I used to work in the world of corporate, non-profit art, and to do so, I lived on a steep, narrow street, in New York City. Across from my apartment building there was a small parking lot, its back, and both sides abutted brick walls, a chain link fence topped with barbed wire stretched across its front. Sounds like a hideous view, right? Except, it wasn’t, because in front of the fence an astonishing garden had been loved into existence. A rogue garden, planted stealthily, and quietly tended for years, by a woman slowly wasting away from terminal anorexia. From earliest spring and the riot of blooms, until the last insane, red-tipped, white roses opened in late November beside the holly bush’s burst of shine-red berries, I made daily stops to study the ever-changing wonders on that tiny strip of dirt. Only one thing detoured my visits. If the gardener was in the garden, sickened by the sight of her emaciated silhouette, sagging pant legs, and skeletal hands, I’d turn and hurry away. I was actually terrified to look at her but told myself it was rude to stare. I told myself her suicidal self-starvation was pitiful but what I felt was a sort of rage. How dare she show her sickness off like that, she should be hiding behind closed doors. Then one lovely spring morning, I marveled at all the buds appearing on the wild rose bush. When I returned that night, I anticipated there might be blossoms, but the garden was gone. Every root and stem had been removed, the dirt leveled and boxed in with cement frames. Two weeks later, a neighbor told me the gardener, whose name was Anne, had died. The next day a photo of Anne had been tied into the chain link fence. I stood a long time, looking at her face for the first and last time. Really looking. The way I had looked at her garden, with a desire to see every nook, cranny, the thriving, the fading, and every speck of secret, hidden beauty. I have learned since then, that to really see someone, I must look. And after I have looked, long and deep, I know more about them, and myself, and my heart fills with love for all our broken places, our courage, and endurance. Only then, I draw.
My name is Lesley C. Weston. I am an artist. I mostly draw people. I draw people because drawing is about seeing, and when I really look at people they are more beautiful than a garden, even Anne’s. I work in multiple mediums, pretty much anything that leaves a mark or makes color -- the choice of which stuff I use is rarely predetermined. I’ve learned that the right material is discovered during the looking. Welcome to my studio. I hope you enjoy my work.
Glimpses into the Artist's Day (from Instagram)
This is my Instagram feed, where I post new works and works-in-progress. If you see something here that interests you, and you'd like to request a print, use the Contact block below.