Leon Holmes is an award-winning Australian artist, lecturer and ambassador of plein air (open air) painting. “If you want to have life in your painting, you need to paint it from life,” he says. “To capture the true light, the true colour, you need to be immersed in the scene, and to become part of it. That’s why I think it’s so important to paint en plein air (in the open air).”
Leon’s proactive approach to painting has earned him numerous accolades, including the 2012 People’s Choice award for Art in the Open (Ireland) and the 2014 as well as the 2016 professional div. winner – Quick Draw prize, forgotten Coast en Plein Air (Florida USA). Leon has also twice been a finalist for the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture (Australia). His paintings have been exhibited around the world and have been showcased in international corporate and personal collections.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Leon gained experience in a wide range of artistic fields, including as a printmaker, graphic designer, art director, illustrator and photographer, before taking the plunge and becoming a full-time artist. He held his first solo exhibition in 2003, and started teaching in 2005 Now a highly-regarded artist and lecturer, he runs workshops for students around the globe.
Proudly Australian, Leon is instantly recognisable in his trademark Akubra hat. He has a natural affinity with the Australian landscape, and has travelled widely within his homeland, paintbox in hand, attempting to capture the wide diversity of the land on canvas. His paintings are rich with the vivid intensity of the Australian colour palette.
He has also travelled widely abroad, and spent a number of years in Europe learning the finer details of painting from some of the world’s best artists. Leon is now regularly invited to display his work and teach at high-profile international art events, including shows in the USA, Holland, the UK, Greece and Poland. He usually spends part of each year travelling, painting and sharing his knowledge with students around the world, before returning home to work in Australia.
Leon’s experimental and risk taking approach means that his work is dynamic, adventurous and constantly evolving. His unique style captures the essence of the natural light and allows every piece of artwork to tell its own story.