Artist of Taos: Leigh Gusterson

Leigh Gusterson poses for a portrait Saturday (March 9) in her Taos studio. Morgan Timms / The Taos News

Leigh Gusterson says life itself constantly changes how she creates her art, but probably the most “hugely impactful event” was moving to Taos from New Jersey in 1990.

“I was trained to paint the Hudson River School style – more realistic, and on the dark and moody side. Upon moving to Taos, my paintings got much brighter, more colorful, and looser … I’ve always loved painting outdoors, but in Taos I learned to paint outside in a very energetic, efficient and fast way, so I could pack up and get to the school in time to pick up my two daughters.”

In 2013 she switched to acrylics after getting heavy metal poisoning from the oils.

“That was a tough transition and changed my work in many ways – the colors I used, the way the paint went on the canvas, and especially the way that I added more detail to the subject matter, giving the painting more of an ‘illustration’ look.

“It takes a lot of faith and courage, I’ve found, to be an artist, to do other things that feed my muse and soul, so that when I’m ready to return to the easel, I’m full of fresh new perspectives and ideas.”

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