we see things the way children do? Can we appreciate the beauty in simple things? Can we feel and express emotion with the same intensity as a child? In this collection, I explore these questions and conceptual ideas of memory and emotion based on childhood themes. Themes of innocence, joy, adventure and make-believe are examined and communicated through a series of paintings which document my childhood.
Fueled by memories of my joyful youth, I paint intuitively, as I am pulled between the conscious and the unconscious of my divided self. As I connect to the piece, I explore the crossover between my past observances and the present, and translate these elements into my art. I start by silencing the mind and free myself of any preconceived notions — by applying the process of unlearning I am given a new beginning which allows me to interpret my experiences with the same free spirit as they were once observed.
I apply bold, vivid colours and relay these captured recollections through the use of colour psychology. The cheerful colour palette evokes a positive response and allows my viewers to see a world that is best described through colour instead of words. Loose expressive brushstrokes and black fluid lines are applied to convey certain emotions more boldly and express a sense of play. I add layers of colour and texture, patching and recovering until I find perfect balance and harmony.
This series chart my many excursions along the shoreline of Lake Superior in northern Ontario and its environs. My deep affinity to nature is rooted from my experience with wilderness and being one with nature since a very young age; my emotional relationship to nature is given a visual voice as it is translated and transformed in my art. My aim is to engage and create a conversation with the viewer as I explore the intersection of nature and culture, and the human response to the definition of nature.
My work pays homage to the tradition of landscape painting while investigating contemporary questions around technology and our perception of nature. With an ever changing and very progressive technological society, many individual's only have a virtual translation of what nature is. Others never venture out of their urban setting to experience it first-hand.
I employ simplified shapes in my art, as I dissect the scene to the essential elements based on my contemporary interpretation of the scene itself. Large areas of negative space guide the viewer's eye while embellished textures add depth. A saturated colour palette is applied using a delicate balance of value and intensity in colour, to set the intended emotional response. The result is a body of work filled with euphoric energy, movement and a kind of nostalgic romanticisation.
— SANDRA DI LEO