Leah Nadeau

December 5, 2023 by Artist Lane

Q. How did you first become interested in art, and
what inspired you to pursue a career as an artist?
A. In 2009 I began my first year of college and took a
contemporary art history class. This lead me down the

path I’m currently on. I became fascinated with The Abstract Expressionist Artists and it later inspired me
to buy my first set of paints. I went to countless museums that year and absorbed inspiration like a sponge. It was
the first time I realised I loved art and it ignited a passion within me I didn’t know existed.  

I didn’t begin painting regularly until I was pursuing my master’s degree in film in 2014. I took to painting every
day as a reprieve from writing my dissertation. It was
then that it became a daily practice. Eventually, I joined Instagram to showcase my work. There, I saw artists who were making a living selling their art and I realised that
it could be possible for me to do the same.

That’s why I think it’s important I talk about my career on social media, representation is important and it will give others the courage to take a chance on art as a career.

Q. Your art is known for its vibrant colour blocking.
Can you tell us more about your creative process?
A. I have a skill for visual memory that plays a unique role in selecting colours for my work. Every day I collect shapes, colour schemes, and textures, and eventually refer back to them when I’m in my creative process. My trip to Target for pantry essentials doubles as inspiration for upcoming works as I pass by the clothing displays, homewares, home decor, and makeup aisle. In my work, I love taking colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel and placing them next to each other, it adds a level of boldness to my work.
 

Q. Your signature style is described as “blueprinting.” What does this term mean?
A. I compare my process to blueprinting as in the plans

for a house because I create a mental map on canvas for myself before I dive into the composition. Whether it be using a palette knife to scrape out paint marks, drawing shapes, loose brushstrokes, or even dripping paint, this “blueprint” allows me to feel less anxious about facing a blank canvas. 

Q. How has your education in film impacted your approach to art?
A. Both paintings and films are stories being told in a creator’s style. My style creates a visual arc, similar to
the storytelling arc in films that I love. My studies have strengthened my ability to view the world from the
outside in. I look at composition, colours, lighting, and
the overall story of a film in the same way as art. 

Q. Can you discuss how the influence of Mid-Century Modern era and Gothic-style architecture is reflected
in your artwork? 
A. The Mid-Century Modern style has always spoken to
me. My parents were raised in this era of design, and I
was always surrounded by furniture and colours that
were popular then. Colours like avocado green, teal,
burnt orange come to mind when I think of Mid-Century Modern. These influences paired with my infatuation
with architecture seen while traveling come together to influence on my art style. I loved sketching while travelling across Europe both as a teenager and while I was an
adult doing my master’s degree. In my works, you’ll see lines and markings that look industrial and Gothic and

 

it’s a nod to my love for gothic style architecture, while the shapes are a result of my Mid-Century Modern influence. 

Q. How do you balance the use of geometric shapes and lines to create your compositions?
A. Balance is something that I aim to achieve in each work,
it allows the composition to flow so your eye travels across the canvas continuously, instead of landing in one area of my work. I use shapes to build the main composition and lines to emphasise where I want the viewer to look. They come together to create balance in my work.

Q. How does this uniqueness translate into your art,
and how does it set you apart from other artists?
A. Like many artists, I have a strong visual memory. However, because of my diagnosed ADHD I have a super focused ability to compile colour palettes, textures, and patterns throughout my life, accessing it like folders in

my brain. I use these memories when in the studio and
they come together to make a harmonious and unique painting. What helps set me apart from other artists is
how I channel my busy brain into my work.
 

Q. What do you enjoy most about creating art?
A. My favorite part of making art is the process. I use art
to cope with mental illness (ADHD and OCD) and chronic
pain (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) and it not only helps quiet
my brain, but it makes me forget when I’m in a pain flare.
 

Through my art, I find solace, expression, and a
profound means of healing. Within the deliberate strokes
of my brush, the interplay of vibrant colours, and the harmonious shapes that emerge, I discover a wellspring
of resilience and transformation. Art empowers me to transcend my circumstances, embracing the boundless beauty of creation and embarking on a profound journey
of self-discovery. Through creating, I find solace, restoration, and a renewed sense of purpose. 

Q. How do you select the titles for your paintings,
and what role do these titles play in your art? 
A. Each painting has a story behind it, so I make sure
the title I’ve chosen represents that story. For example,
my painting “Playscape” is a reference to the nostalgia
and carefree feeling you have as a kid before life gets
hard, before you really know what trauma is. The bright coloursevoke that sense of playfulness and joy. 

Q. What emotions do you hope your paintings evoke?
A. I use certain colours to evoke certain emotions. When
I use blue and muted earthy tones, I hope to evoke a
sense of calm and serenity. When I use pink, orange,
and yellow, I want you to feel overwhelmed with joy.
When I use orange and teal, I want you to feel sparked
with inspiration. When I use green I want the viewer to
feel a sense of being in nature. Colour is very powerful.
I assign meanings to colours not only in my work, but to people. Everyone in my life has a colour assigned to them in my brain. My sister is a beautiful jade green and my mum is a deep purple.
 

Q. How do you go about developing colour palettes?
A. As I mentioned previously, I have a strong visual memory. My brain is a treasure trove of my lived experiences and I can access these memories at any time to create the perfect colour palette I want to create for the moment. Usually, colours are chosen depending on the emotions felt of the day. Sometimes the night before I’ve seen a movie with an amazing set that inspires my colour choices, or maybe I saw some flowers on my morning walk with my dog so I reach for something that I saw in the wild. For me, colour is very intuitive.
 

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