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"Welcome To Lelija's Aspen Grove"
Review of “Spring is in the Air” Exhibition by Artist, Lelija (Roy) James Ratliff Gallery, Sedona, AZ May 3-18, 2013
“My greatest moments of peace are when I’m surrounded by the natural world, far away from man-made pavement. I create this artwork as portable aspen grove.”
Lelija’s Aspen S P A C E S are original brilliant works, large and small, for viewers who themselves have not, or cannot, explore on their own. Lelija confides: “The best way to experience an aspen grove is to wander inside one. The entire aspen is a single living organism. The roots of the aspens in a grove are all interconnected.”
The artist reverently continues, “When you walk in a grove, you are in the embrace of that grove.” And that’s exactly where this Denver-based artist spends much of her time, that is, when she’s not in her studio creating seasonal aspen magic on canvas by combining up to twenty layers of acrylic paint, hand-painted fabrics and rice papers, glass beads, lace, silk and marble dust until the colors and textures are just right. The finished piece merges color as texture and texture as color.
Lelija beckons gallery visitors to take a walk with her on the wild side. For this exhibit, visitors came from Canada, Colorado, and a several-hour drive from Mesa, Arizona. Many came in response to the artist’s interview with Arizona Horizon’s PBS broadcast of ArtBeat with Host, Ted Simons, http://www.azpbs.org/
Lelija’s ease of communication and genuine response to Simons’ questions intrigued a Mesa couple to such an extent they decided to add Lelija’s opening to their planned Sedona road trip.
Lelija is a committed advocate not only for the aspens but also for the environment, raw land and open space. These sensibilities are a condition for environmental consideration. Lelija’s art is her personal instrument for the cultivation of environmental advocacy among the world’s publics. One of her paintings, “Bull Dog Creek” (part of a series painted for a Hidden Gems Wilderness Foundation event) will soon travel to its new home in Rhode Island. Long-time tri-state collectors of art from the James Ratliff Gallery recognized the complement Lelija’s painting would be to their Narragansett home.
Lelija’s large-scale work, “Remember That Day”, occasioned a Sedona opera singer to commission a smaller work on the same theme. Several James Ratliff Gallery collectors found it difficult to choose among the 20-some blues, greens, gold and orange blazes of canvas. Contrasted with sculptured gemological, rugged mountainous surfaces, cascading waterfalls or mirrored crystalline waters, Lelija’s artwork drew oohs and aahs from the more than 60 attendees, several of whom promised to return over the weekend.
The curious speculated that a smaller, horizontal canvas unobtrusively displayed must be related to Lake Powell. In actual fact, “Early Launch” offers a composite of view from the water’s edge at Lee’s Ferry, the setting off point for the famed Colorado River rafting trips. According to Lelija, “This canyon painting captures the moment when you realize your raft is now part of the river. For the first time you can focus on your journey, knowing that the river will carry you around the cliffs that currently block your view.”
For this artist the appeal of canyons is not the water or the rocks. Lelija explains, “This painting draws you into the space carved by millions of years of water and wind.. . a space that changes every day and that continues to change. . . . a space that opens the heart of the earth.”
During her Sedona stay, Lelija will be building on her memory trove for work on future Canyon S P A C E S: “Landscapes Observed, Remembered and Imagined”.
In the May, 2013 issue of Southwest Art, Lelija comments: “The theme of my work is anticipating change, be that seasonal change or sunrise-into-
The public is invited to enjoy Lelija’s featured exhibition at James Ratliff Gallery through May 18.
Roy concludes: “Enjoy my art, then, I hope you’ll be inspired to go experience the wilderness on your own!”
Exhibit: James Ratliff Gallery; 928-282-1404;
Sustainability Advocacy Artist: Lelija Roy: ph. 303-319-3307;