What Makes an Artist: Leah Doeland
Artist Leah Doeland, from Port Macquarie, juggles life as a full-time mum and self-employed hairdresser with being an artist, and creativity has always played an important part in her life. “My parents recognised and encouraged my love of art… they often turned a blind eye to the open paint tubes and drop sheet that covered my bedroom floor,” recalls Leah.
At the young age of 16, Leah left school to pursue a career in hairdressing, only to enhance her creative desire. “Throughout my apprenticeship, I entered in many hair shows and competitions – where I not only created amazing styles, but I also sewed costumes and designed jewellery for all of my models.”
Fusing her talent and passion for artistry with hairdressing, the dedicated beautician won over 30 awards, and took out Mid North Coast Apprentice of the Year three years in a row during her four-year apprenticeship.
In The Quiet by Leah Doeland
As soon as Leah became a qualified senior hairdresser, she took the opportunity to further her creative talent in a fine arts course. “I was learning all sorts of wonderful new techniques and experiencing many new artistic mediums that I had never before known.”
As a student exposed to all sorts of creative chemicals, when Leah fell pregnant, she decided to discontinue her studies for the health of her unborn child.
Possibilities by Leah Doeland
Three kids, and 14 years later, Leah continues her “artistic adventure” and ends most evenings immersed in her paintings. “I run a little boutique hair salon from home and at the end of the day, once my mothering and wifely duties are complete, I retire to my beautiful and wonderful art studio space, where I paint, create and dream many evenings away.”
Leah’s love for striking colour is illustrated in her vivid, dream-like creations. “I love the journey each piece takes me on. There is always a starting point, it may be a colour, or an inspiration from nature, and then the adventure begins to unfold with every brush stroke.”
Most of Leah’s art is produced in what she describes as an “atmosphere of worship,” inspired by the natural world and what she’s listening to; she paints for the onlooker to “feel the painting”, not literally, but emotionally. “I love colour and nature,” explains Leah, “I love to look at the natural world around me and break it down into shape and texture. For me, I am not trying to replicate a photo likeness.”
Swim Deeper by Leah Doeland
Swim Deeper (pictured above) does just that. An abstract illustration born out of Leah’s love for water, the artist encourages her viewers to submerge themselves “for a little moment of restful weightlessness”.
Despite her profitable success, Leah still considers art a hobby, a time for pleasure and progression, a time to disconnect. “There was a time when I found myself overly influenced by what others around me or on social media were creating – so I felt the need to be disconnected from social media and spent some time developing my own style, playing, pushing, stretching myself.”
Leah continues her artistic adventure; she enjoys the ability to grow with her art and recognises style and expression are ever changing. “I know my own style, I allow myself the freedom to look and celebrate what others are making and creating. However, my style is always growing and developing, I assume it will look very different in a few years as it continues to age along with me.”