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Anna Lisa Leal

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At the age of 3, I could be found spending endless hours drawing in the shade of the backyard tangerine trees where we lived on the Texas/Mexico border. I continued to draw through my high school and college years recreating images from magazines and doing portraits on request. I didn't think to consider art as a degree path, and eventually, I allowed my love of visual art to be set aside for other more "practical" pursuits and studies. In November 2008, I experienced a psychic change. I chose to take the red pill and escaped "The Matrix" to remember what it was to be truly alive. On an October day in 2010, after a slow reawakening, I picked up a sketch book again and went into the garden to draw. On that day, I lost time while I drew and found myself and inner harmony through art. I felt like a child again experiencing the world in art with new eyes. The first time I picked up a paintbrush again, I gravitated again to portraits and a beautiful child holding a candle appeared on the canvas. I named him Emilio, and I imagined him to be holding the candle to light the way on my renewed journey. Next came a Native Indian mother and her child. I named her Esperanza - meaning hope. Both these paintings remain in my personal collection as a symbol of rebirth and hope.

These days, I can be found drawing in the backyard under the oaks by the pond or in my home studio. I enjoy painting many subjects in varied mediums - watercolor, acrylic and most recently soft pastels and colored pencils. When I was introduced to soft pastels, I found immediate gratification and have been exploring this medium voraciously and it has become my primary medium. Since I've planted as many real gardens as possible in my yard, I've extended my garden to my artwork. I've been combining my love of painting with nature by creating paintings of flora, fauna and sometimes the fruits of both. As a lifetime Texan, I'm drawn to various floral and animal inhabitants Southwest such as Big Bend, New Mexico and Arizona.