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Bug Wishes
The Book of Feelings

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I grew-up in a family of 4 kids in Denver, Colorado. Our mom, Alicia, was a self-taught artist who impressed us and our friends with her biceps that she developed carving marble in our backyard. I spent hours gazing at her paintings, our navajo rug, the architecture of our house as seen from a horizontal position, the colorado skies. This was my early training as a visual artist.

As a teenager I taught myself how to make batiks, embroider and weave. It wasn’t until I was 18 ,though, that I began to imagine myself as an artist. In 1974 I went to the Santa Fe Contemporary Arts Workshop and made my first paintings. Discovering this gave me both pleasure and frustration. Soon thereafter I found myself in NYC attending the School of Visual Arts. After graduating with a B.F.A. in 1979, I worked as artist assistant for Julien Schnabel and Dan Christensen. In 1980 I seized the moment and went to Europe.

I set out to Italy to learn Fresco techniques and made a detour to Paris, where I ended up living for some years. In Paris I discovered a night work rhythm and solitude that resulted in a large body of paintings and some exhibits, including The Salon de Montrouge. In 1982 I met Pierre Goirand who was at the time working for RCA creating a label for young french rock musicians. We were married in Provence and returned to NYC for 6 years. There I had a two one-person shows and participated in several group exhibits.

We returned again to Paris in 1990. In 1992 our daughter Naomi was born. Such a monumental change made it neither possible nor desirable to continue my work as before her birth. I wanted to paint her a book that told our/her-story. This was done with collages and paintings. For our new years card I made a photo-collage with a photo of Naomi .All our friends loved it and I’ve done this annually ever since, creating a portrait-series of her growing up. I’ve received several commissions to make cards with other people’s children.

Eventually this painting/photo collage process led to my first book project. Pierre and I were studying non-violent communication with Marshal Rosenberg. This inspired me to make a Book of Feelings. I asked friends to send photo’s of their children where an authentic feeling was expressed. My wall covered with these precious images, I chose photograph’s to juxtapose into a poetic-expressive painted background to represent a variety of positive and negative feelings. I met Zoe Fachon, a published French children’s writer, who was enthusiastic and wrote a french text to accompany my images for The Book of Feelings. After that project I created Bug Wishes,with Holt editor Christy Ottaviano , and I am currently incredibly excited , working on a book project with author Sandra Cisneros, called The Crybaby.

To contact Leslie, please click here

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