Acrylic and watercolor

Through a Hidden Opening

This painting was part of my 2021 solo show, Palace of Nowhere at J Rinehart Gallery in Seattle, WA. The inspiration for the show came from the experience of being lost in the North Cascades mountains among dense fog and rain. Unknowingly, we had turned around 180 degrees from where we thought we were. 
Not able to see much of anything, we were in that point of nothingness in the midst of being as described by mystic Thomas Merton. And once we stopped seeking, we found our way. 
In this painting, the fullness of abstracted mountains and limitless dense waters recall for me those moments, not of being lost, but being found and discovering union within the void.
The white lines, sometimes window-like, create a sense of destination but also of detachment. The Palace of Nowhere is there to find, but we must first lose ourselves in the seeking.


Lesley Frenz

I was born and raised in coastal North Florida and received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Florida where I studied Art History and Painting. An avid hiker and backpacker, I find inspiration in wild places and my current practice is centered around the exploration of the intersectionality between the spiritual and earthbound in the form of abstracted landscape paintings. I live with my husband in Mount Vernon, Washington, a small town nestled in the Skagit Valley between the North Cascades mountains and the Salish Sea.

Lesley Frenz

describes their creative process

My process begins outside. On a trail, pack on my back, boots on my feet. It is where my journey quite literally begins. I hike often, snapping photos and taking watercolor or ink sketches along the way. When I get back into the studio, I may quickly glance at those references, but usually, I simply begin painting. Each painting begins as a simple painted sketch, worked into over and over until a scene begins to appear. That scene will change and shift over time as I strive to give way my control of the composition, instead letting the wilderness appear before me. As the composition takes shape, it may remind me of a certain place– the Olympic wilderness, the Lost Coast of California, the North Cascades, the Northern Rockies. But I strive to keep the space loose and abstracted enough for the viewer to be able to find themselves in their own version of wilderness.