Art Cup Project
Artist: Leon Holmes
Title: Summer Thunder
Medium: Oil on Canvas
An international award-winning Australian artist, lecturer and ambassador, who has made himself a global name.
We sat down with Leon to find out about the man behind the painting and the painting in front of the man.
What’s his coffee order?
Where can you view his work?
Follow me on Instagram for updates and visit my website to view more. Finishing Touch in Fremantle, Yallingup Galleries, River Front Gallery in Denmark and Nunzio Restaurant in Fremantle. You’ll also find my work in Mandurah, a group of us local artists who have established and run an outdoor painting festival/exhibition here called Plein Air Down Under, where 150 WA artists paint along the foreshore. The community has received this event really well as it gives them the chance to come up and talk to the artists and have a personal connection to the artwork. Many people don’t realise that I can paint something for them, your favourite holiday location, painted to your size and budget.
Why did you choose this piece of artwork for the cup?
It needed to work with the medium of the cup. There was no point in putting a portrait painting on a cup. It was the designer in me that chose this piece. I also chose this piece because of the warm nature of the colours; I thought the golds would harmonise nicely with a cup of coffee.
What is the story behind this piece of art?
It’s a painting of the Stirling Ranges. I do a lot of outdoor paintings, so my reference material is often painted outdoors. I use little photography. This one was based on a couple of small studies I had done. I liked the studies; I liked the feel of them, so it worked up to this larger piece with a bit more artistic license. The painting itself is called Summer Thunder. There is a big grey cloud passing over and you’ve got those light/dark relationships of the clouds as they drift across the landscape. Just a very typical Australiana landscape impressionistic painting. Nothing too fancy.
I spent six weeks painting on location in the Stirling Ranges from the back of my campervan, my mobile studio. I probably painted about 60 pieces, a lot of them are little ones and they influenced larger works. There was something a little gutsier about this painting I really liked. The freshness and the looseness of the mark-making and the boldness of the design.
I’m Australian born and bred but I’ve lived in Germany. I’m often invited to paint abroad and so I expand my paintings to European streetscapes, such as those in Venice, Holland, Ireland and Poland. I can paint anything from 8 to 10 paintings a day. I can be up at sunrise and still paint until midnight. Sometimes I can’t walk for a couple of days after a trip, but when you’re somewhere like Venice and you’re only there for 7 days, you just want to capture it all before you leave. I’ve painted at the Grand Canyon, in the USA and in South America and Florida. I enjoy painting the little old boats oyster fishing, the villages and the lifestyle of that area.
Why is it important to support the arts?
In today’s digital world, people’s homes are lacking in soul. Everything is a throwaway item. When I walk into a home that has original artwork on the walls, they have a soul and the people that live in those homes have got a story to share about the artwork. Art becomes a dinner conversation piece–how they got it, how they gained it – be it, two- or three-dimensional art. It creates a human element in our society, which is disappearing. Whatever it is. Art is personal and is created by a human soul. I think it’s more about bringing that personal touch back into life. Spending money for a nice frame and framing a child’s picture to hang on the wall would look as good as a Picasso, because it brings a soul into the home.