Thursday, August 17, 2006


Boy Am I Ever Lucky My Friend Is An Artist!

artist: Laurie Leehane
(clicking on the paintings will take you to different parts of Laurie's gallery)

Click here for Laurie's Gallery

Click here for her blog

Click here for Parker Gallery

Laurie Leehane became my friend in 1991.
She is a Newfoundlander with a degree in fine art.
She is a Reflexologist and she is a very good, good witch.

She is one of those people whom you would gravitate to, because she has a very mystical presence.
She would never think of herself like that. She would think she is goofy and plagued.

She has a chronic pain disorder caused by a neck injury which the Dr's couldn't completely reverse with the neck surgery they did.
She spent many years rehabilitating, and she felt that when she was well enough to travel, she should go back to Newfoundland to be closer to her mother.

This was a wise choice. In retrospect I can see how someone with a chronic injury would look at the future as small moments, and realize there may only be a few clusters of small moments in which to carry out a task like a move. The future may only have a few small moments clusters to ever be able to travel well, so one would not want to isolate themselves from their mother by allowing the clusters to pass by, then regret it when the injury makes a person no longer able to travel.

This story is only sad when you think about limitations. Laurie has done like me. Found a way to create a new normal. Going back to Newfoundland helped Laurie find her muse, and put her in a place where the pace is more suited to her body as it works today.

Laurie has turned herself from a hobby artist with hopes and dreams she could not fulfill here in Ontario, to becoming a renowned Newfoundland folk artist.

Her paintings are perfectly inspired by her return to Newfoundland. The work she does captures the essence of a culture. Island people have a different way of life. Their needs are leveled with the limitations of the land, the isolation by water, and their total dependance on their own community to be able to fulfill their daily needs.

People in Newfoundland are a satisfied culture as a whole. They have lived generation after generation as a multiskilled society. Their jobs and businesses have to flex with the seasons, and their wants and needs reflect their flexiblity. Certainly not a mainlander's idea of a great life. No steady work on the island would drive a mainlander crazy. No cultural hiarchy so the materialist ideals that make the Mainlander want to "keep up with the Jones" does not exist.

Newfoundlanders' desire to have a comfortable home, and enough in supplies in the larder to have tea for unexpected visitors. Newfounlanders visit. Their culture is based on moving about town stopping in on friends, family and neighbours. What you have is never judged. If you can open your door to windblown buddies with open arms, some tea, and a bisquit, is the desire.

Island folk all over the world are the same. Visitors from all the mainland will always remark about the friendliness of Islanders, and the calming essence of their souls.

It is the kiss of the souls of Newfoundland that brings Laurie's work to life.
Now we all can see it as a tangable thing in her paintings.

(Remember each of the photos above is a link to a different slideshow of Laurie's work)

I am so lucky to have a friend who is an artist. I am even luckier to have some of her earlier work in my home.......

I believe this painting is called: Church on the Hill. It is also the second painting she did that shows the Newfoundland Pony. This is a wild pony that dwells on the Island. They are at risk of dying out.

Her painting shows us the rugged terraine, and the isolation of the island. It captures the enormity of all that surrounds the people here. Newfoundland is not affectionately referred to as "The Rock" for nothing. This long mural helps my husband and I feel the grandness of my husband's history. He is a Newfoundlander, and it is put in the most central part of our home.

Laurie has used size of the piece to capture as much of the essance of Newfoundland as the subject and colour does.

I zoomed in closer so you could see the ponies. Laurie's use of vibrant colour is no accident. It is a reflection of the people of Newfoundland. They live on an Island that is surrounded by grey fog most days. They paint their homes inside and out with bright colours to create a balance.

This is one of the last pieces Laurie painted before she left Ontario. It is a painting of Tower Hill in St. John's Newfoundland. The building is not a castle. It is the Cabot Tower. This is important to every person on this world. From this tower Marconi successfully sent his renowned radio signal, changing our communication forever!

This tower is a citidel at the mouth of St. John's harbour. The place where one can watch the ships come in, and the iceburgs float by.

One of the commentors mentioned the large "Map" in this photograph last week. It is actually one of Laurie's earliest paintings. I believe she was still in Art School when she created this in 1986. This massive mural is a hommage to the cave paintings in the French Pyronese. It is textured with sand, wood, and sawdust. These ancient symbols remind us that not so long ago man only recorded pictures and images to share stories and history. This painting is only easy to see in the morning light. It is hard to capture this in a photograph. I have done this lame drawing to help you know what you are looking for.
Ancient animals and basic symbols reflected from that time period.

This is the best shot of the painting. Now look for the symbols.

Please leave comments about the piece, and please leave comments to Laurie about her work.
If you wish to commission a piece or inquire on availabilitity of something you like, please ask it in comments with your info available, and I will forward the info to Laurie. You can also search her web site for her contact info.


RheLynn said...

This is coming from an artist (of ink, not paint) - wonderful work! She has a beautiful sense of shape and colour. I especially like the perspective of the 'victorian houses.'

TC said...

Awesome! thanks for the information about a fellow newfounddlander. her paintings are wonderful and your post is a wonderful description of exactly the reasons, I moved back home myself.

Sam Spade said...

Great Art.WoW!