Lee Halstead

“I love to paint. I love to play with the unspoken elements of the visual experience. I enjoy painting from direct observation. Observing nature I become connected with my environment. In essence, I enjoy a visual call and response, a sensing affair, with my surroundings. I use the language of art to express a certain perceived order and harmony, relationships and unity. There is the outer dance of color shapes within the visual field and the inner call for presence that gives rise to each mark, each color-shape on the canvas.”

Lee Christmas Halstead has lived in Charlottesville, VA for most of her life. She enjoys Plein Air painting in Central Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay area when the weather permits. During colder months she can be found in her studio working Alla Prima from the still life. Both Plein Air and Alla Prima painting are completed, excepting final touch ups, in one sitting. 

Lee uses a limited palette of three primary colors in warms and cools and three earth tones, along with white and black. The limited palette is necessary for both outdoor Plein Air painting and indoor Alla Prima painting. This simplification of color contributes to the harmony and unity Lee seeks in her paintings. Color shapes are abstracted in order to eliminate information. The immediacy of Plein Air and Alla Prima can be seen in the painters’ response to capturing the series of moments that come together to create a painting. Lee enjoys the presence that overcomes when translating from observed image to the marks on the canvas.