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.


  • Boranup Gallery – Western Australia
  • Finishing Touch – Fremantle Western Australia
  • PR2 Gallery – Amsterdam Holland
  • Dogwood Gallery – Georgia USA
  • Jarrimber Furniture Gallery Western Australia
  • Pigyard Gallery – Wexford Ireland
  • A&A Gallery Subiaco Western Australia


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.
  • 2013 Winner December competition ‘City Sidewalks’ – We paint outdoors (Facebook group)
  • 2014 Winner, Quick Draw – Forgotten coast Invitational Florida.
  • 2014- 2015 Nomination Finalist – Noordwijk Invitational Holland. (2 years in a row)
  • 2014 Appointed ambassador for Michael Harding Finest Quality Oil Paints (London)
    and Rosemary & Co Artist Brushes.
  • 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 Quick Draw



  • Multiplex Living (over 200 paintings for Leighton Beach Development)
  • G’Day USA (artwork now in Australian Consulate-General’s office, New York)
  • Grandridge PTY
  • Delta Petroleum Services
  • The Western Australian Club
  • Vasse Felix ‘Healing Hearts Foundation’ charity auction 2004
  • Sorgiovani Designs
  • Global Private collectors


Advertising and illustrations for:

  • Heineken Classic
  • Hopman Cup
  • Ross North Homes
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Action Supermarkets
  • West Australian Local Government Assoc.
  • City of Swan
  • Healthways
  • Heart Foundation of WA
  • Video Ezy
  • Sambora Beach Toes Australia



  • 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)





Untitled Document