About Leon Holmes
Leon Holmes is an award-winning Australian artist, lecturer and ambassador of plein air (open air) painting. “If you want to have life in your painting, you need to paint it from life,” he says. “To capture the true light, the true colour, you need to be immersed in the scene, and to become part of it. That’s why I think it’s so important to paint en plein air (in the open air).”
Leon’s proactive approach to painting has earned him numerous accolades, including the 2012 People’s Choice award for Art in the Open (Ireland) and the 2014 as well as the 2016 professional div. winner – Quick Draw prize, forgotten Coast en Plein Air (Florida USA).
Leon has also twice been a finalist for the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture (Australia). His paintings have been exhibited around the world and have been showcased in international corporate and personal collections.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Leon gained experience in a wide range of artistic fields, including as a printmaker, graphic designer, art director, illustrator and photographer, before taking the plunge and becoming a full-time artist.
He held his first solo exhibition in 2003, and started teaching in 2005 Now a highly-regarded artist and lecturer, he runs workshops for students around the globe.
Proudly Australian, Leon is instantly recognisable in his trademark Akubra hat.
He has a natural affinity with the Australian landscape, and has travelled widely within his homeland, paintbox in hand, attempting to capture the wide diversity of the land on canvas. His paintings are rich with the vivid intensity of the Australian colour palette.
He has also travelled widely abroad, and spent a number of years in Europe learning the finer details of painting from some of the world’s best artists. Leon is now regularly invited to display his work and teach at high-profile international art events, including shows in the USA, Holland, the UK, Greece and Poland. He usually spends part of each year travelling, painting and sharing his knowledge with students around the world, before returning home to work in Australia.
Leon’s experimental and risk taking approach means that his work is dynamic, adventurous and constantly evolving. His unique style captures the essence of the natural light and allows every piece of artwork to tell its own story.
Education and Employment
Certificate of Trade in Screen Printing.
3 year Diploma at the School of Art and Design, majoring in illustration and advertising.
ADA Ad School (The Creative Process).
5 years working as an Art Director and in-house illustrator for one of WA’s leading advertising agencies.
2012 Founded the Plein Air Painters of Australia group and website.
2006 – 2011 Gallery owner and operator
April 2004 to current day. Full time Artist operating and running own Gallery in Fremantle Western Australia.
• 1993-96 Screen Printing Apprentice of the Year (4 years in a row).
• 1998 1st place National Ilford Photography Award.
• 1999 1st place National Aids Council Poster design.
• 1999 1st place National Print Poster Awards.
• 2009 Finalist Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.
• 2010 Finalist Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.
• 2012 Peoples Choice award – ART in the OPEN Ireland.
• 2014 Winner, Quick Draw – Forgotten coast Invitational Florida.
• 2014 Nomination Finalist – Noordwijk Invitational Holland.
• 2014 Appointed ambassador for Michael Harding Finest Quality Oil
Paints (London) and Rosemary & Co Artist Brushes.
• 2015 Nomination Finalist – Noordwijk Invitational Holland.
• 2016 Highly Commended Award – Mandurah Crab Festival en Plein air
• 2016 Faculaty Member / Demo Artist at the Plein Air
Convention Expo – Tucson Arizona
• 2016 Winner (professional division) Forgotten Coast En Plein Air
• 2016 Winner Best painting Aspects of Belmont (Belmont art Prize)
• 2016 Winner Best painting (Morawa Art Prize)
• 2016 Winner Best painting (Kalgoorlie Art prize)
• 2016 Finalist - Perth Royal Show art prize
• 2016 Fianlist - City of Busselton Art award
• 2016 Salon Selected - Black Swan Prize for Portraiture
• 2016 Peoples Choice Award - Perth Royal Show
• 2016 Best Landscape - Wickepin Art prize
Multiplex Living (over 200 paintings for Leighton Beach Development)
G’Day USA (artwork now in Australian Consulate-General’s office, New York)
Delta Petroleum Services
The Western Australian Club
Vasse Felix ‘Healing Hearts Foundation’ charity auction 2004
Global Private collectors
2003 Solo Exhibition – Home Studio North Beach
2004 Solo Exhibition – The West Australia Club
2005 Group Exhibition – Gallery 360 Subiaco
2005 Solo Exhibition – Little Creatures
2007 Solo Exhibition – Fremantle Emporium Art Gallery
2007 Solo Exhibition – Fremantle Emporium Art Gallery
2007 Charity – Leeuwin 25yr Celebration
2008 Solo Exhibition – Multiplex Commissioned Exhibition
2008 Solo Exhibition – Fremantle Emporium Art Café
2009 Finalist Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.
2009 Solo Exhibition – The York Mill
2010 Finalist Black Swan Prize for Portraiture.
2010–12 Holds Intimate Monthly solo shows from own Gallery
2012 Agora Gallery New York City
2012 Green Acres Gallery (Ireland)
2012 Solo Exhibition Houghton’s Winery
2012 Solo Exhibition Beach Street Gallery Fremantle
2013 PR2 Gallery (Amsterdam)
2013 International Plein air (Bergan/Holland)
2013 Green Acres Gallery (Ireland)
2013 International Plein air (Golouchow/Polland)
2014 Forgotten Coast En Plein Air – Florida USA
2014 Noordwijk Schilder Festival Holland
2014 Serifos Island Greece
2015 Forgotten Coast En Plein Air – Florida USA
2015 Noordwijk Schilder Festival – Holland
2015 Katwijk En Plein Air – Holland
2015 Solo Exhibition Greece and Tuscany - Kidogo Art space (Fremantle)
2016 Forgotten Coast en Plein Air Invitational (Florida)
2016 Solo Exhibition - Kidogo Art space (Fremantle)
2017 Solo Exhibition, Anchorage - Kidogo Art space (Fremantle)
Advertising and illustrations for:
Ross North Homes
Royal Flying Doctor Service
West Australian Local Government Assoc.
City of Swan
Heart Foundation of WA
Sambora Beach Toes Australia