LESLEY SPANOS

 

spanosart.com

Biography

 

 

I’m a sun worshipper. Light makes me happy, so that’s what I paint. My work covers a variety of subjects, but for me, it’s all about how an object captures and reflects light. I get excited by the way a shadow falls across a sidewalk, or how backlighting wraps around edges, or how flesh – an ear, for example – glows with a red translucence when the sun shines through it.

In the absence of the sun, my night scenes are filled with decorative lights. I love colored lights almost as much as I love sunlight, and if some of my paintings have a theatrical look, it’s because I briefly considered a career in theatrical lighting.

Because I often depict moving subjects like animals and people, my paintings usually begin through the lens of a camera. But I don’t trust photos. They lie, or at best tell partial truths. So, as I’m shooting, I’m also trying to memorize the elements that won’t be visible in a photo. If I have time, I’ll do some sketching. My goal in the studio is not to copy a photo, but to use photographs to jog my memory so I can reconstruct a living scene in my mind. When it plays in my brain like a movie, so real I can hear it, touch it, and even smell it, I’m ready to paint.

Whether I’m using oils, acrylics, or gouache, my paintings are built using layers of color. I start by covering the entire working surface with loose strokes and bright color, then slowly refine the image and add detail until it’s done.

My current project is called State Fair, USA. This series of paintings – and eventual book – are a tribute to the traditions of the American agricultural fair. I’m painting everything from carnival rides to livestock, and everything in between. Deep fried Twinkie, anyone?

Lesley lives in Carmel, Indiana with her husband, dog, and two studio cats.