In the Studio with Lesley Haflich
By Carolyn Martens
A well-known regional artist, Lesley Haflich displays her vibrant and energetic oil paintings at the new CCA Gallery in the Carmel Arts District. You can also find her work in the Hilbert Theater at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, her Nickel Plate Arts studio in Noblesville, and even on souvenirs at Conner Prairie.
Why oil painting?
“I love oil painting because it can be so luscious to look at with its rich colors, textures, and luminescence. It’s a very diverse and experimental medium– you can thin it down with mineral spirits and brush on in a transparent wash, or use a palette knife to spread it on thickly, like icing on a cake. People ask me what my style is and I say it is schizophrenic. I am in the middle of a painting identity crisis. Well not exactly a crisis, but definitely an adventure. The journey started about 10 years ago when my twins went off to school full time. I stared at piles of laundry and thought, ‘Now what am I going to do with my life?’ Over the years, I’ve experimented with portraits, landscapes, still lifes, street scenes, and nostalgic themes. I’ve gone from impressionistic to art nouveau to even a little bit abstract.”
What do you like best about being involved in the arts community?
“Working alongside other studio artists has inspired me to stretch my boundaries and I just like being around people. All in all I would say that painting has really helped me connect with both nature and people and to step out of my comfort zone. I challenge myself to create fresh, appealing paintings on a regular basis. I try to paint positive, colorful images that are not only “my interpretation” of the world, but that I hope will also ‘speak’ to the viewer as they ponder them.”
How long have you been painting?
“I grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Purdue with a Fine Art degree in 1978. My first job was as a graphic artist in advertising and later I worked as a sign and display designer. I became a juried member of the Hamilton County Artists’ Association and started getting involved in exhibiting, taking workshops, and painting on a regular basis with others who are connected with the world in a similar way, through visual arts. About five years ago, some of those members encouraged me to join CCA Gallery which just moved from Zionsville to the heart of the Carmel Arts and Design District, 111 W. Main Street.”
What pieces do people like best?
“People have especially enjoyed my paintings of places that bring back special memories for them like the Riviera Club, my grade school- P.S. 84, and the historic Hamilton County Courthouse. And pet portraits for gifts (especially for men who can be so hard to buy for!).”
If your art was music, what would it sound like?
“As my son said to me, ‘Mom I finally figured out what kind of music I like and it’s called Indie Rock.’ I would like to think of my paintings as Indie Paintings, a little bit of everything.”
Find her work at lesleyhaflichartist.com