LEE BEISING - Using paint to capture animals and people

Our PBAA featured artist for March is Lee Beising, someone who went from painting to photography and back to painting—especially animals and people.

"The first drawings I remember doing as a very young child, were of people or animals. I don’t remember ever drawing a house or tree or even flowers, unless a teacher required it," reports Lee


But, as an adult, Lee's art interests gradually broadened to include everything imaginable, though now she seems to be once again concentrating more on the subjects of her first love, especially their faces.

Back when Lee first moved to California, she says that she became very involved with art, taking painting and life drawing classes at San Jose State and elsewhere. "I was painting strictly with oils then, and loved it. It seemed I could mix any color I wanted to achieve without even thinking about it," says Lee.

She adds that what she enjoyed about oils was the simplicity and the ease of making changes. She tells it this way: "I remember taking a class in watercolors once and disliked it so much I never finished the first assignment. With oils, I simply jumped in and painted. Watercolor was incredibly slow to start and regardless of which colors I chose to mix, the result was some shade of brown—what a pain."

But, like her life, that changed later on, especially after marriage, kids, job, and a move to Walnut Creek. And, during most of her "in-between years," Lee worked with animals at a wildlife rescue organization, feeding and training raptors, and teaching school children about California native wildlife, a reflection of her childhood interest in animals and art.

Then more change: After a move to Crescent City, Lee traded her paint brushes for a camera and was not even drawing. Or, as she says, "I wasn’t even sure I still could (draw), because the few times I tried sketching, I seemed to spend more time applying the eraser end of the pencil than the lead. It just didn’t seem worth the time."

Then, fourteen years ago, Lee says that by a crazy twist of fate, she met Garretta Lamore, was introduced to the Harbor Gallery and its other artists, and started to paint again—but, ironically, this time almost exclusively with watercolors, a wonderful example of never say never.

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Pelican Bay Arts Association at Manley Art Center & Gallery   *