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"Local Outdoor Scenes" by Plein Air Painter Ann Lees
Friday, May 25, 2018, 6:00 PM to Saturday, June 16, 2018, 4:00 PM EDT
Category: Events


Born and raised in England’s dreary north, Lees has channeled her creativity into moving toward the light. On a rainy November day, at age 14, Lees viewed a Van Gogh exhibit in the sooty city of Manchester, England. The brightness, bold color and beauty of the paintings stood in such contrast to her surroundings that Lees cried. She describes the experience as an epiphany.

Lees knew at that moment that she wanted to paint – and in oils, but family life and career would sidetrack this ambition for many years. In the meantime, gardening became her creative outlet.... After immigrating to the U.S. in 1980, she and her late husband Anthony Lees transformed many sad yards into lovely gardens at various residences in upstate New York, New Jersey and eventually Wilmington. Each time they moved, Lees says, “I left my heart with the plants.”

Lees discovered her perfect professional situation when she opened the The English Garden, a nursery and garden shop located in Wilmington. Since the store’s closing in 2005, she took up painting in earnest and has found that the plein air genre perfectly blends her two passions, nature and art. She paints almost exclusively en plein air, retreating to the studio only when weather keeps her from being outdoors.