Born; Denver, Colorado 1952
Colorado Institute of Art 1971-1972
United States Army, Graphic Designer 1972-1975
Leon grew up on a Northern New Mexico ranch, exploring the mountain sides with his older brother in search of adventures. At an early age, his grandmother’s involvement in Northern New Mexico art circles exposed him to the arts. Later, study at the Colorado Institute of Art along with private study reinforced his abilities. While in the army, stationed in Germany as anillustrator, he was able to travel extensively throughout Europe, visiting museums and maintaining sketch journals. In addition, he studied the painting techniques of the old masters for two years culminating with on-site study at the Stuttgart Stattsgalerie Art Museum. Long having had an interest in pen and ink, etching took on a special meaning after seeing the museum’s collection of prints. On his return to Colorado, Leon began to study the intaglio techniques and selling the prints in mountain galleries. In 1998, Leon purchased his first letterpress and received immediate success with the woodblock prints he produced. In 2005, he started printing using the Japanese method of printmaking. The versatile layering of color in the woodblock process allowed him to better capture the atmospheric qualities of the Southwestern landscape that has such a strong meaning for him. Leon has continued to develop his printmaking skills and currently owns a publishing company, producing his reduction style woodblock prints as well as limited edition books. His woodblocks are exhibited nationally and collected by numerous museums.
As a printmaker, I want to recordin printed form the elated feelings I have from my original plein-aire sketchesand paintings. Sketching is a very direct and invigorating encounter with thesubject, while creating a print in the studio becomes more methodical.The challenge of translating apainterly image into a block print is to capture the energy of the originalinto the print, not to merely duplicate the image. The technical challengespresented by the printmaking medium must be understood in order to becontrolled with an intuitive ease. Handling the technical aspects ofrelief printing with confidence allows an artist to treat them as expressivetools, and not as limitations. When the handling of a medium becomes intuitive,the analytical process of building and creating a printed image becomes asinvigorating as the original sketch was in the beginning. To see that the passion of theoriginal sketch has been translated into the print is the artists’ reward..