Leigh Banks was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Her fondest childhood memories are of times spent surrounded by the beauty of the African bush. From a young age, she loved to draw and paint animals encouraged by her mother who is also an artist, and has won multiple prizes. Banks graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1994 with a concentration in oil painting, and exhibited in a couple of group shows in New York City as well as Harrisburg, PA. She then left the USA to settle permanently in the UK in 1998.
In addition to selling artwork privately and through galleries, Banks works on corporate commissions for interiors and contract mural painting, in particular for the cruise ship industry. She has artwork in the permanent collections on close to thirty vessels for Royal Caribbean International, Viking Cruises, Silversea, TUI and Paul Gauguin Cruises.
Leigh’s recent work has been gravitating towards reinterpretations of famous artworks in art history. I have done a series of quirky canine portraits as famous artists or well-known portrait paintings.
The creative process for Leigh begins very much in the imagination and she spends a lot of time turning an idea over in her mind, envisioning the visual possibilities. Once this idea has germinated and she feel confident about the starting point, she then starts sketching onto the canvas where she works out the overall composition. Building up the painting layer by layer, she starts on the central features and working her way outwards. It is a very immersive experience and I love reaching the moment when I feel totally satisfied with everything.
Leigh strives to create pieces that are uplifting in some way, either through subject or vibrancy of colour, and her creations bring people delight and enjoyment.