Leonie E Brown
“I want my paintings to be larger than life, they should leap off the walls and overwhelm you with their tactile, chocolate thick, syrupy color and texture."
"I am a wandering eye poet, texture worshipper, an eclectic color fanatic. I've travelled and lived in various counties, but my heart gets pulled back to this sun drenched, sun scorched country. I try and document my wandering eye journeys by creating art that displays the awesome beauty of this earth, this country."
Her current body of work focus on the using thick impasto paint with lots of texture and color. She describes the process of painting as, "passionate, expressive, urgent, often using palette knives to scrape and make marks into the paint".
Leonie.e.Brown uses deft impasto layering of paint to create the depth and texture for which her works have become so well-known. The Melkbosstrand artist and teacher is represented in many private collections in South Africa as well as in Germany and the UK, while prints of her paintings are produced and sold in New York.
At just 22, Brown earned the Volkswagen Atelier Fine Art Award. That was after winning a Gregoire Boonzaier bursary the year before. She had captured the attention of the art world right from her days as a fine art student at Potchefstroom University and was featured in several premier exhibitions showcasing young South African talent.
But the pressure to maintain her momentum of success was so immense, she had to take time out and for ten years she worked as a graphic artist in a commercial environment before going back to what she loves most.
She is also is a multiple award winner and has taken part and either been placed or won some of the most prestigious awards for Fine Art in South Africa, which includes the following:
Gregoire Boonzaaier Art Bursary, First prize, 1985.
Potchefstroom Talent Festival: First prize, 1986.
Schweikcherd Art Bursary for Painting.t
Winner of Volkskas National Fine Art Competition.
Placement and First Prize in Fine Art Category, 1986.
Placement in top 10 nationally. Total Exhibition for Young Artists.
Now she paints and she teaches. "Every painting I make is a letter to my viewers. It's created for everyone who recognizes the message as theirs."
Of her teaching, she says: "It's a fascinating thing when you teach painting. It reveals more about people than their capacity to visually express themselves, and so I have found that the act of teaching becomes more than the transfer of the skills in depicting an image. It involves life skills like patience, listening, confidence, acceptance of oneself and others. I get a lot of pleasure watching people grow into themselves as they start to realize many facets of their potential."
She doesn't only extend herself to her students but works actively to uplift communities, donating pictures for auctions used to raise funds for Ikhaya Lethemba that provides home-based care for the needy.