Jennifer Leon

Jennifer Leon is an artist who lives and works in her hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico. She has been exploring the mesas and canyons of the Pajarito Plateau and the mountains that border it ever since she was a kid and is sustained by her connection to the natural world.

Although Jennifer loved drawing as a child and devoted many hours to it, she found herself in a scientific community where it did not occur to her that the arts could be a vocation. After a brief foray to Colorado to study math and science, Jennifer returned to New Mexico, earning a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe in 1991.

Jennifer worked as a field biologist, a ski racing coach, a snow cat driver, raced road bikes at the national level, and worked as a technical writer at Los Alamos National Laboratory before finding her way back to the arts. The seed heads of native grasses caught her attention. “They were so beautiful and so different from one another - Indian Rice Grass, Piney Seed drop, Little Bluestem. Somehow noticing that made me want to draw again,” she remembers. She enrolled in a drawing class at UNM in Los Alamos and felt like she was getting back to something important.

Jennifer went on to study painting, drawing, color theory, design, and art history at the School of Arts and Design at the Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe NM. After five years, she met and began studying with Felix Voltsinger, who studied painting, drawing, and art conservation for thirteen years at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he earned a master’s degree in art conservation. They worked together for seven years. While developing her painting and drawing skills, she worked as a laborer and carpenter on construction crew. She is as adept with a hammer, saw, pick, and shovel as she is with a brush, and brings a scrappy, unpretentious voice to the fine arts.

Jennifer paints in oils and draws in graphite and colored pencil, focusing on still lifes and landscapes. She works from observation, memory, and imagination. Working from observation is mesmerizing: the harder she looks, the more she sees; the universe seems to open in these moments and she can disappear into its beauty endlessly. Her work becomes a visual meditation on whatever is in front of her. It is this sense of wonder that she hopes to convey to viewers of her work.

Exhibitions and Awards
2018 Honorable Mention, Main Competition Oil / Acrylic
Red Rocks Arts Festival, A Plein Air Festival celebrating land inspired art
Moab, UT
2018 Invited Artist
16th Annual Denver Chalk Art Festival
2018 Featured Artist
Los Alamos Science Fest Secundino Sandoval Chalk Walk
Los Alamos, NM
2018 Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
Los Alamos Plein Air Festival
Los Alamos, NM
2018 Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Summer Show
Eula Mai Edwards Museum and Gallery
Clovis Community College, Clovis, NM
2017 2nd Prize, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
Spring Painting Festival and Show,
Jemez Springs, NM
2017 The Colored Pencil Society of America
25th Annual International Juried Exhibition
The Mansion at Strathmore,
Bethesda, MD
2017 Red Rocks Arts Festival, A Plein Air Festival celebrating land inspired art
Moab, UT
2017 Wild and Scenic Rivers Plein Air Festival,
Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, Questa, NM
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve,
Mosca, CO
Part of a year long group show in the Visitor Center Exhibition Space,
June 2016 - June 2017.
2016 “Conspirators”, a two person exhibit
Mesa Public Library Upstairs Gallery, Los Alamos, NM
2016 Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
8th Annual National Juried Members' Exhibition
Sorrel Sky Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2016 Colored Pencil Society of America,
24th Annual International Juried Exhibition
The American Art Company, Tacoma, WA
2013 Cheyenne Depot Museum Rail Art Show
Juried Exhibition
Cheyenne, WY


Jennifer Being Grounded