Leah and I have known each other for a very long time. Although I did not know her when she was a model, I certainly knew her well when she was a model agent. Tall, gorgeous, and talented, Leah is simply amazing. And disarmingly nice. With her “hey, gang, let’s put on a show’ approach to life, she is also a lot of fun.
Just when I thought I had her pegged, Leah followed her calling to be an artist, left the world of modeling, and got a studio upstate. Now she splits her time between Salem, NY, where she shares her life with a chef (who is into sustainable agriculture, we love that), and NYC where she’s Director of the Exhibition Outreach Program at the Art Students League.
The rural bit doesn’t surprise me since Leah grew up in a pre-revolutionary farm house in Pennsylvania with masses of siblings (7!), 12 dogs, 4 cats, horses, goats, and yes, chickens.
Also not a surprise, animals are primarily the subjects in her work. Her chicken paintings (of the chickens she raises) are my favorites, especially the mixed media ones on newspaper. Leah does pet portraits on commission and I may have her paint a few members of my own personal animal kingdom (3 dogs and our horses, past and present).
We caught up at her recent solo show and thankfully, Leah agreed to be a KiC profile!
What inspires you? Life, art, food, colors; I love to take drives and really look at the view out the window, (it’s even better when I am not driving! Ha!). Conversations with complete strangers, slowing myself down to really see where I am and what is going on around me. Talented people who have been able to cross the great divide between creating art and having it sell, inspire me the most.
Favorite book? It started with Grimm’s fairy tales as a child and recently, I loved the Stieg Larsen books. There is nothing like a book to take you to another place in time and that you can’t put down– I hadn’t read anything that had kept me from sleeping in a longtime. I got one sent from London because it was released there before it was released in the US.
Movie? “A Face in the Crowd” if you haven’t seen it it’s a must. A 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan, and the screenplay is by Budd Schulberg. Coming from a business that was all about making stars, it just rang true, still does.
Music? I am all over the place with music. I listen to classical, especially Baroque, when I paint and I can’t forget to mention Tom Waits, he’s a genius. My secret pastime is tuning into the country station when I am driving around, songs about International Harvesters and Pontoons seem easier to handle.
Style Essentials: Black, black and black with a GREAT Bag and Hermes scarf. Men’s shirts, and flats.
Cannot live without: A men’s white shirt, my readers, and Dan who is the love of my life.
Next Destination: I haven’t wanted to travel on a plane for the past decade; I have been very happy just traveling back and forth from NYC, gardening, painting, seeing family and basically going places that I can drive to like Maine, and PA. I am getting the bug again, especially since I got an email from an old friend who has opened a bed and breakfast in Malta called 37GOZO. I think I need to go!