Leslie Anderson’s paintings transport you to an ethereal place where color leads the way. As a featured artist in LeMoyne Arts exhibit, Abstracto: Land of Dreams, she presents paintings that give audiences the freedom to see themselves in her creations.
Engaging with the Elements
The mythology of the artist is one that emphasizes solitude and suffering. We envision writers pondering in Waldon-esque seclusion, painters sharpening their knives to cut off the critical voices that invade their ears, and actors losing themselves in the method of madness. Lore suggests that artists retreat to their creative caves emerging with an artistic work of genius to share with the world. Yet, any artist will tell you a powerful piece comes not through magic but through an informed, trained practice that balances principles like scale, proportion, rhythm, and mass. For artist Linda Anderson, it begins with the elements of design: color, form, line, shape, space, and texture.
Over a 30-year career as an arts educator in Guatemala and Tallahassee, Anderson shares her practice with her students. She reflects upon the way both identities inform each other. “I was training my eyes to use the principles and elements of design and finding strong composition through teaching my students. I think, honestly, that made me a better, stronger artist,” says Anderson. “I really believe you train your eye to see strong composition in everything. It became a habit in my mind. I see everything. I see nature, a kitchen, a flower; I see composition everywhere.” Her commitment to the lines and shapes that make up composition, along with the need to “blend, blend, blend”, creates a lightness in Anderson’s work that celebrates abstract and non-objective art.
From Punishment to Pride
When asked about her relationship with Tallahassee, Anderson chuckles before frankly responding, “I was sent here as a punishment.” After moving from Guatemala to South Florida at 22, Anderson became complacent with the ease of living in the area without speaking English. Her father knew the benefits of learning English and decided to send her north. She attended Florida State University’s second language program and ultimately obtained a degree in visual arts and art education. “I suffered so much,” laughs Anderson, “But it was wonderful. I had great friends, and I met my husband. The rest is history. We stayed here. We got married in Wakulla Springs, and it’s been home since 1987.”
Anderson has also found a home amidst the world of acrylic art. She relishes in painting the bits of reality that are not quite realistically portrayed in abstract work. Equally, her heart dances to the rhythms created by the obscurity of non-objective art, often led by lines, shapes, and meaninglessness. The therapeutic energy of art transforms Anderson and her work, as every piece she creates is a part of her. “You know what excites me the most [about painting] is the process that you go through. I start with a very positive attitude, ‘I’m going to have a beautiful piece today.’ But by the end of the day, I want to burn the canvas,” declares Anderson. “The next day, I come back with fresh eyes, and it’s there. Every single piece is a new experience for me. It’s like I am painting for the first time.” Anderson thrives on the challenge of creating something new and creative. It is a part of who she is and what makes her whole.
A Gallery of Abstract
Abstracto: Land of Dreams, presented by LeMoyne Arts, features Leslie Anderson’s series of abstract landscapes. Like her previous series, Walking on Clouds, created to express the solitude and longing felt during the pandemic, and Under the Big Tent, which highlights Anderson’s geometric landscapes and radiant color choice. Anderson catches existential emotions through the purposeful use of shapes, space, and texture.
Anderson feels like a budding teenager as she flies full force into a retirement filled with canvases and paints galore. She is humbled by the positive reception of her work and is inspired to create. “I am going to continue doing this until I cannot hold a brush,” delights Anderson. “Part of the painting, for me, is to be able to share my passion with somebody else.”
Learn more about Abstracto: Land of Dreams