Lesley Birch is a painter and printmaker. Her evocative abstract works stem from memories and sketches of Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall and Yorkshire where she currently lives.
Born in Glasgow in 1958, Birch gained her MA in English Literature and Music at the University of Glasgow, before becoming a professional musician. She began exploring her interest in printmaking and painting in 2000 whilst teaching English Literature in Cambridge.
“My paintings come from my personal experiences of places. I sketch and make small studies outside, before building up layers of paint back in the studio. There, I work from my memory and imagination, where I’m as concerned with the quality of the paint as I am with my subject. I aim to convey the ‘feel’ of a place – the movement of air around me, the abstraction of shapes and the sounds. The fact that certain combinations of colours, certain marks and movements can convey an atmosphere – that is the joy of painting for me – that exciting moment when materiality and emotion meet.”
After moving to Yorkshire, she won a ‘highly commended’ in the Harrogate Open (2007) and held her first solo show, Land & Sky, at the Yorkshire Dales Centre (2008). Birch’s work has been exhibited widely, at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Cork Street Open and ING Discerning Eye at the Mall Galleries. Her work is also held in the Royal Marsden Hospital Collection. In 2016, Birch won the UK Artist Magazine Award and The Clairefontaine Award. She is a member of Leeds Fine Artists and the Society of Scottish Artists. Birch is a founding member of PICA Studios in York, where she now lives and works.