South African artist Leonie Brown creates complex dreamlike paintings containing hidden messages. Visit her website to view more of her fascinating portfolio.
I have spent the last few years exploring the human condition and its relationship to the divine. My paintings are messages of hope and life, carefully planned, thought out and executed. Every painting has a story and is designed to evoke an emotional response from the viewer—whether it be heart-wrenching or inspirational.
Encaustic art has a soft, smokey and sensual feel about it. It’s a spontaneous medium where hot or cold wax is used, and to which coloured pigments have been added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface. The various layers are melted and burned into each other, which gives the finished work a three-dimensional quality.
The wax layers get more and more translucent through the warmth emanating from the exploring human hand. The viewers become a part of the slow change and clarity of the painting…as if the message is rising from the depth of the hidden soul to the surface of the mind. There is a strange ethereal beauty in these paintings, as if they were made from air.
The creative process for my figurative paintings often comes in the form of an instant visualization or a sentence that I can’t shake off. This first idea then dictates how I work on each painting, be it a sketch or photoshop edit. On average, each painting takes between 50 to 100 hours.
I work with oil and cold wax because of the luminosity of the medium. Each painting is based on an allegorical message, there for the viewer to discern and find. Naming the painting is very important as the name is an indication of the hidden message.
My work often touches on personal experiences, thoughts and emotions. It expresses those universal moments in which we all feel alone or disconnected from ourselves or others. Through my explorations, I hope to provide others with a glimpse into their own lives and minds, as well as help them understand their place in this complex world.
I grew up as an orphan in a family of orphans. From a very young age, I was exposed to sexual abuse, emotional abandonment and alcoholism.
Like every other artist, I initially threw my anger and hopelessness onto the canvas. Whilst suffering from PTSD and anorexia, I managed to finish my degree in Fine Arts and won a few national awards at the same time. I lived in constant depression, fighting for every moment of my life.
My seeking for reason and understanding drove me to very different beliefs and religions. I found my healing in God. This led me to my artist statement. I believe the role of the artist is to find the deepest feelings of human nature and expose them to the good or the bad. I choose to follow hope and life.