Leanna Garcia is an an oil painter who primarily paints wild florals and bridal bouquets with an impasto style. Her work is heavily textured, full of movement, and inspired by the symbolism, emotion, and color of flowers.
For as long as she can remember she's been drawing, painting, and creating. Leanna wouldn't consider herself crafty (others might) but definitely creative. She really introduced herself to painting around the age of 14 and just worked on it, almost daily, until her early 20's.
What's your preferred medium to paint? Have you tried different mediums before?
I am an oil painter but I also love to use watercolors. Watercolors are what I usually take with me when I'm traveling and I just want to create, but not "work". I used to paint with acrylics but now oils have my heart. I think i'll be primarily an oil painter for the rest of my days. I just love how thick, buttery, and glossy oil paint is.
Favorite living artists?
How many names are too many to list? Thanks to Instagram, I have a plethora of favorite living artists! I absolutely love Alesandro Ljubicic's work. He is an Australian artist who paints very thick and textured oil paintings. They are usually very large, colorful, and have so much movement to them. I love every single piece he creates. I think I would probably cry if I ever had the opportunity to see one of his paintings in person.
I also love Natalie Dark's work. She is a New York artist who creates absolutely incredible realistic works with colored pencils. Her floral work is my absolute favorite and the detail to her work is just unreal. I also love how authentically she shows up on social media. She's unapologetically herself and doesn't censor anything. We started around the same time "full time" in the art world and I just love watching her creative journey unfold.
Another favorite artist of mine is Karli Corr. She is a Louisana artist and has been recently creating works that are inspired by moments in nature that she's experienced. Her medium right now is Soft Pastels on Paper, and I just love how soft her work is. I absolutely love how she's creating beautiful pieces of art that are bringing her memories to life, yet they are pieces that we can also see our own memories in.
Currently, my favorite museum is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. Walter Anderson was a Mississippi artist who was deeply inspired by the natural world around him. I recently visited this museum and just stood in absolute awe surrounded by his work. His spirit was so vividly and emotionally connected to his work and I felt like I connected to that creative spirit in such a beautiful way. When I left, I had tears in my eyes and I felt so inspired to press into my relationship with nature and the beauty of it.
Walter once said, "In order to realize the beauty of man we must realize his relation to nature." Art Historian Patti Carr Black once said about Walter, "His significance in the history of art may lie in his perception of fundamental reality: the interconnectedness of the world, the dynamism of matter, the knowledge that man is a participant in nature rather than an observer." If you ever get the opportunity to visit this hidden Mississippi Gulf Coast museum, jump at the chance.
What’s the meanest thing someone has said about your art? How did you respond?
I feel that generally, people have been very kind to me and my work. One of my very first art shows I did have a lady walk past my work and give a grimace and said very loudly, "Well, that's not my style." It caught me pretty off guard and my family had just walked up so we all kind of got quiet and it was just a very awkward moment. But, that lady taught me a very valuable lesson. My work is NOT going to be everyone's style, and not only is that okay, but its a beautiful truth. I don't want my work to be everyone's style. How boring would that be? Instead, I want my work to really touch a group of people who really value and understand my work. Those are my people. That is my community. We share the same language and value the same kind of story and beauty.
Who was you biggest supporter when you decided to pursue art as a career?
My husband has been my absolute biggest supporter when it's come to creating a career out of being an artist. Long before I ever believed in myself, he was encouraging me to follow my dreams. Honestly, if it weren't for him, I don't know if I would've ever found the confidence to do so. He's a huge part of my business. He sets up my shows for me, helps with the financial side, creates documents for me, helps me with shipping, applies for shows for me, emails, works my website, and the list goes on and on. My kids have also become my biggest cheerleaders and it's been such an incredible thing to have a family who just completely wraps me up in support and love.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make art for a living?
My first affirmation is, YOU CAN DO IT. The world needs your creativity. We need your story. We need your art.
My advice is, become a student. Don't worry so much about figuring out what your style is, that will come. Don't worry about if people will hate your work, you will find your people and community, and they will find you. Don't worry about if you're a "real" artist, you are.
Focus on learning all that you can if you want to create a sustainable income through your artwork. Listen to creative business podcasts, watch youtube videos, and follow other artists who have created a business off of their creativity. I have taught myself how to build an email list, build my own website, learned how to brand and market myself and my art, learned how to share my story and connect with others on social media, how to package and ship paintings across the world, and have learned many other things by becoming a student to being a creative entrepreneur.
You already have the creativity to make art, focus on how to turn it into a business. There are so many free resources out there to help get you started.
Leanna's Favorite Trekell Products:
My favorite Trekell products are the Floater Panels and the Linseed Oil Soap for brushes. I love that the Floater Panels have a built-in frame! Many of my collectors want pre-framed pieces and this is perfect for them. I also love how sturdy they are since I use palette knives. The Floater Panels come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they have become my absolute favorite panels to paint on.
I also love the Linseed Oil Soap because they leave my brushes feeling super soft. They don't dry out my brushes like a lot of other brush soaps I've used. This product has become a staple in my studio and is the only soap I trust to both clean and refresh my paint brushes.
If you'd like a chance to be one of our featured artists, click here!