When Patti Leishman first moved to Fernie in 1993, she was a ski bum who had to rely on adhesives to keep her fully clothed.
“You’d catch your ski pants or gloves on a tree branch, or what have you, and then you’d fix it with duct tape,” she said.
Leishman now resides in Ontario but many of her Fernie friends were present for her one night only art show “My Outside Voice” at Inside Out Fernie Wellness on March 18.
“It’s like I never left,” she said.
Born in Kingston, Ontario Leishman had a highly technical education and career. She studied engineering at Queen’s University and Architectural Technology at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario.
In Fernie, she became a successful designer and project manager in the residential construction industry but one day she discovered the freeing power of creativity after getting a painting lesson from a client who happened to be a retired art teacher.
She spent the morning with her and created her very first abstract. She’d never painted before.
“It’s so freeing,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of drafting and architecture and more structured things for most of my life but when I’m painting, I just go into my studio, I turn on the music. I have a very loose style and I like working on large canvases. It’s almost meditative in a wild and crazy way.”
She paints from photographs she finds inspiring, though the finished product rarely looks anything like the initial picture. She does not use any brushes and instead relies on pallet knives, squeegees and anything else that can hold paint.
“I throw paint at the canvas and it just evolves,” she said.
After intermittent painting, she held her first art show in February 2013. There were 20 pieces on display and all of them sold.
My Outside Voice featured 20 acrylic on canvas paintings. The pieces were of mountains, vistas and other natural sights. There were lots of bold colours.
“I’m shouting a little bit in my painting,” said Leishman. “I’m shouting that it’s great to be alive and in nature and just loving it. Loving life.”