Leslie Allen was born in Alamogordo NM, and spent her childhood along the Rio Grande in El Paso TX. She moved to San Diego CA as a late teen, and soon after she studied graphic arts and pre-law while working as a federal deputy courtroom clerk. She held her first exhibit of small watercolrs in the federal building where she worked.
She relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, and after studying its rich art history, Allen refocused her interests to studio arts. Allen's appreciation of art and community blossomed while working at Lucasfilm Ltd., and she regards that period as pivotal in her creative life. Over ensuing years, her work evolved from tender, tight watercolors to vibrant landscapes, gestural figures and ultimately large format expressive abstracts in oil. Allen credits painter Chester Arnold, with whom she studied for many years, for urging her to paint in oils.
Allen studied anatomy, figure painting, and cartooning at the Academy of Art, and aquatint etching at Crown Point Press, both in San Francisco CA. She uses her intaglio press mostly for monoprints that are uniquely related to her oil painting, and as part of her collage-making process. Allen's study of advanced anatomy was most useful in development of her drawing skills, and she found it vital for accurate drawing, as well as confident departures in mark-making. Allen sketches daily.
Music is also central to Allen's art-making, as she feels music drives her painting actions. After a 50-year hiatus, she resumed music studies, and she regards cellist Hannah Addario-Berry as the best birthday gift of her life. Allen is grateful for her ability to create art and music as a perpetual student. Allen plays cello in the College of Marin Symphony Orchestra, Kentfield CA.
Leslie Allen's ignition was brilliant, and the subsequent years of work have continued to amaze and delight lovers of high-octane abstraction.
~ Chester Arnold, Bay area painter of narrative illusions
Leslie Allen mentors artists of all ages, and offers lessons and workshops in her ICB Studio 300A in the Marinship district of Sausalito's waterfront.