Galleries : Leslie Baker: An artist's nature
Leslie Baker's artistic talent is old news. As a painter and portrait artist, exploring and mastering various mediums and subject matter, Baker's career spans 40 years. As an illustrator, she has contributed to 15 children's books, receiving numerous awards. In 2003, her painting of a lamb won the Agricultural Fair poster contest.
But Ms. Baker's resume is not just limited to her artistic accomplishments. A wife and mother, she authored several of the children's books that she illustrated, in addition to writing a college textbook on teaching art. As a fundraiser, she helped raise over $20,000 last October for President Obama's campaign through Artists for Obama, which sold the work of well-known Island artists at bargain prices.
"Leslie is one of those truly great gals who has got everything put together," says Nancy Cramer, owner of the Shaw Cramer Gallery in Vineyard Haven. The Main Street gallery has been featuring the artist's work for the past nine years. Ms. Cramer speaks of Ms. Baker with the admiration that those who encounter the artist's warm and amiable nature are likely to share.
Ms. Baker's current show at Shaw Cramer (through August 6) features the artist's richly colored, atmospheric landscapes, which she has focused on since her move to the Vineyard year-round 12 years ago.
The artist is a plein air painter, but her palette surpasses realism, allowing her work to poignantly translate nature in an evocative manner. It is a painting process that resonates intention, much like that of a poet. Although she systematically begins with an examination of her subject matter, her concentration lies with her own interpretation of the scene.
"I am more interested in the act of painting than in direct observation," Ms. Baker says. "Once I have the chance to digest what I have seen, I focus more on the piece itself. I stop looking and begin to follow my hand."