Born in Washington, D.C., I lived in Manhattan for 24 years before moving to rural Nova Scotia in 1984. After studying English Literature at Brown University, I went on to Yale for painting (under the influence of Josef Albers). After twenty years teaching at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD University) in Halifax, I now teach only ocassionally. Mainly, I paint. It is all about communication, even without words.

To me, New York was always the center of the universe. I thought it should separate from New York State, if not from the United States itself. When I was in art school, a friend of mine told me if you want to be an artist, you have to live in New York. He moved to Providence, R.I. where he lives still. I am now a proud Canadian citizen. The Garden of Eden is my back yard. (No apples, though.) It would be hard not to like it in NS. I was glad to leave NYC by the time I did, although it wasn’t planned for long. Like most Americans, I didn’t really know on which side of the continent Nova Scotia was before I first visited (and bought a house by the ocean).

After a few moves around the area, I have settled into a house I designed (with the help of an architect friend) and built by a lake. I love to swim in the summer, have a paddle-boat and canoe, and to walk on the lake in the winter. I’ve been learning tai chi, qi gong and studying Traditional Chinese Medicine. I live with my Portuguese Water Dog, Lila. She is my fourth dog; the other three were Golden Retrievers.

When I moved to Canada in 1984, with Aaron, my (then teenage) son, my daughter Tamar stayed behind in NYC to pursue a career in film. After living for some time in Los Angeles, she is now in the NYC area with her husband and son, writing. Aaron has moved between Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, the U.K. and does illustration and graphic design.

What I am like: I am sometimes outgoing and personable and yet often very reserved and introspective. I am independent, spend a lot of time alone with my work, yet enjoy people. I’m not a great housekeeper (especially not my studio) but I might rearrange dishes in my dishwasher to suit my taste, but that is about it. Generally, I am not overly structured but am very disciplined and responsible. I could be described as a domesticated dreamer.

6 Responses to About

  1. Joanne Abrahams says:

    I don’t know if you remember me. I am veterinarian Ron Abrahams’ wife. We met some time ago, once at your home and once on the road to Montreal. We have two pieces of your artwork that date back to the 90’s. We came to your home in Duncan’s Cove, I think, and chose one of your works a collage: black/ white/ blue . While using choosing that collage, I also fell in love with a predominantly red picture you were working on. We subsequently bought it. When I look at your creations with their intense colours and forms and squiggles and lines, they make me -FEEL – both emotionally and physically. They draw me in and keep me wanting more.
    I don’t know anything about art really and just discovered your blog so reading what you say about your works and how they can be understood makes me feel less inadequate. It’s sort of like what my daughter -in -law, a poet, taught me when I told her that I can’t understand her poems and those of other poets whose poems don’t spell out the intended meaning. She said that she often does not understand a poem in her initial read and that is what she loves about ‘difficult’ poetry. ‘Difficult’ poetry is the term used by poets for poems that are not traditional and easy to grasp. Traditional poetry is categorized as “simple’ poetry. It is not a derogative term and does not infer that the poetry is simplistic, uninteresting or lacking in emotion but rather that readers can grasp the meaning on a single read. Cori said that ‘difficult’ poems draw her back time and time again and with every reading of the poem she discovers more amd more. Your paintings are like ‘difficult’ poetry. So thank you for your art and your blog. I enjoy reading about your travels as well. We were just in London visiting our son who is on an exchange at King’s College. He’s a 5th year Cornell PHD candidate studying philosophy. We were also in Rome visiting our daughter who is an architecht living in Rome. Lucky you to have your son and Joanne here in Halifax. We do have our youngest here, thankfully.
    Ron and I would love to purchase another one of your works. How do we go about doing so ?
    We have the perfect place to hang one of your 3 to 4 foot paintings.
    Looking forward to your next blog.
    Joanne Abrahams

  2. pamela says:

    I found you because your studio name is close to mine 🙂
    I love your work!!


  3. Your work is delightful. You sound delightful. I love Nova Scotia though I haven’t been there in decades. Good luck.

  4. Really found your bio to be inspiring on many levels. Just a stranger passing by to say you seem like a lovely spirit. Cheers.

  5. Hi Leya, Jane here from the workshop you taught in Baddeck a few years ago, a close friend of Linda’s. Linda was pointing me towards your blog recently and I just took a look. It’s lovely. I also have had a blog for many years but fallen off posting since I got a new pup in October. I have thought about you and Romeo a lot since I got Gracie (a Goldendoodle – now 5 months old). I am not experienced with dogs – she is my first dog. I thought I might contact you to see how you manage getting your work done with a young pup. I so admire all you do and your work is so strong, vivacious and enticing. I need to get back to work! Is a strong routine the secret? I am in Ontario for the winter. It would be nice to visit you at your studio in the summer – perhaps Linda and I could come together? Just a thought – might not suit you and I understand. So happy to think of you painting in a house of your own design. I wonder if it is too late for me to do that? Happy New Year 2020! Jane

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