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Painting is a powerful medium for expressing emotions and sending messages.

Hervey Bay artist Leticia has created a multitude of paintings that use colour and various subject matter to capture and express her moods and feelings.

The walls of her home are filled with beautiful richly-coloured artworks featuring whimsical images in golds, yellows and reds – representing the happiness and passion in her life. But there are some that depict sadness, or the journey from a sad state, with serious subject matter. For Leticia, the canvas provides a way of expressing her emotions and her mindset during her creative phase.

Leticia, who is a local high school teacher, believes art should be accessible to everyone and strives to create multimedia artworks that can be turned into prints so everyone can have art in their home. She incorporates art into school work whenever she can, providing hands-on activities to assist her students to learn. She is also working with Fraser Coast Arts Academy to do art workshops in February to share her passion and gift to students who would want to learn about the application of mixed media art and basic art techniques.

On weekends, and whenever she has time, Leticia puts brush to canvas. She paints at the dining table and studios space in her dining room, as she finds it’s the best part of the house because it is the central hub of a home and has great lighting. She blocks out the world, listens to relaxing Tibetan chimes and searches for inspiration within. Some of that inspiration comes from her Latin American background, and the influence of artists like Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Leticia emulates the detailed and vibrant style in many of her works, such as her Venetian mask series. She loves the dramatic costume effect of the subject matter, and gives them rich earthy tones and intricate textural designs.

Leticia’s favourite artist is American artist Mark Rothko.

“I like that through his work you can create your own dialogue, not the artist telling you what you are meant to feel, think and believe; it’s a personal experience with the viewer.

“Your interpretation depends on your own experience, history and state of mind at that time of viewing the work.”

Leticia has always enjoyed art, and studied art at USQ in Toowoomba, majoring in installation art, printmaking and curatorial studies, then graduating as a visual arts practitioner. But as most artists realise, making a living from art is difficult, so she worked in hospitality while she built her folio. Leticia’s work is exploratory, embracing abstraction, expressionism and surrealism, though her clients have commissioned her to create decorative figurative intricate pieces.

Leticia’s painting ‘The mummy’ is a particularly good example of the layers we put on before we go out into the world- the layers we need to wrap ourselves in before we venture out and deal with society every day. The colours are organic and earthy tones. The painting being both bold and brave, while still showing a softness and insecurity within the delicate folds wrapped gently around a hidden face. She said it is up to the viewer to read their own interpretation.

Her works range in size, with the largest a mural in the railway corridor which she did 15 years ago. While most of her work is large or sizeable canvases of 1.5 to 2 meters in dimensions, she also enjoys the small intimacies of small pieces.

She uses multi-mix media in her work and enjoys the freedom this brings. Leticia experiments with a range of materials including laser printing images, photographic imagery, oil and acrylic  paints,  fabric, wax, illustrator pens, pencils and pastels, designer inks, gold leafing and tactile things to provide texture. She hasn’t done sculpture in a while but did create some sculptures for breast cancer awareness.

Leticia is currently working on a large anatomical series including a heart, brain and lungs, in earthy colours. It is reminiscent of the old medical journals of the 19th century.  It is in response to a great loss she suffered when her dog beloved passed away. The series is based around her loss, including her heart which was broken, her mind that had to find a way to cope, and her lungs which represented learning how to breathe again.

Another series is Alice in Wonderland series. Leticia said that the rabbit and the Mad Hatter are represented in the madness and the sporadic way in which it was made. The Mad Hatter represents the environment that the poor little rabbit is in. The theme of Alice in Wonderland had a very significant relationship to Leticia when she found herself in Stockland.

“You’re guided by a divine force to places for a reason,” she said.

“It was like I was drawn to a place for a reason and there were signs. Only to be aware when I bought some tea at a pop-up stand and the lady began talking about this new opportunity for young entrepreneurs. I bought some tea that had an Alice in wonderland image inside.

“I also happened to see a teapot there that reminded me of the Mad Hatter. I had just finished illustrating the rabbit in the Alice in wonderland story and it all seemed to be aligning into some kind of real life narrative”

The visit to Stockland led to Leticia displaying and selling her work at Community Cubed. That’s how the whole journey started – she followed the rabbits.

Leticia has started a series on warrior angels, using earthy raw colours. The theme is in keeping with her belief that there is something divine about art. She said that when an artist was in the zone, and only realised what they’d done when they’d come out of it, was when they were being touched by the hand of God.

Leticia’s work is currently being exhibited at Fraser Coast Art Gallery and Academy at 9/17 Liuzzi Street, Pialba. She is part of a co op with ten other artist called “Eleven” who exhibit, volunteer and conduct workshops at the gallery and academy.

Leticia’s work is a wonder of expression, her South American heritage giving her art colour and vibrancy that allows the viewers to feel and connect. Her work creates an impact and appeal that makes it a must to see and enjoy.

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