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Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson

  • 20130409211506-kirsty_o_leary_in_amidst
  • 20130411142754-kirsty_o_leary_the_space_between_us_small
  • 20130414162454-stealingthelightfromthesun_iic
  • 20130414163101-melancholy_strings_1
  • 20130414163244-melancholy_strings_triptych
  • 20130509085722-thelightonthedarksideofme
  • 20130509085919-thelightonthedarkssideofmeleftdetail
  • 20130509090106-thelightonthedarksideofmerightdetail
  • 20130509090245-the_space_you_left_behind
  • 20130509090532-all_at_sea
  • 20130509090859-leavingmeb
  • 20130509091110-into_the_woods_sml
  • 20130921165922-stealingthelightfromthesun_iic
  • 20140227140647-song5
  • 20140722112922-a_brief_crack_of_light
  • 20140722113154-in_amidst_o_leary
  • 20140722113507-kiss_sunlight



Birth year

Lives in
Plumstead, UK

Works in
Plumstead, UK


Norwich University of the Arts, 2011, 1st

traditional, landscape, realism, drawing on gesso, Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson, drawing of the sea, ocean, waves, forest, trees, woods, leaves, branches, silhouette of trees


Having originally trained as an illustrator I returned to Art college in 2009 to study Fine Art. Graduating with a First Class degree in 2011 from Norwich University of the Arts. Since then I have exhibited across the Uk, have been a finalist in the International Saatchi Drawing Showdown, and featured in series 2 of the BBC 2 Programme 'Show Me the Monet'.

My work is underpinned by the phrase “Landscape is a portrait of the soul”

I explore the spaces we exist in, both physical and psychological. Using the landscape which surrounds me as a metaphor for my inner life of imagination and emotion. 

Drawing dominates my practice at present as the media most compliments and mirrors my subject matter, which is expressing facets of our existence. 

Drawing records the unfolding of an event, not the fixed reality of an object. It is a dialogue between our thoughts and our experience of the real; it has always been aligned with thinking and ideas and has as much to do with reflection as with observation.

The fragmentary nature of the images reflects that although we live a linear existence, what we currently experience is altered by memories and expectations, our present being created by these absent moments.



2011 Norwich University College of the Arts                               
        BA Hons Contemporary Fine Art: 1st Class              

1992 Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design    
        HND, Graphic Design: Illustration                                     


2015  The Mall Galleries, London
           Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize

Swindon Museum and Gallery
          Heirs to Turner

Waterfront Gallery, Ipswich
          Places and Landscapes

Huddersfield Art Gallery
          21st Century British Painting

Ipswich Art School Gallery
          @Paint Britain

The Forum, Norwich
           NCAS 14

2013  The Mall Galleries, London SW1

            The Royal Society of Marine Artists

            Espacio Gallery, London
            Natural Selection

           The Coningsby Gallery, London, W1
           After The Monet         

                    The Hobart Gallery, Blickling Hall, Nr Aylsham
            State Of The Art

            Quad, Derby

2012  The Forum, Norwich
          NCA 12 

         Cambridge Artworks, Cambridge
           Cambridge Artworks Open

         Savorr, Norwich
         Savorr vii

         The Mall Galleries, London
         Show Me The Monet Exhibition

         The Nicholson Gallery, Gresham's , Holt
         Contemporary Drawing, Solo Exhibition

         The Norwich Playhouse, Norwich
         Solo Exhibition

         Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, London
         Landsapes Past and Present

         The Assembly House, Norwich
         Contemporary Drawing, Solo Exhibition

2011 The Rocket House, Cromer
        Greyfriars Art Space, Kings Lynn
         Facing Hard Times    (commendation received for Gathering Storm) 
         Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society, The Forum, Norwich
         Elements: Material Worlds      
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   2010 Stew Gallery, Norwich   
        Shades of Grey       
        Stew Gallery, Norwich
        Nicholson Gallery, Holt, Norfolk      
        Print and New Media
        Unit 5 Gallery, Norwich

2009 NUCA Gallery, Norwich
        Impulse Response  


East Contemporary Art: University Campus Suffolk

21ST Century British Art: Swindon Art Gallery 

British Art: Madison Museum of Fine Art, USA

21St Century British Painting: Priseman-Seabrook Collection

International Collaborative Portfolio ‘Market
Limited edition prints: Kissing Celluloid                                                               


2011  The Forum
         Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society: Material Worlds
Artist's Talks
2011  Norwich University College of the Arts
         Resource Room Administrator 
2010  Norwich University College of the Arts   


2013  Juried winner for drawing in Artslant's Prize Showcase
2011  Finalist in the Saatchi Drawing Showdown
2009  Shortlisted for the John Riches Award for Drawing     
         Norwich University College of the Arts       


2012  Scope Magazine    


2012   Artist of the Month-March:  Visual Art Trader
          Artwork of the Month-April: Visual Art Trader


2012 -2013  Part time Art Teacher Sheringham High School

2014 Langham Primary School

2014 Expressive Drawing Day: Aldborough Art Group

2013 Drawing Workshops, Scole Primary School

2013 Adult Art Taster Day' YMCA Norwich

2012 Drawing Workshop KS 2, N. Walsham Junior School

2012 Artist in Residence for Arts Week, Cromer Junior  school  

2010 Art workshops, Corpusty Primary School

2009 Green Man clay workshop, Corpusty Primary School



2014 – 2015 Creator and Chairperson of 'Drawn Together'Arts Group. Free Art workshops providing creative, stimulating and inclusive opportunites for communities.


Appearance on BBC 2's Show Me The Monet:

Artist Blog:

Film: Vessel



World Wildlife Fund
Conran Octupus Publishers
Marshall Pickering
Souvenir Press
Pandora (Harper Collins)

Recent Exhibits

Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson participated in these exhibits:

Nov, 2014 Contemporary British Painting
Huddersfield Art Gallery, UK
May, 2013 Natural Selection
Espacio Gallery

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