Painting empowerment: Art without ego

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By Crystal Carry

RCC insructor Leslie Brown’s artwork is part of a fundraiser to benefit the Riverside Art Museum. The exibition is in June and will feature 30 other artists. (Crystal Carry)

By Crystal Carry

When you walk into the studio an object filled with artwork jumps out at you, as your eyes travel around the walls beautiful women are staring at you and when you get to the floor, paint bottles are everywhere.

This is where instructor Leslie Brown makes her marks.

“I love to draw. I used to say if it wasn’t for art, I’d be crazy,” Brown said. “As a child I was someone who spent a lot of time alone so I started drawing. My grandfather encouraged it and he would take me out into the landscape, he would drink and I would paint.”

Brown got her undergraduate degree in Pittsburgh and went to grad school in New Mexico.

“I couldn’t stand another grey winter (in Pittsburgh), I needed light. I saw color (in New Mexico) for the first time really.”

Brown taught through grad school and started again 13 years ago. She has been at RCC for eight years.

“I love teaching. I love being around young people, it keeps me young and energizes me,” she said.

Brown also enjoys helping the students.

“I get to influence young people to make good choices for themselves. I don’t want the kids to go through what I did,” she said.

Besides teaching, Brown is the Gallery cordinator for the Art Gallery.

“I like the contact with the artists and that I teach less so I have more time to paint,” she said.

Outside of RCC, Brown is an artist. Most of Brown’s paintings involve extraordinary women.

“My voice is about speaking up for women in a spiritual way, not literal. My paintings are about empowerment. I paint goddesses.”

The ideas for her paintings come to her in meditation or while in and out of dreams.

“I remember the pose and figure. I wouldn’t know how to make art without the figure,” she said.

For Brown, the process of creating art is what it is all about.

“It’s the doing that lets you be a part of it. The magic part is where the piece lets you know what it wants,” she said. “It feels like you don’t have to control it, it takes over.”

Brown is finished with the big pieces in her collection and wants to get back to still life.

She said it is about learning and becoming a better painter right now.

“I have a great passion for what I do. It’s all art, all the time on this station,” she said.

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