ARTIST-A-DAY BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V & the Revealing Beauty of artist, Leona Gamble

"...It’s pulling from the rich soil of one’s deeper layers to lay the foundation for new growth."

Leona Gamble

How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”?

A Generous Kingdom reminds me of the abundance of our experience within our bodies, our lived lives, the emotional microlayers, and the range of immense possibilities. “Chrysalis” is about the delicate and powerful process of healing deep old wounds, and the slow becoming of that new self. The generative nature of this process is a kingdom in itself; vast. It’s pulling from the rich soil of one’s deeper layers to lay the foundation for new growth.

Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? Yes. My recent series, “Transitions”, is exploring the subtle shifts of those hard-to-define layers within ourselves, as we change throughout our lives from one state of mindset and one state of being, to another. I prefer natural symbols, weaving myth and fable at times with contemporary figures surrounded by nature’s chaos, to have all of it woven together to echo those complexities as they move around each other within an individual.

What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away). I adore working with oil paints. They have such a range of depth and texture, and the ability to be transparent or opaque. My painting process changes depending on the painting I am working on. My painting, “Chrysalis”, is a self-portrait painted from life, with the skulls being a still life set up in my studio. Photos were used for the leaves, from a hike that I found earlier last year in the height of summer. As to the content of the symbolism of each painting; that is harder to answer. I would describe my process of finding the truth of each painting, as tracking an animal. I will follow a painting’s truth no matter how long it takes. Some paintings reveal themselves to me easily, while other paintings have taken years to find and complete. I love that each one has its own tale of becoming. Some are obvious wide paths, and others are rabbit paths, with twisting turns and subtle clues as to where it needs to go next. That moment of finding that one missing element it was needing makes this process all the sweeter for me as an artist. I cherish those findings. There have been many paintings that I loose during this process. They escape me and leave dead-ends and lost tracks on the canvas, devoid of anything true feeling. They may be beautiful aesthetically but they are lacking that undefinable element that I was seeking, and thus are painted over, recycled, and incorporated into new ideas. Their bones and canvas nourish the next concept and painting, sometimes even showing thru to add the needed tone to the next idea and painting. Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired?

I am inspired by many of the women in my life. They are survivors, fierce individuals, with untold depths to them. They cradle their tender hearts while stitching deep wounds closed, complicated, and healing, and working to define themselves in their own terms. I love their flaws, their dreams, and their unique way of living their life. It is transitionary and ever becoming, this process.

What do you hope your work achieves, in general, and/or specifically with this installation?

I hope to connect, more than anything else, to others. I love that those viewing my work will have their own interpretations of how they are experiencing it. That, to me, is essential to a painting’s truth and its life force. This is a shared experience, and I realize that once I have created and nurtured a painting that was true to me, that is where essentially I step away and let the conversation continue without me, as the viewer explores my work with their own complex life and unique perspective. It’s a wonderful exchange really, and I love the continuousness of it past my part in it.

If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them?

Play more often. Laugh as much as you can, and I mean those deep belly laughs or the giggles you can’t stop. No matter your age, always find the beauty of something, as often as you can, and seek out those things in your life that bring you relief and joy. This last year has been so hard for so many of us, and I think we are needing to find ways to nurture and heal ourselves as often as we can in as many ways as we can.

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