The Art of Leslie Jeffery
For Leslie Jeffery, every landscape, every beast and bird, every mood of the ocean, deserves to be captured by her imagination and poured onto her canvas. You can view her work at Ann Lea Fine Art Gallery, 976 Hwy. 64 East in Cashiers.
To fully experience abstract art the brain must disengage and let emotions take over. It’s like a visual freefall. There are no handles to grab, no familiar safety nets. You just let go, glide around a canvas, and enjoy the ride.
Leslie Jeffery, master abstract expressionist, is happiest when she’s filling a huge canvas with marks, scrapes, and textures for her viewers to sail over, under, around, and through. These are catch-your-breath moments that bond the viewer and painting for life.
Leslie’s grandmother, who helped found the Tampa Art Institute, lit her granddaughter’s artistic fire around six years of age. She took Leslie on plein air painting excursions. The out-of-doors, the pure sun-drenched colors, the immersion in nature (from Jacksonville, her birthplace, to Largo, Florida) all contributed to a magical union with the painting experience.
Representational images like sailboats, wildlife, and landscapes were favorite subjects that put Leslie on a path to study Art History and Constructive Design at Florida State University, receiving her degree in Art Education.
It’s not uncommon for an artist who masters representational images to leap into abstract expressionism. Realism is tight work. Abstraction is loose, and to many, a more rewarding practice. Leslie paints regularly in her studios in Largo and Highlands, where she spends her summers, completely absorbed in every artful application.
She’s a Signature Member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP), the National Assn. of Women Artists (NAWA) and The Florida Artists Group. She is a Past President of Las Damas de Arte, a Tampa based group of women who exhibit together and raise money for art scholarships. Leslie was co-founder of The Carolina Gallery of Fine Art in Highlands. She’s presented twice for the Art League of Highlands-Cashiers at The Bascom. She exhibited a solo show Sounds of the Sixties at Mahaffey Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Arts in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Last year, Covid didn’t get in her way. She participated in the FLAG exhibition at Foosaner Museum in Melbourne, Florida. and she presented a solo exhibit Adios 2020 at Carrollwood Cultural Center, Tampa. She recently won First Place at Art Center Sarasota juried exhibition UNCHARTED (out of 270 entries) and First Place at Dunedin Fine Art Center in MAPPED OUT in April this year. To view her work, visit the new Ann Lea Fine Art Gallery at 976 Hwy. 64 East in Cashiers.
And if you want to know what her best piece is, she will say with a grin, “The one I just finished.”