Monday, 28 January 2013

Leia Charleson (artist)

Leia Charleson art at Beanzz Coffee
After the vibrant paintings and prints of Corina Stupu Thomas, Beanzz Coffee in Grove Road has chosen serene and tranquil work to adorn their walls until the middle of February. Leia Charleson was for many years a practising aromatherapist and holistic healer. Two years ago, during a period of ill health when she was unable to continue with this work, she attended her first pastel workshop and discovered her affinity for the medium. I asked Leia about the origins of her current work.

LC: When I first started working in pastels I worked in a far more uncontrolled way- these pictures are not at Beanzz. Then last year after my brothers unexpected death (he was murdered) I found that I was creating more order in my pictures particularly circles which for me symbolised the experience of life and death. 

The first picture which I created using circles was done in March 2012  and I used a handmade pair of compasses to allow me to measure very large circles. After that I decided to read about sacred geometry as this appeared to be how my work was developing. My next picture was the one at the top of the stairs in Beanzz and for me it marked a Transition in my work - hence its title.

Leia Charleson
Leia's pastel images remind me of the natural world, the shapes of wreaths, seeds and orbs. The image on the left in the top photo depicts a sleeping sun and moon nestled together.  
LC: The face - half sun and half moon was originally created as a commission for a friend's therapy room - this was the trial run and she then selected different colourways. I have done several of these for people and each one is individual as is all of my work.

I also like an almost monochrome image, second from the right, which is particularly detailed.
LC: The black and white circles entitled "Not everything is Black and White " was created at a time when I was living with the possibility of cancer within my body and using my personal awareness to give me power over my reactions to this. Hence the spot of red which symbolised hope.

LC: The blue and white picture - entitled in a Blue Spin was created when I found myself in a period of deep unhappiness and confusion because of my illness which resulted in the loss of my driving licence.The work helped to release the emotions and gave me comfort when it was completed as if order had been restored from chaos and I was recently intrigued to see that the centre resembles a steering wheel! 
As the year progressed and my health improved I created Fifth Rock and the Starlight Xpress  which were much more relaxed and irreverent pieces of work. The large picture downstairs in Beanzz entitled Order was symbolic of my return to my full time job after months of illness. Also downstairs is a pastel which shows the joy of Christmas (Poinsettia).

Leia Charleson
Many of Leia's pictures represent a significant event or time in her life but she also undertakes commissions, working with the colours that the individual feels are most important in their life at the time. Different colours hold a different energies and reflect different life aspects: green for fertility of mind and body, red for passion, pink for love and romance. Work can fit with rooms in homes and offices and particular subtle energies can be created as requested.All pastels are then mounted in a coordinating or contrasting colour and framed.

If you would like to talk to Leia about her work please email her at or visit her new Facebook page.

Beanzz Coffee, until 17th Feb.
Mon - Fri: 07:45 - 18:00, Sat: 09:00 - 18:00, Sun: 10:00 - 16:00.

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