Ash Leslie is a Visual Artist & Graphic Designer. Her abstract works explore the balance between structural and organic forms, whilst reflecting the many facets of her personality through layers of paint. Surrounded by nature, her home epitomises laidback, coastal living. We visited Ash at her south coast cottage to learn more about her creative process, local community and hopes for 2021.
Ash Wears the Ivy Jumpsuit in Black.
“I am an artist and designer. Most of my time is spent juggling my painting and design work, along with raising my daughter with my husband in a small coastal town about an hour south of Sydney."
“Art had always been my passion since I was a child but I wasn’t sure it was possible to make it into a career. I was, however, desperate to do a creative job after school so going into Graphic Design seemed like the most obvious choice. I worked full time for around 10 years and picked up a variety of skills but I rarely felt creatively satisfied, so my free time was painting time. After my daughter was born and I went on maternity leave, I felt a real sense of freedom not being confined to the 9 to 5 lifestyle and would paint while she napped or played at my feet, sometimes in the middle of the night when she wouldn't sleep! Eventually, my body of work started to build up so I decided it was time to set up a website and approach some local businesses to display my work. The support I have received has been beautiful, and due to that, I am now able to continue with my art practice along with enjoyable design projects.”
“In retrospect, I can see that my design background has definitely influenced the way I work to balance out a composition and that I am able to do so mostly by instinct from the years of practice. I also think it has helped my sense of how different colour palettes will work together, along with many other related skills that are necessary for showing your work in a digital world.”
“My works are abstract paintings that explore the balance between structural and organic forms. I like to work within a natural palette creating multiple layers of interest so the result is a calming piece that compliments a space and gives the viewer a sense of wellbeing.”
“I've recently started to realise that my work is a reflection of some bigger themes going on within my own life. For example, when I paint, I am trying to create a piece that feels organic and fluid whilst still grounded in structure, and when I think about my own life, I am trying to create a similar balance. I struggle with the concept of being easy-going and care-free whilst still being organised and having it all together. To be a spontaneous free-spirit but then recognising the need for routine and structure for my mental health. It's a battle of the many facets of my personality reflected in layers of paint I guess you could say.”
“My colour palette tends to be reflective of the season, so a lot of warm tones in the cold months with a mix of pastels and cooler tones in summer. I love exploring unusual colour combinations and find so much inspiration from nature. The mix between warm and cool tones is always so beautiful to me.”
“My creative process varies depending on if I'm working on a commissioned piece or not, but I usually start with a colour palette in mind and then I instinctively work to create different effects and interest on the canvas using a variety of brush techniques. Then I start building to create layers and working to make sense of what's there, finding shapes and connections.”
“Our home is an old miners cottage that we bought about 4 years ago now. My husband grew up in the area and I a bit further south, so with our friends and family scattered up and down the coast, it seemed like the most natural choice. The location itself is very inspiring and allows us to be hidden up in the bush whilst being able to duck down to the beach and cafes. It's still a work in progress that will require a lot more love to feel 100% like us, but it's already a very sentimental home. We were married in the back yard a few years ago and have slowly filled it with pieces that have been handed down from family or made by my husband. I also do a lot of op-shopping and love incorporating second-hand pieces into the space.”
“I love that we are surrounded by nature and that the people are down to earth and value the slow coastal lifestyle. The local arts and hospitality culture is amazing here too. My favourite places to go are our local beaches and cafes: Earth Walker Co and Noel & Gladys.”
Ash wears the Ivy Kimono Sleeves Dress in Black.
“Since becoming a Mum, I've learnt a lot about what I need to do for myself to keep it together. Time alone is key for me so if I can get a quiet moment of solitude I'll take a nap, have a bath or maybe duck off for a massage. Luckily my creativity has always been a big part of how I take care of myself too, so if I'm making something I'm usually happy.”
“In 2021, we are making a start on our landscaping so I can't wait to see the connection between indoors and outdoors come to life. Also growing our family with a new addition expected in May is very exciting. And hopefully, a solo exhibition will be on the cards too.”