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An interview with Lesley Dabson


They do say that painting is a ‘calling’ and the joy of the brushes has certainly been in Lesley Dabson’s life…

From earliest remembrances of looking longingly at the grand masters in the Mall Galleries, sketching avidly the horse flicker books of childhood days, being awarded ‘Best in Show’ at St. Albans Art Society (2008), to the canvasses of today, with her spontaneous and lively brushwork bringing joy to new generations of art lovers.

Lesley spends equal time exploring her favourite outdoor locations - currently a little restricted due to lockdown - and working away in the studio. A place that is delightfully strewn with the tools of the trade - a happy clutter from which her art literally flows, like her most frequented subjects; waterways of Venice, the Thames, the bright blues of our Devon coasts and the ‘cappuccino’ froth of Norfolk seaside.


Fascinated by the ever-changing light on the surface of water and its relationship with the physical structures of boats and buildings, Lesley’s practice of photographing, sketching and composing ‘en plein air’ giving her the opportunity to ‘feel the view’, capturing it with loose, enthusiastic brush strokes before returning to the studio to be fully formed into the scenes that we adore.

The dance of the sun’s sparkle on the waves, the textures and feel of the peeled paint on the woodwork of boats and doorways, the shadows and shade on buildings framing the elements all invite us, the onlookers, to share the adventure, join in the story, and discover places that only art can let us into.

And as we all adjust to the latest lockdown life, art can take us out of ourselves and provide a window for the imagination that, seen with the artist, opens new worlds to discover…

A painting on a wall is really a portal and a vantage point, a framed invite to find out more about the artist and ourselves. A search that Lesley has often begun while spending time roaming the galleries of the world, returning, often, to one of her particular influences; Joaquín Sorolla (1863 - 1923): Leaving Valenica - a significant piece that has left her in awe and wonderment, on many occasions.

And that unbridled joy is evident in all Lesley’s paintings - which is undoubtedly why we share that emotional connection with her art. Freed from the fetters of her commercial art background and seeing herself as a gateway ‘to help people see’ knowing that when art finds us, we find something unique and beautiful in ourselves too.

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