Interviews

Meet the artist Libby Lennie

Short summary about me

I am both a voice-over narrator and an oil painter. I was an actress for many years before painting took over my imagination and eventually my time. The desire to spend hours on a movie set or a stage gradually dissolved as my painting practice took hold. As a child, I spent many hours drawing and painting, eventually landing in art school, but the practicality of being an artist gave way to a degree in Interior Design which gave way shortly after to theatre school and a love of the theatre. As a young Mom, I would spend hours painting and repainting the walls of our home, and that gave way eventually to an easel, canvas, painting classes, gallery representation and now a full-time professional practice. The sound studio way to the recording studio: a natural extension of my love of reading. Both the recording studio and the painting studio are mutually complementary. Both are about storytelling and imagination.
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©Libby Lennie

What is your art about

My art is about shared memory. Real or imagined. My art is about place and identity, specifically a Canadian identity. “How remarkable it is that you have chosen as two of your recurring themes, swimming in summer in the Canadian Shield, and skating on those same lakes when winter descends. Remarkable because you have lived your whole life in Canada, in Ontario even, and yet you have understood what is best about the place where you live. Most people have to move far away to figure that sort of thing out. They can only understand the nature of the mountain when they have seen it from the plain. You, my dear friend, have the wisdom to see the beauty of where you are, while you are there, and that ability is as rare as…the world becoming a skating rink over which you can fly.”—Johnny Wales, Sado Island, Japan
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©Libby Lennie

How does your atelier look like?

My studio is spare and bright.
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©Libby Lennie

Has anything changed about your working processes

I paint almost every day and I find that my process has become more instinctual, faster. I have increasingly less patience for details and although I feel I am an abstract painter in my heart I struggle to get to a place where there is no figurative element in the work
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©Libby Lennie

Favorite artworks?

Asking this is akin to asking which of my 3 daughters is my favourite. I love them more than I can say and they are all so very different. I respect the struggle that each artist lives, to put paint to canvas, to sculpt, compose, construct. I struggle to break free of comfortable patterns, tropes, palettes, notions in my work and so I admire the results of so many artists of so many styles. I see the work as a journal, a journey, a story. Sometimes the simplest stories are the most effective and sometimes the complex can open our hearts to new ideas, and so I cannot tell you that I have one favourite piece. I can tell you that as a teenager I read Hemingway’s ‘Islands in the Stream’, and saw myself in the character of Thomas Hudson, artist, and then when I saw Picasso’s ‘Three Swimmers’ I saw myself and my sisters in that image, but that is not my favourite work of art. I can tell you that Basquiat’s pain speaks to me, as does da Vinci’s. And everything in between and beyond is of interest to my eyes!
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©Libby Lennie

Discover her artworks here:www.elizabethlennie.com

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