Artist Leah Thiessen Rejection Chronicles

Artist Leah Thiessen on the RC

I am excited to bring this next artist to you because I think her work is luscious. Abstraction is guilty pleasure for me and I love looking round trying to find something that resonates both stylistically and aesthetically. In a field that is saturated with so much work that all looks the same it is always a delight to find work that sets itself apart. Australian, award winning artist Leah Thiessen’s work does just that-at least for me.

Rhizophora Oil and graphite on canvas 180cm x 180cm Image courtesy

Her work is vibrant and full of motion that challenged the viewer to really pay attention-to attempt to see what is happening or to make sense of what they are seeing.  There is a syncopated rhythm to the line work that creates a disjointed choreography that draws me in and I can return to her work again and again and always find it different.  I also love her use of color-it is strong but delicate and sensual at the same time.

As always, one of the foundations of the RC is to reach out to artists whose work I admire and would enjoy sitting down over a cup of coffee in the studio to hear their story.  I was thrilled when Leah agreed to participate and I hope you can inspiration from here experiences!

What is your favorite drink to unwind with? (it can be anything)

I love a glass of red wine to unwind……but I wouldn’t say no to a Baileys as well.

What book/books are you reading now and why?

I have just finished reading the book ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent. I saw an interview with the young author on Australian story and was absolutely astonished at the way this novel came together. Kent travelled to Iceland to unravel a intriguing historical murder mystery. While writing the book she encounters an endless stream of synchronicities and vivid insights. The book is brilliantly written capturing the harshness of nineteenth -century Iceland. As an artist I am always seduced by vivid descriptions of a countries starkness and extreme weather. It’s a book that is both tragic and beautifully powerful.


If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

I probably would be an architect if I wasn’t an artist. It’s like living in an amazing life size sculpture. I love the way a space can influence your mood.


Oil on Canvas 120cm x 120cm Image Courtesy Leah Thiessen
Oil on Canvas
120cm x 120cm
Image Courtesy Leah Thiessen

What is something about yourself that people don’t know?

I love the colour orange.  I believe in complimenting others.


Who/what is a major influence on your work that people might not realize?

My mother is a major influence on my work. Mum was a successful artist and she taught me that a woman can be a strong, expressive creative soul.  As a child I used to sit in her studio soaking in everything like a sponge. My mother’s belief in me as an artist is a powerful force in my life.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about art criticism?

My biggest peeve about art criticism is that “it really is only one person’s opinion”.  I paint in abstraction and my art practice is not about pleasing the masses.  There will always be people that dislike my work. I seek art criticism from artists that I respect and admire.


What has been your most memorable rejection?

I have had many rejections from art shows, etc. Life is funny. Rejections and successes sometime sit side by side. I don’t get as affected by rejection anymore as I know there will always be other opportunities ahead.


Has rejection changed how you thought about your work or changed your direction in any way?

Rejection has been the main catalyst for pushing forward. It hasn’t changed my direction or belief; rather it has reinforced my passion for my work and helped drive me to better myself as an artist. It has forced me to prioritize and focus firstly on my artwork; as I believe that if my artwork is my priority, the other things will follow.


Can rejection be a positive thing?

Yes I believe rejection can be a positive force. It was because of rejection in the early years that lead me to reassess my artwork and how serious I was about it. I decided to go to uni, where I was challenged as an artist. It was here that I finally stepped into myself!


What advice would you offer to other artist’s, or folks in general, about rejection?

I think the advice I would give to another artist is – ‘Focus on the art first, always challenge yourself and know that you will develop with time. The rejections will eventually shift to successes’.

Tweet:  ‘Focus on the art first, always challenge yourself and know that you will develop with time. The rejections will eventually shift to successes’ Leah Thiessen(tweet this quote!)



Thank you Leah!

To see more of Leah’s work visit her site at

Is there an artist you would love to see here at the RC?  I would love to hear from you and always enjoy meeting and chatting with new artists about their experiences.

Have some great insights on being an artist and how to handle the career ups and downs/ins and outs?  Let me know-I would love to share them with my readers!

Keep working and see you next time!



%d bloggers like this: