Leanne Baird is a visual artist residing in the Peterborough area. Her background involves a variety of experiences that, all combined, informs her particular style of painting. These experiences range from a Fine Arts degree from the University of Toronto to landscape design; from studies in process art making and mandala art, to teaching the craft itself to adults and children. Developing her intuition for her surroundings, she has immersed herself in the study of yoga and of ancient Indian scriptures.
Baird’s main painting focus is on landscapes which she considers to be both ‘a study of the physical and the metaphysical.’ Inspired by the natural world, she perceives the consciousness in all things and is particularly attracted to the consciousness in trees. Remarking on the cover art, she says, “To me it expresses the illumination of consciousness…the trees seem to be lit up from within.”
Her influences include such artists as Lawren Harris, Emily Carr and Norval Morrisseau, all of whom, Baird notes, ‘blend their artistic world with their spiritual world.’ In her artist statement, she continues that with ‘expanded awareness, a powerful silence is perceived underlying the creative energy of nature, and within the silence, an intrinsic vibration of light.’ We can all relate to times when we have seen nature so raw and beautiful that it takes our breath away. One can see why artists like Baird spend so much time in the great outdoors – it is awe inspiring. Painting is a way for her to share her spiritual perceptions with the world.
She says, “When the nice weather comes, it is hard for me to stay in the studio! I am out looking for new subject matter and immersing myself in the calming and healthy energy of nature.” Baird works with acrylic paint and attributes the evolution of her style to this medium. “It is said that the great thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast. The bad thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast… the essential quality of this paint opens up the artist to other means of expression.”
In her studies, Baird has explored the sacred art and geometry of mandalas, and, as teacher, has shared this experience through workshops with others, encouraging them to awaken to their own creative powers. Mandala painting ‘can be a meditative process as well as a skill building process.’ She adds that teaching allows the artist to focus on the basics again, and to grow in their own creative process.
Baird’s paintings have been part of many exhibitions in the Kawartha’s, she has been represented at the Buckhorn Fine art Gallery and she has been featured on HGTV. Although teaching has been a large part of this artist’s experience, she is currently focusing on her paintings where she can share her love of the natural world on canvas.
If you would like to see more of Leanne Baird’s work, please visit www.leannebaird.com. She will be participating in the 32nd annual Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour running from September 24-25. www.agp.on.ca/studiotour