Leslie Montana Bio
Flowers and plants have been an important part of my life since childhood. My earliest memories are of backyard gardens in Brooklyn, NY. As I played among the flowers, shrubs and green growing things my life-long relationship with roses began. With blossoms almost as big as my toddler-self I made perfume with rose petals and rainwater, was able to differentiate between the scents of various colored roses, marveled at the thorns, peered with curiosity into the cups of tulips and so on. Bugs and butterflies were fascinating but I gave them plenty of room as we all played in the garden together.
For much of my life, New York City and northern New Jersey remained home to me. The Statue of Liberty was usually no more than 15 miles from my front door. But after the events of 9/11/2001, a divorce and the passing of my mother I decided to take a break from those familiar surroundings. Since then I've spent significant time in Vermont, the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, Laguna Beach in Southern California and Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, New York City remains my hometown.
I've always identified myself as an artist. The body of work Exquisite Paintings on the Nature of Flowers which is now in Phase II began to emerge in the mid-1990's. After a creative rebirth, my inspiration soared and gained momentum taking me down new creative pathways. As I stretched several very large canvases, uncharacteristic paintings of flowers emerged. A creative explosion of roses occurred. In the photo above I'm seated in front of ROSES OF LOVE, which is is one of the paintings I made at this time. Posters of ROSES OF LOVE are available in my online shop. A clear and direct wellspring of inspiration opened up inside of me and connected me to the world of nature and beauty in a way I had forgotten since my childhood. It was the beginning of a time of great change for me as well as collectively. The gift I received from that transition was an ability to engage beauty in ways that were profoundly healing for me.
The focus of my work is as personal as it is transcendent, and is about enjoying the pure beauty and light-filled qualities of what I see in nature. For me, there is a powerful kind of silence that engages my consciousness during my most centered and productive moments. As I paint I see an entire painting in my mind’s eye before it is ever manifest on canvas. Yet it is always a process of exploration and discovery as it emerges into physical reality. I see each piece in my imagination as complete and finished before it ever comes into being. A good description of how this process feels is ‘effortless’ very hard work. My job is to be patient and let it come through me as artwork.
On my creative journey, the appreciation I have for the exquisiteness inherent in nature continues to grow. It expands as I continue to work more deeply and uncover who I am in relationship to nature, God, Great Spirit, the Great Mystery. I'm inspired to explore as well as share the beauty I see emanating from these life forms. Welcome to the garden of my inner landscape. ~ Leslie Montana