Lee A. LeVasseur
Lee A. LeVasseur was born April/8/ 1950 in Hartford, Connecticut; the third child of Euclid and Beatrice LeVasseur. He and his two brothers were raised in East Hartford. When he was three years old, LeVasseur watched his grandmother draw a chicken and a pig while he watched in complete amazement. From then on; he was determined to become an artist.
After high school, he continued his education at Southern Connecticut State University located in New Haven, Ct. He graduated in 1973 with a B S Degree in Art Education K – 12. Shortly thereafter he married Evelyn Tucker and had a child Robert. Because he was unable to become teacher after graduation he worked in several factories and made art works at home. After 12 years of marriage she decided to divorce him.
After his divorce, LeVasseur wanted to put an end to his boring factory work and be – as he put it – “I need to be irresponsible and enjoy my life”. “All my factory friends thought I was Wacko for quitting a good job” LeVasseur said.
LeVasseur began to work at establishing connections in the art world he started by winning awards in two international art competitions in New York City and then he began showing his art in local exhibitions such as the Branford Blackstone Memorial Library, Southern Connecticut State University’s John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts in New Haven, New York City and Boston. In only 4 years he became an international fine artist by exhibiting in Paris France, Lisbon Portugal; museum, Jerusalem Israel; museum, Buenos Aires Argentina; museum, Boston Museum and in Bridgeport, Ct. museum.
LeVasseur met Robin Shefts, founder of the Art Portfolio Network in Branford, Ct. and she displayed his work in her gallery. “One of LeVasseur’s outstanding qualities is his devotion to his vision” Shefts remarked. “I admire him because of his perseverance; he is intelligent; he believes in his vision. Art is not just a hobby to LeVasseur – it is his life”.
Over the years LeVasseur has created works of art in oil paint, graphite, colored pencil, gouache paints, all forms of mixed media including sculpture and photographic images that has been digitally manipulated on his computer known as Digital Fine Art.
Organic Surrealism: During his senior year in college LeVasseur’s professor, Howard Fussiner, encouraged him to develop a new technique and new subject matter that LeVasseur would call “Organic Surrealism”. Influenced by the works of such surrealist as Salvatore Dali and Joan Miro; LeVasseur enjoyed Dali’s dream like landscapes and Miro’s organic shapes; he became very interested in surrealism. Because LeVasseur has an intense interest in science fiction, plants and animals his art images became fanciful forms of organic life that originates from his dreams and subconscious thought processes. – LeVasseur talks about Organic Surreslism; “I enjoy all forms of nature, animals and plants. So it makes senses that my surreal images have to with all types of life forms that might be found in the farthest reaches of the galaxy”.
When to say no more: LeVasseur, has to keep his dreaming under control. There are times when he has gotten so thrilled by what he has seen in his dreams he has to wake himself up three or four times during the night. That is tough, but he always has the power to stop himself. He always knows when to shot off his brain and say; No More Tonight. – SLEEP PEACEFULLY
Many for these paintings are what they call sand oil paintings. This technique starts with acid free gesso on the raw canvas and then by mixing thick gesso with sand and applied it over the dried gesso in the places I needed the sand in the painting. A fine example of this is on page 18 “Solar Regeneration”.
I’ve only used fine linseed oil paints, acid free canvas (except for a few paintings) and high quality turpentine as my thinning agent. To create a 3D looking image which appears in many of my paintings; I would mix the shadow color or what I call the darkest shade in a plastic container; then I would put some of this paint in 5 or 6 small plastic containers and add increasing amounts of titanium white oil paint into each container and thin with turpentine until the mixture was thin but still opaque. Next I would number each container 1 through 6 from darkest color to the lightest color. Now at this point, the primed canvas has already my graphite drawing on it. Using a small or medium size watercolor brush I would apply a line of darkest shade of color; then a line of the next lighter color adjacent to the darker shade and so on until I get to the lightest shade of color. Then I would take a dry watercolor brush and smooth each line into the next line; creating a smooth transition of shaded color. [Note: Example above]
Another important element to most all of my oil paintings is the use of the air brush. First: I thin the oil paint with enough turpentine to be used in an air brush and still retain its opaque quality. For example: the painting above has a very flat lamp black outer space look – this created with my air brush. You will not find any brush stroke marks in the outer space because of use of the air brush. Next: notice the bright titanium white sun on the right side of this painting; it was created by masking out a round circle and air brushing it lightly several times to cover the deep rich blackness of space. Then I remove the mask and use the air brush paint lightly in a circular motion around the sun creating a luminous ore in space.