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All Things Ampersand

Featured Artist: Jeff Leedy



It is rare to find a fine artist that works in oil pastels.  Rarer still to find one whose subject matter is humorous, drawing in the viewer with laughter and amusing captions rather than conceptual design, strong lines or photo-realism.  It’s not that Jeff Leedy isn’t a gifted draughtsman and designer, but his career has found a niche in bringing the public funny art, in oil pastels, on Aquabord™.

Jeff Leedy began his art career out of college, working for ad agencies as an art director for years before becoming an illustrator.  His path led him to working in freelance illustration for several years before starting to do shows, giving him the ability to be a full-time artist.  During his work as an illustrator, Jeff took a hiatus to Europe, taking along acrylics and oil pastels, enjoying the flexibility the pastel gave him.  This combination of mediums allowed him to draw and paint, work in layers and add acrylic washes to tone the substrate if needed.   It was the perfect fit for his style, and he has stuck with it.   Jeff chose oil pastels because they are the right match for his art, the same way he chose Aquabord years ago.

“Board Meeting”


Aquabord made its way into Jeff’s studio when it kept appearing in his favorite art supply catalogs.  After doing some research and finding out that Ampersand was close to his home in Marble Falls, Texas, he made a visit to the factory in Austin and got to know the company and their products.  He quickly discovered that Aquabord was the perfect texture and finish for his oil pastels.  Aquabord holds many layers of oil pastel and even allows for acrylic washes to tone the surface first. Jeff uses solvent and brushes without concern for overworking the surface. Not to mention, Aquabord provides him a rigid substrate that needs no glass or framing if cradled, even with oil pastel. Jeff uses a spray fixative, Sennelier oil pastel fixative, and then a final gloss varnish, Krylon, to protect his finished images and pop the color. Depending on the size and whether or not he uses a cradled board will determine if the artwork requires glass or not.  When using frames, Jeff purchases wholesale frames made to all sizes for his originals; when using the cradled Aquabord, Jeff paints the sides.

“Me? I’m just up here to help”


Besides working as a humorist, artist, and a gallery owner, Jeff teaches workshops and speaks to both art and non-art groups.  You certainly don’t have to be an artist or know about art to appreciate Jeff’s wit.  And if you are looking for an instructor who brings talent and humor to his classroom, look no further.

“I can still make par”


Jeff strongly believes in the power of good drawing, “Drawing like a Painter” is one of his most popular workshops.  He believes that the medium shouldn’t get in the way of learning to draw, nor should the subject matter.  If the subject matter becomes too difficult, the medium will seem harder to manage as well.  Jeff’s personal specialty in teaching is to help students overcome their “blocks” to creativity.  “My goal is to lift each student up one whole level of ability,” he explains.  He does this with humor, patience and with an understanding of the power of good drawing skills.  Jeff teaches his students by having them work alongside him, giving feedback along the way.  He is scheduled to teach a few workshops in Mendocino, CA this July and more in September in Marble Falls; you can find more details on his own website:  artthatmakesyoulaugh.com/workshops

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