Leslie Toms: A Gracious Way of Painting
Catalog of Leslie Toms’ recent work.
Seeing Leslie Toms’ paintings over the past few years, one might not guess that the artist who created them has dealt with daunting personal loss and numerous challenges. The paintings seem far too bold and joyful, because Toms is dedicated to painting as a way of memorializing life’s pleasures and sensations by distilling them into colorful vignettes.
Toms isn’t inclined to let life’s problems tint her work. If anything, the things she has dealt with recently–including the deaths of both parents, a divorce, and cancer surgery–have only intensified and purified the joyful emanating from her art.
During her recovery from surgery, the artist’s surgeon–who is also a collector of her work–suggested that Toms try sitting at her kitchen table and painting small still lifes. He knew that painting and staying out of bed would speed her recovery. It worked, and the resulting series of small canvases of flowers in tiny vases or glasses gives the viewer a sensation of tenderness and resilience.
Several paintings of sunflowers later came to represent Toms’ defeat of cancer and were shown at a small exhibition at her home. Unfortunately, her home had to be sold and Toms has been working in a temporary studio that is only one third the size of her former working space, while waiting to move into a new home.
John Natsoulas Press