Artist Claudia Tullos-Leonard speaks about her work currently on exhibit in the gallery, "Looking at the World."
Tullos-Leonard is a native Memphian, holds a BS and MBA from the University of Memphis, and has completed two years of coursework toward an MFA, also at the University of Memphis. She works primarily in oil, focusing on the intricacies, abstractions, and constantly changing aspects of nature. Over the past seven years, her work has been featured in a solo exhibition at Gallery Fifty Six and exhibited regularly in juried and invitational shows in Memphis. Her work has won numerous awards. Since retiring early from FedEx, she has been actively engaged in marketing strategy, grant writing, and program development for various arts organizations throughout the Memphis community.
"I am enthralled by nature. I am fascinated by the variety of shapes and colors and the fact that nature is constantly changing. What attracts me initially may be a beautiful flower, but then I find myself pulled into the surrounding space by a decaying leaf, a spent seed pod, or a new bud. These contrasts captivate me.
My current work depicts transformations in the Southern garden and landscape. A variety of factors including specific features, shapes, color variations, or contrasts in lights and darks can influence my decision to paint a particular image. However, once engaged in the painting process, I pay as much attention to the deepest space or what is under the surface of the water as I do to a brilliantly lit leaf or a translucent bloom. The initial attraction gives way to the process of looking intently and painting the colors, shapes, light, patterns, complexities, and abstractions that I find.
Painting for me is about the pleasure of looking at things; and, being in nature literally feeds my soul. With my paintings, I am attempting to share my experiences in nature with the viewer. I hope the viewer feels pulled into the space to explore as I have."