Leslie Duke grew up knowing art would play a big role in her life. While she always loved painting, she ultimately decided to pursue a degree in illustration. After graduation, Leslie worked in that industry for several years until she realized it might not be her calling. So she set out to discover what type of art really spoke to her soul.

Leslie challenged herself. Everyday after work for 30 days straight, she painted an oil still life and by the end of the 30 days she realized what her calling was.

“At the end of those 30 days, I felt I had just reached the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with still life,” she said. “I just fell in love with it and it’s what I’ve been exploring since.”

Leslie is now inspired by the complexity and the simplicity in her still life paintings. “I like to give them a new life, to show that there is beauty in something that is seemingly so simple,” Leslie said. “My work is very textural and I love building up those textures with layers of paint.”

Though she’s in love with the entire process, the most intriguing aspect of art for Leslie is color.

“I am really into the psychology of color,” she said. “Each color palette may mean something different to me than someone viewing my work. It is just playing that game and allowing the painting to become something as I go along and as the colors develop.”

See what Leslie is most excited about this year at the Celebration of Fine Art: