Leandra's Art -  Introduction

Some of you know that I was a professional artist in Germany for a number of years, since returning to South Africa in 2002, I have not done much but feel the drive once again to re-connect with this passion of mine that began when I was in primary school. Asked what I wanted to be when I grew up in grade 6, I answered that I wanted to be an artist. At age 10, I used to take the bus into Durban city centre to spend my Saturday mornings in the Durban Art Gallery. I literally spent hours there. I also recall always looking at things in a different way, taking in the shapes and colours of the clouds, the different hews of blue in the sky or green on the rolling hills of the countryside. Watching the waves at Durban beachfront, I always say forms and colours. I think this was my escape from the emotional pressures I endured as a child. It was my dreamland, my special place. It was my early meditation.

I majored in art at school and studied fine art for two years before changing to speech and drama for my actual BA qualification. Then I went to Germany in exile and worked as a stage and costume designer, before turning to my art again.

In the late seventies, I got involved in the woman's movement in Germany, and one of my achievements was to develop a unique way of teaching woman to draw. In nude drawing classes which took place in private flats, taking turns to host the evening, we took turns to stand model. We would then not only discuss the actual paintings, but also our feelings - about our bodies, about being naked and standing model, about drawing naked female bodies and a whole lot more. Those were the days when women opened up to each other about their sensuality, their sexuality and particularly their hang ups about their bodies. I myself loved drawing large scale nudes in charcoal, or black ink and later painting in oils. The sexuality aspect was usually the focus - not so much the full expression thereof, more so the brokenness of female sexuality as most of us women experienced it at the time.
Since then, I have worked in many different formats with different materials, the themes I chose, were reflections on where I was emotionally in my life. During my professional years as an artist, I worked on 4 x 3 m paintings until I could not store such large sizes any more. During this time, I also specialised in art performances which, by using multi-media effects, I was able to bring together all my skills: writing, painting, performing.
Finally the birth of my daughter in the mid eighties put an end to the long nights of painting large sizes, and eventually I gave up my romantic factory space with a real coal oven as a heater, which was my studio for many years. The sizes of my works became smaller and smaller and as I grew and had less emotional baggage to express, my work became more and more graphic. But as always, there were themes from my life experience that inspired me.

Eventually, my active art work became less and less, and when Tantra overwhelmed my life, all my passion and energy went there. Now, with the growing desire to once again paint and perhaps even have a real studio space to paint in, I decided to "come out" with my art and share some of it with you, the visitors to my website and especially my students. In doing so, I share my journey with you. I do this more or less in the order in which the various phases evolved and hope to give you some idea of how my art has always reflected where I was in my life.
In effect, my art was always my therapy, my Psychoanalyst, and at the same time, my inner emotional support. What I see when I now look back, is that, all the time I was working towards wanting to understand the human condition and how we cope with our life experience. I know today that underlying this, was a deep seeking for wholeness to life and completeness to my being. What I didn't know at the time, was that I would eventually find this wholeness, only in the second half of my life, and I didn't know that it would be the path of Tantra that would finally catapult me over the threshold into a new being and having a new life.
When I came to Tantra, it did not take much more to nudge me into awareness, I had been preparing for this over all my adult years. And my art was a large part of that journey. Tantra as I understand it, is the most direct path one could take to find wholeness, completeness...and Absolute Love.

I have no idea what I will paint when I begin to paint again, or how it will express where I stand in my life journey today. I feel drawn towards oils as well as back to the technique I developed for working with Aquarelle in my most recent, graphic work. I look forward to sharing this with you as new art works emerge. For now, more or less in the order in which they were created, my art works from the past.

December 2010

Click here to go to Leandra's Art 1