Palm Springs-based painter Mark Leonard trained as an artist before deciding to pursue a career as a painting’s restorer. Leonard first worked as a restorer for The Metropolitan Museum of Art before spending twenty-six years at The J. Paul Getty Museum. In 2012 he was invited to become the first Chief Conservator at the Dallas Museum of Art, where he built a new conservation studio and expanded the department. In 2017, he returned to working full-time as an independent artist.
Leonard’s paintings are done in several stages. An underpaint of gouache first provides a foundation for the organic movement of the finished surface. A thin brush coat of a synthetic resin varnish is then applied, and many layers of translucent veils of glazing are applied with a synthetic resin paint (which Leonard helped to develop). The combination of these synthetic resin materials with the gouache underpainting results in a surface that in some aspects mimics the look of an aged oil paint surface but, because of the rigorous and idiosyncratic techniques required for its manipulation, is otherwise unique. Upon close inspection, the brushwork on the surface retains a delicate and meticulous sense of movement, and, when seen from a normal viewing distance, the result is a lush sense of vibrancy and textures.
At the crux of Leonard’s work lies the interdependence of equal and opposite forces: order and chaos, logic and feeling, love and loss. This focus is apparent in the artist’s Weaving works, in which delicately modeled warps and wefts intertwine, entrapped and made whole by each other in equal measure. Supported on a scaffolding of logical grids, they are given the space to breathe, unencumbered, with frank emotion and pure directional energy.
[excerpted from Louis Stern Fine Arts website: www.louissternfinearts.com]