We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Berry and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leslie, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Things that make me happy: Accomplishing/succeeding at something creative; overcoming any of life’s challenges; connecting with nature; connecting with family, friends and like-minded human beings; and the pursuit of lifelong learning. Why: I’m not sure. Perhaps because I place a value on these things. And that I value these things is likely a function of my personality, upbringing, culture, environment.

 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art and what sets me apart: Hmm, this is tough! As a painter in watercolor and more currently, water mixable oil, I confess, I do have a reasonably good talent for sketching and composition. The challenge was always to utilize that ability for other media. I have calligraphy skills, too. Not knowing exactly where/what to focus on in the early years was problematic. I became a graphic artist way back in the day because, with my B.A. in art I simply didn’t know how to make a living otherwise. So fine art was always an adjunct – but still a passion. The challenges. The things that stand in the way: So many things – access, lack of an artistic community- to start. As a college graduate in the ’70’s, well, there was no internet, no computer…zip. For artists back then, I surmised that one would have to have social connections, a network, professional guidance, and for so long I did not have that in my toolkit. At this time in life, I knew who I was – just didn’t know how to get where I wanted to go! Lessons: And the question – was my art a priority or a passion? Well, I see-sawed lifelong on this. People who truly succeed (monetarily for example) prioritize something, I think. I chose to make a living doing something creative, even though the income was, honestly, just workable for the time. Regrets: a few. Advice: Search the heart and mind earnestly and often. Surround yourself with like-minded souls. The world & my story: I do not think my story is especially remarkable, although it is still my story and it is not over. For the world…artists – your story is not over either, no matter your age or circumstance. So get your game on, stay connected, and be mindful everyday.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I took my best college buddy to Tubac, Arizona for lunch and a tour. We had not seen each other for over 30 years, but we had the most amazing re-connect. Lunch was at Tubac Golf Resort. And then…a wonderful meeting/conversation with artist, David Simons at his studio in Tubac. Very recently. My daughter’s viola teacher and her family showed up in Green Valley, Az. I recommended taking a roadtrip up to Mt. Lemmon (near Tucson). She absolutely loved it. The views, the terrain are spectacular. I have done a plein air paint out there. Highly recommended. My favorite 4-star in Tucson, Az is Kingfisher, for a fine dining experience and Haceinda del Sol. For great food, al fresco, casual, the Seis kitchens.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first person who deserves much credit and recognition is my Dad, Derek Currall. Then, Christopher Schink (teacher and author of “Mastering Color and Design in Watercolor”), Wayne Thiebaud (artist and teacher, UC Davis), and David Simons (artist/mentor) of Tubac, Arizona. In the early years an artists’ co-op, Studio 83 (1983-1999) founded by Hiroko Yoshimoto, Ventura, California, was an genuine catalyst for me as an artist. Artist Robert Cervantez and many others served to inspire. More recently, Santa Rita Art League of Green Valley, Az and Tubac Center of the Arts have played a huge role in influencing my current direction and development. Certain individuals deserve credit and thanks: Virginia Vovchuk, Rich and Altie Metcalf, Jan Holland, Betsy Kimbrough, Nanci Sheppard, Nikki Vick, R.N. Styles…and last but not least, my sister, Robin DiMarco, art critique extraordinaire. She is erudite and spares nothing!

Website: www.leslieberryfineart.com
Instagram: www.instagram/leslieb8605