The versatility and raw artistic talent of Leonie E. Brown has been recognised and celebrated at a very early stage in this prolific painter’s career. At the tender age of twenty-two she has already won the prestigious 1986 Volkskas Atelier Fine Art Award, in addition to both the Schweicherd and Gregoire Boonzaaier Art Bursaries the year before. As is often the case, such esteemed accolades can exert a substantial amount of pressure on a young artist, and for Leonie it was no different. A time of intense introspection followed, resulting in a clean break from painting for a period of ten years.
With the dawn of the new millennium, however, she returned with new vigour to her canvasses and brushes, and within a short period of time her renewed application and enthusiasm has enabled her to devote herself entirely to her unique brand of Art. As a result, she has been painting full-time since 2002.
She believes that the work in itself should be sufficient and powerful enough to carry out the message she is attempting to express. Overall, her art is treated as an exclusive message to her audience. The artist feels that every painting, whether realistic or abstract, is uniquely destined for the viewer who will recognize the message as his or her own. Each picture is a little glimpse of heaven, a moment in which the Creator speaks a personal and very intimate message to His chosen created.
Submerging herself entirely in the creative process, she feels the painting should dictate to the artist, resulting in a spontaneous approach where imperfections are viewed as an integral part of the route to true aesthetic creation.
Leonie's current body of work focus more on romantic abstract landscapes, using thick impasto paint with lots of texture and color. She describes the process of painting as, “passionate, expressive, urgent, often using palette knives to scrape and make marks into the paint.”
Her latest work is influenced by the likes of Errol Boyley and William Turner. Dale Elliot, one of South Africa's most beloved painters, called her the 'new Errol Boyley'.
For the last few years she has been focusing on establishing herself as a serious investment artist. She describes her current work as “Romantic Turnerism” influenced by the likes of Constable, Turner and South African Artist, Errol Boyley, and Adriaan Boshoff.
“Because of my love of Verdacchio and the whole Rembrandt and van Eyk technique and color. I love the richness of their coloring and size of canvasses. I believe that Rembrandt was one of the first “impressionist”. Have close up look to his style and technique.”
“David Leffel, American Still Life Artist, also called a modern incarnation of Rembrandt, has definitely caused me to re-look the whole still life scenery. I love painting classic still life scene with it’s richness and deeper meaning. I think he is the king of still lives (currently living).”
“My abstracts is very much my own thing. Lindi (Lindi van Niekerk Gallery) calls my style ‘Abstract Expressionism’. She has been amazingly generous and encouraging with her praise of my work, saying that she believes I am currently one of the best Abstract Artists in the country. High praise indeed. Originally I was much more known for my abstract work. I developed a love for landscapes and also for the work and coloring of Turner and Constable.”
“Turner for his use of soft focus and bright coloring. He was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting. I love his use of light, he was also called “the painter of light”and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism.”
In addition to numerous solo and joint exhibitions on South African soil, her work forms part of private collections all over Europe, especially Germany and the United Kingdom.
She is also is a multiple award winner and has taken part and either been placed or won some of the most prestigious awards for Fine Art in South Africa, which includes the following:
- Gregoire Boonzaaier Art Bursary, First prize, 1985.
- Potchefstroom Talent Festival: First prize, 1986.
- Schweikcherd Art Bursary for Painting.
- Winner of Volkskas National Fine Art Competition.
- Placement and First Prize in Fine Art Category, 1986.
- Rolfes Impressions.
- Placement in top 10 nationally: Total Exhibition for Young Artists