Sperryville column for July 3

Davette’s vibrant works

Davette Leonard is an artistic Rappahannock jewel. Her work is stunning and visually powerful. Her soft brushes and palettes — used like a knight’s sword — deftly carve out bold and vibrant oil paintings, still lifes and portraiture, including custom pet portraits. Her educational pedigree includes Mary Washington, Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and the Corcoran in D.C.

Artist Davette Leonard.
Artist Davette Leonard.

Davette is a vivacious woman whose creative calling began early on as a child. Her dad was a technical illustrator — drawing, with engineering precision, all sorts of equipment for journals and publications.

As a young teenager, Davette experienced some challenges and says that “art saved my life. Art provided me with much needed self-esteem, confidence and allowed me to feel good about being able to do something well.” While she teaches all ages, it’s no surprise that she’s especially drawn to teaching youth. She knows, she says, “the importance art plays in one’s ability to self express and to provide a vehicle where self-esteem is nourished.”

She grew up in New York and was exposed, she says, “to the New York early-’70s scene.” She had a voracious artistic appetite, and spent her days attending art galleries and shows from SOHO to the tony Upper East Side. During this time, she met and studied under Chuck Close, the famed photorealist known for his massive scale portraits. Under him, Davette learned to create pixelated forms from a grid technique — which she passes on to her students today.

One of Davette’s custom pet portraits.
One of Davette’s custom pet portraits.

She teaches at Belle Meade and Hearthstone schools and the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center in Charlottesville. Her works are shown at numerous galleries, including the McGuffey Art Center and The Berkley Gallery in Charlottesville, as well as the Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour.

She also offers private lessons.

Beginning in early July, Davette will offer classes covering oil painting and drawing using graphite, pens, conte, charcoal and pastel. She can be reached at Davette.leonard@gmail.com or 540-987-8917 for more information  about upcoming class schedules.

She will also have a table at tomorrow’s Fourth of July celebration at Thornton Hill with lovely works for sale.

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Chris Green
About Chris Green 130 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at chrisdoxzen@gmail.com.