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Leslie Newcomer
Cats and art have been part of my life forever...
I do art that I want people to enjoy and live with. I don't think there should be a
difference between gallery art and what you would want in your home. And I want
people to afford it. Not everyone can afford an original. .. I like to make it available to
everyone who wants to own it. Some will buy an original, some will buy the cheapest
print; but they love it."
At 34, Leslie Newcomer made the leap to become a full-time artist. She earned a BFA
in painting and drawing; then discovered that "what was selling was all the cats." She
didn't paint cats in college, but later noticed that the paintings that had cats in them
sold, while the others didn't. She gradually quit painting without them. And in a few
instances, found that by going back and adding a cat to a previously finished piece, it
then sold. Thus, she found her niche.
"I can paint cats into any type or style of painting, so using them as my subjects really
doesn't limit me. In fact, many times, by painting a cat in a setting that relates to the
breed or mythos, I find new and interesting components to add to my artworks. Cats
don't really restrict me; the ideas work together."
Over the years, Leslie has cared for a large number of cats. Thirteen live with her
now. She used to volunteer at Greenhill Humane Society, "but now it's a matter of time
and temptation." All her cats are spayed or neutered. And, some also serve as her
Twenty years ago, Leslie began to show her work at science fiction conventions and
cat shows. She also focused on learning the different breeds of cats. "They have to
be painted according to what the breeders think they look like, not what they actually
look like. You have to learn what they're imagining," she explained. Though she
produced some illustrations for science fiction books, she found she didn't want to
paint for others' specifications all the time.
Leslie moved to the Eugene area in late 1978. Using money from a house she sold,
she traveled around the country, and found that Oregon suited her best - she had
access to both mountains and the coast and, most importantly, a less extreme climate
that the Midwest little snow, ice, or humid summers; a climate similar to England. She
picked Eugene for her new home, unseen, from its statistics. Since then, she has
resided outside of Veneta and has been a vendor at Saturday Market and Holiday
Market for many years.
Along with her paintings and prints, Leslie puts her images onto switchplates,
magnets, pins, barrettes, earrings, checkbook covers, card holders, and many other
items. ,"This way, art becomes functional and someone who doesn't have room for a
print can still enjoy the art. This makes it much easier to make a living as an artist,"
she said of her marketing experience.
Visit Leslie’s booth during the market season or see her work at her website, Learn more about Leslie Newcomer’s shows and view her
large gallery of art. She is currently at work on an illustrated book of her own. Cats, of
course, will be featured.
(Winter 2007)

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Index of Groundwaters contributions:
Volume 3 Issue 2 - - cover art; “Showdown” and “Moon Goddess” (artwork)
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