Linnea Toney Leeming’s parents were both artists who provided their young child with vast resources of multi media materials, which shaped the foundation of her unlimited creativity. Her father built her first real studio while in her pre-teen years allowing her the freedom to express herself at an early age. More support came from her first mentor, John DeMelim, Chair of the Art Department of RIC, a family friend, who encouraged her towards a career in the arts.
Linnea’s art has always been about her exploration of new experiences, the visual excitement of new areas, new colors, and new attitudes. While in college she hitchhiked across the country and back with friends. She excelled in painting for her BFA (’74) and discovered photography as an art form. By her senior year she was exhibiting at Hera Gallery a Women’s Cooperative Gallery of which she was among the first members and that still exists today.
Becoming a photographer and prop stylist helped fulfill a need to experience new and exciting adventures, and she eventually married an advertising photographer. As well as having a long, happy and supportive marriage, this also gave her the opportunity to see and share new ideas from creative people from places like Paris, Montreal, Chicago, and New York and even Pacific Rim countries like Japan and Taiwan. She and her husband created artful images together for 30 years. All the while Linnea continued her own personal art and fueling her love of large format black and white landscapes, they devised a system to enlarge her 8X10 negatives to mural size prints.
Needing a more direct expression, Linnea traded the large format camera for mural size canvases painting en plein air in oil, from tops of mountains and beside rushing waterfalls. She studied at length with Mary Ann Santos, professor of art at NYU’s MFA program, and Victor Lara, professor of art at RISD. By 1990, she was simplifying landscapes into shapes and colors, finally being drawn into the studio, immersed into non-objective painting. Eventually she abandoned prop styling altogether to become a full time artist. Now she attends residencies with other known abstract painters and teaches adults in both oil and acrylic. She loves to explore, experiment and make discoveries, enjoying her world of freedom and flow.
Linnea’s vibrant and energetic abstract paintings can be seen in many galleries and collections both here in the US and abroad.