Impressionism is like the blues; it's so basic that it touches you profoundly.

My Castle
My Castle  by Leonard Wren

The subjects in Leonard Wren's paintings - village lanes, ordered gardens, bright riots of wildflowers - lead you to believe that the Tulsa, Oklahoma painter spends most of his time peacefully surveying idyllic, nonexistent places. But in fact, it's the everyday world that provides Wren with inspiration.

As Wren unpacks his oils, neatly stowed in a French easel, he repeats the ritual that has remained constant during the 20 years he has been a painter: he always works outside and directly from life. His wooden case is outfitted with wheels, the better to move it through airports, and his backpack is loaded and worn. One thing it doesn't hold is a camera. "Photography has ruined a lot of fine paintings," he says. "If you want the truth, you have to go straight to the outdoors."

After setting up his easel, Wren works energetically, blocking out the composition with oils. His brush stroke moves quickly from one part of the painting to another, keeping up what he terms a "constant dialogue" between artist and subject. The result is a painting full of color and the joy of life - in essence a reflection of the artist himself.

"I have painted plein air [outdoors] in the classic French Impressionist tradition for 20 years," Wren explains. "It is an honest and naive approach that deals with the natural harmonies and rhythms of nature. Today's society is very complex. The diversities of social, political, and aesthetic opinions will always be matters for spirited debates and I choose not to engage these issues in my work. My energies are focused on those things that lift my spirit. I admit being a hopeless romantic, endlessly idealizing, and searching for beauty. It is not my intention to have any profound intellectual content in my work, for it is the simple moments of joy, comfort and truth that are my goals. Sharing joy is what it's all about."

Wren refers to himself as an "American Impressionist." He considers the style's accessibility and popularity a plus. "Impressionism is like the blues," Wren says. "It's so basic that it touches you profoundly."

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La Cour du Village
La Cour du Village  by Leonard Wren

House in Burgundy
House in Burgundy  by Leonard Wren

Doorway in Valbonne
Doorway in Valbonne  by Leonard Wren

Brasserie  by Leonard Wren

Cafe de Provence
Cafe de Provence  by Leonard Wren

Le Chateau
Le Chateau by Leonard Wren

Cafe Aix-En-Provence
Cafe Aix-En-Provence   by Leonard Wren

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