Artist Leslie Toms is known for her use of color and light. Born in 1951, she attended Chapman College, then earned a BA from California State University in Sacramento, and completed postgraduate work at California State University, Chico. She also completed "A Little Tour of Provence" in Aix-en-Provence, France.
While influenced by the Society of Six, California Impressionism, and local artists such as Wayne Theibaud and Greg Kondos, Toms has traveled extensively to study under many masters. By 1974, she had visited 37 countries while working towards her degree. During one semester in Amsterdam, she spent the winter sitting in museums to keep warm. Works by Gauguin, Van Gogh and Rembrandt were her teachers. When she returned to the United States, she began her career in earnest.
Known for her bold, contemporary etchings, printmaking eventually gave way to constructed paintings and monotypes. Nearly ten years had passed when Toms found herself weary of the studio. She bought a portable easel and a ticket to Greece. Art and travel are now a way of life as she divides her time between studio and location painting.
Tom takes the viewer along as she travels the back roads of Italy, a field of lavender in Provence, an umbrella-strewn beach in East Hampton. Landscapes and structures are predominant in her paintings with figures rarely seen, but implied. The viewer is invited to enter the painting – an empty chair is left to fill, a worn footpath leads to an old villa perched above a grove of olive trees where one can sit and drink a glass of wine. Through her deft use of color and light, Tom invites us to celebrate the world.
An artist needs to learn from others but ultimately must reach inside and paint what is in their soul. I love life and I paint what I love most about it.