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GOOD NEWS: Lobo in lava land - Odessa American: Good News

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GOOD NEWS: Lobo in lava land

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 3:00 am

ALPINE Sul Ross State University fine arts graduate student Alice Leese was picked for the National Park Arts Foundation Artist in Residency program in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park this summer. The program places artists in national parks, monuments, and historical sites throughout the country for a month of on-site immersion and artistic representation.

It’s the second time Leese has participated in a residency with the National Parks Service. Last year, she spent a month at Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico.

Volcanoes Park is located on the Island of Hawaii and encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes.

As a plein air artist focusing on landscapes, Leese’s work familiarizes her with outdoor surroundings. Most of the time, she paints at a remote, dry and sandy ranch located in the Permian Basin, where she also works as a founding manager.

The residency gave Leese time to focus on her craft and dig into park history. She had access to an archive of paintings inspired by the region from the late 1800s to early 1900s.

“There were pretty famous works done there,” she said, including many from the so-called Volcano School, a group dedicated to painting nocturnal volcano scenes.

Studying the archive was special.

Park staff was very supportive and helped enrich her understanding of the area.

As an artist in residence, Leese became a park advocate.

It’s in line with a tradition that helped create national parks over a century ago.

Volcanoes Park outfitted Leese with an easel, canvasses, oil paints and watercolors. She took the watercolors and a sketchbook on long distance hikes and used the oil paint and easel at easier to access destinations.

By the end, Leese produced 14 plein air oil paintings. She will create larger works in her West Texas studio based off sketchbook renderings made in Hawaii. A show is scheduled for March 2020 at the Ellen Noël Art Museum in Odessa.

Leese began her master of fine arts degree at Sul Ross in 2015. It had been over 30 years since her BFA, and she wondered if there were new tricks to learn.

Odessa, TX

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