Living by the seaside in St Leonards, East Sussex has opened up a whole new horizon… Originally from Cheshire, Alex Leadbeater lived for 20 years in Milton Keynes (as far inland as you can get in England and where she first started making paintings of the sea) and moved to live by the coast in 2002.
Alex completed her Foundation Course at Bath Academy of Art in Corsham followed by a BA(Hons) in Fine Art at Preston Polytechnic when it was at the Storey Institute, a small historic building in Lancaster. Her first exhibition was a sell-out, selected by Adrian Henri for the Serpentine Summer Show in 1981. She has since shown her work in various galleries and non-gallery spaces and has work in several private and corporate collections.
She describes herself as a painter printmaker as both processes inform her work. Working in a mixture of water-based media usually watercolour or acrylic, she uses layers of paint to create movement and texture often working on several pieces at the same time even when they are of different subject matter.
The sea, the sea, the sea and everyday objects that wash up in her studio are a constant inspiration. Alex often does life-size ‘portraits’ of everyday domestic objects. Wave paintings aim to describe the form and feeling of a wave, rather than depicting the sea in paint and are created using an energy like the ocean itself, with paint dripped, poured and scraped back in a state of constant change between ebb and flow.
Alex has been lucky to do a lot of travelling as an artist, with residencies in Brazil, Lithuania and Florida. Each of these trips continue to inspire her work with both local and global issues.
She is increasingly interested in environmental causes and uses recycled plastic to make collages and prints to bring attention to issues of plastic waste and the plight of the ocean.
Making prints alongside painting means she can develop ideas in a different form and finishing them with pastel or added details make them unique rather than editions of identical prints. Her latest work includes tiny watercolours, textural prints and big splashy abstract paintings on canvas.