Kit Leese Artist and Printmaker
I was born in Nottingham in 1957. My parents moved to Suffolk in that year and I grew up surrounded by the East Anglian landscape, which is now a major focus of my work. I began painting as an extra subject to go with exclusively science based A levels. I completed an honours degree in marine zoology at Bangor University.
By then painting had become as important to me as the degree. I made full use of the mountains of North Wales to develop a feel for landscape painting, particularly in gouache. I also met my future wife, Ceri.
I began a technical and management based career in the water industry in 1979. At the same time I continued to develop my painting, and added etching and aquatint to my repertoire, becoming a founder member of the printmakers group, 12PM. I held my first highly successful one-man show at the Hadleigh Gallery in 1982. Then followed a consolidation with frequent group and one man exhibitions until the mid 1990s. This period included three successful shows at The Haylett Gallery between 1989 and 1993.
As my career developed into operational management, commitments to this and a growing family of two children made it difficult to maintain the output and momentum to mount frequent exhibitions. However, I continued to mature as a painter throughout my water industry career. I used the time to develop techniques in oil and watercolour, as well as gouache. I also branched out into mixed media and abstract work.
The main body of my painting still remains rooted in landscapes, largely painted on the spot to preserve immediacy and a sense of place. I retired from the water industry in 2012 to finally realise my ambition to become a full-time painter, and am now painting with the same enthusiasm and energy which began my journey in 1979.
Forty years experience painting outside to capture weather and light have allowed me to develop a visual language which reveals the essence of my subjects quickly. I enjoy being able to demonstrate and share this free approach to painting and drawing which helps me complete relatively large works from scratch in the session.