Finding truth through expression
Lacey’s Spring woman sees success in art career
After a day’s work as a subcontractor with NASA, Leslie Wood enjoys coming home to her art studio in Lacey’s Spring and engaging in her true passion: art journaling. Using a combination of imagery and words, Wood follows where the marks lead to create works of self–expression.
Wood said what began with a single class at an art retreat quickly became her preferred art form. She said she first took the class 10 years ago and has been developing the passion ever since.
“Art journaling is just everything for me. It’s where my thoughts gather and process,” Wood explained.
A self-proclaimed introvert, Wood said her art has become a way to decompress at the end of a day working with people. A risk management subcontractor with NASA, she said her hobby is a change of pace from her daily grind.
“It’s 180 degrees from my day job. I think I really need that,” Wood said. “I am an introvert–hermit sort; while I have to be around people all day, I can kind escape into my studio and into my art and just be myself.”
Wood began pursuing her art career in earnest with classes at the University of Huntsville in her free time. She said she initially set out to be a photographer or sculptor before she stumbled on art journaling.
“I always dabbled in art even as a kid, although I didn’t take any formal classes,” she said. “I knew I needed to be able to support myself – so that, in addition to following my dad’s legacy, led to working with NASA. I always liked math and science anyways, and I knew I didn’t want to worry about money or trying to make a living. I wanted a job that was pretty dependable.
“Once I felt stable in that, I felt like I could explore some of my creative needs. I think when I started taking classes, it was a curiosity thing. I always like to figure things out. I am always taking new classes even now because I like to learn new things. I think my curiosity just drives me in these different directions.”
Most recently, Wood’s “Down Deep Journal: Rebellion” was accepted into a regional exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Wood said she used a new approach in the work, and she continues to follow the new technique and approach to her work.
“The piece at the museum is a compilation of some of my paintings and other journals and line drawings that I combined all together into a different piece of work,” she explained. “I was taking a class during this period called ‘Down Deep: Mining your Truths.’ It’s about exploring what your paintings are trying to say to you and what these marks are messaging to yourself. That whole book is about looking for the truths in my life and what kind of signs are talking to me or what things I need to think about or pay attention to.
“I think any kind of intuitive art does that anyway; it takes your mind off of it and lets the marks drive you.”
Peter Baldaia, director of curatorial affairs at the Huntsville Museum of Art, said Wood’s work is a perfect example of the talents in the region. He described it as “intimate, personal and meditative.”
Wood has also seen recent success in leading her own classes and workshops.
“I have an online site with a few classes that are always out there that go at your own speed. Then locally, I occasionally teach in my studio. This past year I taught at the museum, and I am teaching in the spring at the museum,” Wood said.