View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with LEONARD KING|
Influenced by the realist tradition, much of Leonard King’s work depicts the American Country Scene. He shows a great sensitivity in depicting animals and excels in capturing nuances of the land by choosing light sources and shadows that express his feelings for nature.
When did you realize that art was going to be an integral part of your life?
I can remember drawing horses and other animals as early as grammar school but I didn’t really get serious until my college years at the University of PA. I took some art classes there and had access to the Philadelphia Museums and was exposed to great art for the first time…. I loved it!
What formal or informal training have you found most useful?
Time spent with S. George Phillips (PA Academy of Fine Arts) one of the New Hope School Painters…we became good friends and he taught me a lot.
During your career, who/what has given you the most inspiration?
I was inspired by Rembrandt, Corot, and the Chester County PA. Countryside, especially the Amish Country where you would see horses and mules working in the fields…..it was like turning the clock back! Obviously, some of my favorite subjects are animals.
What experiences have most influenced your choice of subject matter?
My interest in horses and other animals and eventually my interest in Italy, especially Venice which is the most serene and beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It was extremely motivating for a painter….convincing you that beauty is an important part of art.
Whose work do you relate to the most and how have they influenced your work today?
I was most influenced by the Barbizon Painters and their use of earth colors and a muted palate and frequently “a touch of crimson” (learned from Corot) and of course their use of light and shadow.
What has been your greatest success and biggest setback?
My greatest success was having some of my work at the Carnegie and three other museums….and my biggest setback was my choice to try to expose my work without an agent or Gallery. Gallery Direct has been a big help in this endeavor.
Do you have a studio where you work and how would you describe your ideal working atmosphere?
Yes I have a studio where I work under consistent artificial light. I prefer working in the early morning when it’s peaceful and quiet which gives me the opportunity to include imaginary and personal feelings into my work.
What role do you think your emotions play in the creative process?
They affect the quality of your work…good or bad…most of your best work seems to be done when the emotions are positive.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Occasionally completing a nice painting and being completely immersed in your work and forgetting all the normal distractions of life.
What other interests do you have besides painting?
My other interests are the horse world and travel. I’m chairman of the Devon Horse Show and I’ve spent most of my life pursuing some kind of horse related activity. Fortunately, I’ve been able to visit places like, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome and Venice to view some of the greatest paintings, sculptures, and architecture in the world. This experience really makes you love your craft.
You have had numerous exhibitions of your work. Could you tell us a little about your most memorable exhibition?
The most memorable exhibition was The Carnegie Museum Exhibition and having one of my paintings on the cover of their magazine during the exhibit. The exhibit included such great painters as John Ferneley, Thomas Sidney Cooper and Rosa Bonheur. Jamie Wyeth and I were the only living artists included in the exhibition.
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