This has been an extremely difficult and trying week for everyone, so I wanted to get back to something inspiring, something beautiful, something that brings people together: art.
This Artist Spotlight showcases local Boulder abstract painter, Lea Incandela. Like many of the artists I feature in this series, Lea’s work is known for its incredible color. Below, Lea speaks about her work, inspiration, and process.
How would you describe your art? Primarily, I am an abstract artist. Like many artists, the style of my work varies depending on what themes I am exploring, and which audience I am focused on. Much of my work during the past few years could be described as atmospheric abstract. At times it feels like I’m painting an a map of some inner world landscape. I’m always surprised by what appears on the canvas.
Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? I’ve thought about this question a lot over the years. Inspiration is such a wondrous and mysterious creature- the flashpoint of creation. In my experience inspiration is an ever moving and changing being. It is alive and wants to tell a story. I am inspired by virtually everything, of course there are the usual suspects, the beauty and serenity of nature, music, sensations, emotions, dreams, other artists etc. but I find that it is available in everything.
Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? I often joke that I am just as surprised by what appears on my canvas as someone who encounters it for the first time. Much of my creative process seems to involve a suspension of thought and an immersion into trust. It’s not that I lose consciousness, it’s more like i’m speaking a language that I’ve only heard in a dream. I rarely have a plan when I start. It’s as simple as selecting a color and picking up a brush. I tend to work in short but highly productive bursts. When I’m not actively painting, I spend a lot of time observing what’s appeared. In those moments my more analytical, design oriented self is at play getting familiar with the new landscape and making decisions about how to refine and enhance.
Completing a piece can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks. It really depends on the scale and my mood. There is usually a moment when I start to get the sense I’m done. It rarely has to do with how the painting looks, it’s more of a feeling of discomfort when doubt starts to creep in. I know it’s time to walk away when I start to question my ability as an artist.
Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? I’ve been working on a series called “Gilded Chamber” for the past year and a half. The first two paintings in this series marked quite a departure from my previous work. The colors were strong and highly saturated and it was the beginning of my love affair with gold leaf. The latest iteration in this series, “Gilded Chamber VIII” is my one of favorite works to date. It was inspired by a dream I had about the Aurora Borealis and my obsession with geodes. When I look at it I feel like I’m peering into world where sensation has somehow been translated into a dreamlike location. When it was done i noticed the faces that appeared in the gold leaf. I’m always astounded by these images because they are not intentional.
My goals for this year include continuing to push myself in terms of productivity and to continue to expand my creative boundaries. I feel my style is evolving into something completely new. My latest work is much bolder and has a more masculine feel. I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads me. I’d like to greatly expand my empire in the next five years. This means a lot of relationship building and marketing. I’ve been extremely fortunate with how things have unfolded up until now, but I’m excited to see what’s possible.
What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? Besides the joy and satisfaction I get from doing what I love, I’m so grateful for the freedom painting gives me in terms of my schedule. I come from an interior design background, which was very demanding. After having my son, seven years ago, I wanted to be able to spend time with him. Painting has allowed me to continue to have a creative and fulfilling career and be a devoted mother. The only real downside is the isolation. At times, it can be a bit lonely. I love and highly value collaboration. I’d like to find more ways to incorporate it into my work.
Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead ___? I wouldn’t be caught dead putting something I don’t love on my walls.
Which contemporary artists to you admire? Too many to name! It really is a moving target of admiration depending on what’s happening in my own universe of creativity. I have such gratitude to all those brave enough to play the role of artist.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? I’m a person who experiences the world through my senses. I love beauty. Like most people here in Colorado, I love to hike and spend time in the gorgeous natural environment. I’m also a foodie and love to explore the restaurant scene. I appreciate good design of all kinds and still have a passion for creating beautiful interior spaces. In addition to painting canvases, I’m also a makeup artist. I absolutely love the transformative process of enhancing the beauty of the human face.
In a fantasy world where ALL of the world’s art was available and price was no issue what piece would you like to own? Honestly, I don’t know. What I love about art is that there is such a huge spectrum of options. I love different works for different reasons. I must admit though, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a Rothko.