Visual Jazz of Lenny Lepola

Artist and Leda sketchbook fan Lenny from Ohio sent us these loose figures. He reports that he keeps a Large Leda beside his bed, one on his desk and "always one in my car."

Lenny makes ideating paintings and sculptures and sometimes creates large finished watercolor sketches. In his email to us he said that the paper of the Leda is perfect for his sketching style which he calls "visual Jazz."

Visual Jazz by Lenny Lepola

Two figures by Lenny Lepola

Three figures by Lenny Lepola

Visual Jazz by Lenny Lepola

On the street by Lenny Lepola

Lenny Shares his Thoughts about Drawing and the Visual Arts

As for paper weight, I do a lot of larger drawings on heavier paper - 200 to 300 GSM. Recently started two, one is 24X40 landscape orientation on Fabriano, the other is 22X30 portrait orientation on Arches. As I go up in paper size I prefer to increase weight. 

All of my drawings are strictly graphite and erasure. When I begin a drawing I work it until it tells me it’s finished. I resolve every drawing that I start, even though they look very loose, quick, and casual. Same with paintings and sculpture. I don’t do much finished sculpture because of space and time; painting is slow – again, space and time. 

Everything I do is simple and direct. I come from a Finnish background – third generation, still 100 percent Finnish blood. Lepola is a Finnish word that means a quiet place. I grew up around old-country people and their simple design tastes still influence my work – and my entire life. 

Most of my time is consumed by earning a living as a journalist – I shoot sports, cover government and schools, and write feature articles as an independent contractor for two local newspapers (The Sunbury News and The Delaware Gazette). Photography takes up the lions share of my time – my photographs can be found online and on Facebook at Big Nut News

I manage to draw at least an hour at the start of each day, sometimes a bit more late at night. My degrees are a BFA in Sculpture and an MA in Studio Painting (both from Kent State University) - I have a second Masters in Historic Preservation (Ball State) with a focus on photo-documentation of historic sites and structures. I consider journalism a starving-artist job; my studio work has always been my primary interest. 

I never studied photography because I grew up with cameras. My father was a steelworker with a side portrait business. When I was young and learning the basics he would hand me his 4X5 Graflex and give me just one shot a day, then make me print full negative. He told me that living with one shot a day and full negative would force me to open my eyes and learn how to see. I’ve taught photography to middle and high school age students and college level drawing classes and it amazes me how in today’s world with so much visual content thrown at us, visual literacy is a rare phenomenon – even among art and photography students.

About: Goodnews for Artists is an educational blog dedicated to spreading the word about better ways to sketch. Images here are for educational and journalistic purposes. 

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