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Leana grew up in the Little Karoo, Western Cape of South Africa and has lived all her life in South Africa. She resides with her husband, son and three cats in the vicinity of Cape Town, surrounded by it’s beautiful mountains, oceans and wildlife, which is well suited of her love for nature.
Leana paints under the pseudonym of “Mow”, a nickname she was given because of her love for cats.
Since childhood she has always been a naturally creative person. Leana would spend hours lying on her back watching the clouds to see what shapes she could find. Sitting at her school desk, she would doodle on paper and on occasions she would stare outside through the windows, taking each small window pane in turn, one section at a time, to see if that portion would make a great picture.
Prior to venturing into painting she started creating handmade gift cards and did a lot of beadwork which she also used to sell. Her hunger to be more creative became stronger and she discovered the wonderful world of painting.
With no formal art education she started her painting adventure in 2000 with an insatiable hunger to learn more and nothing could hold Leana back once she discovered her love for art. She believes in the power of dedication, hard work, perseverance and persistence. She is a very keen learner and believes that the learning process in art will never cease. The knowledge she has, has been built up since 2000 and has been gained from reading many art books, doing research online, learning by watching videos, taking online painting classes and then putting all of this into practise.
Although Leana has painted a variety of subject matter in the past, her work has evolved over time. She has developed her own signature style with a focus on shells, because they have a much deeper meaning to her than just the visual. Thus it does not matter if the subject matter is a still life or surrealism, shells will always be present in some or other form.
Her aim is to draw the viewer into the work of art and let the work speak to the viewer on an intimate level, evoking different feelings and emotions through colour, texture and subject matter.
Besides painting, Leana is a keen Blogger and an avid hobby photographer, with a desire to capture the beauty and interesting subjects around her . On Leana’s blog you will find her ‘journey’ through her creative awakening and her artist’s journal where she shares works in progress as well as other interesting art related information.
Art has become an integral part of Leana’s life as well as the person she is today. Through creativity, Leana found her destiny and purpose in life by bringing colour, happiness, enjoyment and appreciation of nature into people’s lives.
I paint under the pseudonym of Mow, which is a nickname given to my because of my love for cats. All my artwork is signed Mow and when you look at Mow upside down, it still reads Mow. Depending on subject matter, this also enables my artwork to be hung on the wall right side up or upside down, thus a painting could be changed around every now and again by the owner and will give a different view and might look like new painting on the wall.
On the back of each painting you will find the following written: Serial number and name of the painting , my full initials and surname as well as my pseudonym, signature and medium the work was painted in.
My body of work has evolved over time and I am starting to focus more on painting shells. From a young age I have loved the sea and the calming effect it has and I was always fascinated by shells, their shape, textures and the variety of colours they come in. I have a vast collection from tiny to very big shells in my possession.
Shells are my signature and although I have painted landscapes, still life, abstracts, surrealism, portraits and cats in the past, my new paintings will always include a shell or shells in some or other way. As shells come in different textures, I enjoy combining different textures in a painting from hard, soft, rough, smooth and so on symbolising diversity. In some of my acrylic paintings I also like to add extra texture using a variety of mediums and techniques.
In my paintings I respond to the effects of colour, light and atmosphere, as well as the feelings stirred up within my being when painting and viewing the subject matter. I use Professional Artist quality products and a variety of mediums ranging from acrylics, mixed media and oils as I enjoy the unique quality that each medium has to offer. I make use of a variety of techniques in each artwork to achieve the specific effects needed in the artwork.
The symbolism of shells to me: All different shapes, textures and sizes symbolizes diversity. Shells gave protection to an animal that once lived in them, thus equal protection, just like a uterus protects a fetus. Sometimes we might say to somebody that is perhaps shy, ‘you need to get or crawl out of your shell’. In other words, show to the world who you really are or allow people to get to know you a little better. Although shells symbolize protection, they also symbolise fragility at the same time as they are very fragile and can break easily . As human beings we can also feel fragile physically, mentally or emotionally. The shells we pick up along the beach most of the time, do not have any living animals in them and thus the shell is the only proof of their existence one upon a time. These animals have perhaps died and the beautiful shells remain, which symbolises to me the human being’s desire to leave behind some sort of inspiring legacy.
Please remember to bookmark this page and check back often, as I am always adding new work. Thank you for your interest and support!
Copyright Notice: All images have copyright and the property of Leana de Villiers (Pseudonym of Mow) and may not be used wholly or in part without the prior written permission of the Artist and is strictly prohibited, including copying, duplicating, printing, publishing, reproducing, storing, altering, displaying, redistribution of any of the images or transmitting by any means what so ever.
Solo Exhibition in the Main Gallery of the CopperFlame Gallery for the month of October 2011.
Solo Exhibition in the Wendle Room at the Virtual CopperFlame Gallery for the month of July 2011. This exhibition presented all Best In Show artists of the first 7 shows.
Solo Exhibition in the Thames Room at the Virtual CopperFlame Gallery for 1 week in June 2011. Received award for BEST IN SHOW 3.