I’d like to introduce you to an artist, who I also count as a friend. Do you know any people that make you happier just by being there? She is one of those people. I also really like her art and especially her philosophy about art. Say hello to Lesley Riley.
Lyric: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Lesley: Yes! I always wanted to be one but didn’t not think I was qualified. In grade school, I thought you had to be born with the talent to draw realistically, something many of my friends could do, so I thought being an artist was not in the cards for me. In high school I turned to crafts because that was something I could do without drawing. I tried them all (except pottery) and found a home in quilting. I made baby quilts and sold them on consignment at a local artisan shop and gave them as gifts. I made several bed size quilts but didn’t find using others patterns fulfilling. I wanted to be an art quilter but didn’t know how, since I “wasn’t really an artist.”
It wasn’t until much later in my life, after much artistic soul searching, that I decided to combine the three things I loved the most – quotes, photos and fabric. In 1999 my Fragments were born, and so was the artist.
Lyric: Tell me about your journey.
Lesley: Making those first Fragments back in 1999 was the beginning of a truly amazing journey. Following my heart opened many, many doors for me. Opportunities began to appear, things I never dreamed would happen: like being asked to write a book, teach world-wide, be an editor for a magazine, travel to Australia, write 5 more books.
All those years spent dreaming and trying to figure out HOW to be an artist was paying off. I was ready, willing and able to step up to the challenges that the opportunities provided. I never planned a career in the arts but it found me and I embraced it fully. I am living my dream occupassion.
It’s very important to me to share what I have learned over these last 15 years and a lot of my time is spent doing just that, through my newsletter, online classes and most of all, through one-on-one coaching. I am more satisfied and find more rewards in helping others than in my own successes.
Lyric: Why have you chosen textiles as a medium?
Lesley: I love the tactile aspect of textiles. I get excited by weave, fibers, the hand and sheen of fabric and most of all, the pattern and color. For me, fabric is an unending source of inspiration. It is always ready for me – something that’s important to a time-challenged creative. I know fabric inside and out. I am comfortable with it. I can make it do what I want. I don’t always have the success in other mediums that I do with fabric so it’s my go-to-girl when it comes to creating.
I do like to challenge myself with drawing and painting, and I love mixed media. But fabric is home. Plus I can paint and draw on fabric. And let’s not forget transfers!
Lyric: What or who is your inspiration?
Lesley: When I was trying to figure out how to be an artist, one strong motivation was to be able to, through my art, create the same kind of effect on others that so many artists had (and continue) to create on me. You know it when you see it – that piece that takes your breath away or gives you that peaceful feeling that beauty and perfection instills. I wanted to know how to do that so that I could give to others what so many artists had given to me. I am inspired by ALL artists who work to make their soul visible.
I now know that not every artist hits it every time, but wow, what a joy it is in trying. But let me be clear, making art that takes your breath away doesn’t happen when you try to make it happen. It is the result of, as Robert Henri states: “being in that state which makes art possible.”
Which reminds me of another inspiration: quotes. I have a bazillion of them, all gathered in my lifelong study of artists and creativity. Just like in those early Fragments, I am inspired by image, fabric and words of wisdom. One or all three are jumping off points for me.
Lyric: Anything coming up you want my readers to know about?
Lesley: Thanks for asking, Lyric. I have two things I would like to share with your readers. The first is the publication of my first self-published book, Quotes Illustrated. The book is something I have wanted to do for years, and through this wonderful community of artists, it has now come to fruition. 90 artists took on the challenge of creating art to illustrate a quote I assigned to them. The results are astounding. This book serves two of my life purposes – to inspire and motivate others and to help other artist achieve their dreams.
It is available on Amazon and makes a wonderful gift!
Another way I provide motivation and inspiration for other creatives is my year-long subscription to 52 Pick-Up. (http://www.52PickUp2013.com) Each week an email arrives in your mailbox that, as one reader said, “That’s what you do really well — you say out loud what we know but haven’t been paying attention to. And you make us want to pay attention.”
Sign up now and receive the remaining 2013 PickUp emails.
Last but not least – on Thursday, December 11th at 1 PM, I will be offering a LIVE webinar with Cloth Paper Scissors: Quickstart Your Art Career ASAP: An 8-Step Artist Success Action Program.
It’s a condensed, quickstart version of the same plan I use with my private coaching clients to get them going on their dreams. There’s the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the webinar, but if you cannot attend live, you get the full replay of the webinar plus the Q&A session.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share myself with your readers, Lyric.