Ann Lees

Born and raised in Cheshire, England, I was lucky to spend time at London University (majoring in French), in Paris and at Poitiers University, France, and three years in Madrid, Spain, soaking up the galleries and museums and art history of those cities. A love of the great works of art and a passion for nature and gardening have resulted in my plein air painting.

I love to paint outside in nature, capturing the mood and light of the Carolina marshes, seascapes, shores and gardens. I paint en plein air in oil, and try to put onto canvas the beauty that I see, attempting to capture the fleeting moment, the ephemeral beauty of a garden, the light on water.

It’s much harder painting outside than in the studio. You’re outdoors, and do battle with the heat, the wind, the bugs, the rain and the changing light. I love to feel I’m alone with nature. If you are at all successful, sometimes you can put into the painting, not just what you see, but the smells and sounds as well. Outside you paint quickly. You have to be spontaneous; capture, not a whole lot of detail, but the mood. I like to paint old forgotten buildings and rotting boats and things other people don’t pay attention to. I try to let the feeling of the place take over.

Raised in the North of England where there is much gray light, a Van Gogh exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery was my epiphany! I always wanted to paint in oils. I love the malleability, the richness and the smell of oil paint.

A more recent passion for life drawing has led me to work on the female form in pastels, watercolor and gouache.

Mainly a self-taught painter, I take as many workshops as I can with nationally known artists, and am fast becoming a workshop junkie!