Leo E. Osborne
Leo E. Osborne is no stranger to the wild side of life. Having grown up in the woodlands of coastal Massachusetts, the multi-award-winning artist and writer says nature plays an influential role in his life and frequently shapes his art. “I was always in love with wildlife, even as a child,” says Osborne.
This love of nature brought Osborne to the Pacific Northwest during the ‘90s, when he first visited Guemes Island. “I had this feeling like I was coming home. It just appealed to me greatly. I had already fallen in love…” For the past two decades, he and his wife, Jane Lane, have made their place on the island, reveling in the natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds them.
CREATING AN IMPACT
Osborne, 71, devotes his life to creating art, no matter the medium. A quick trip to his website unveils an impressive resume with honors and awards dating back to 1981. Though he originally began as a painter, Osborne taught himself how to sculpt, wanting an additional method for bringing his artistic visions to life.
To say the least, his artistic range is dynamic. His online gallery displays an array of wood and metal sculptures, often depicting wildlife in its natural state. His paintings make use of vivid colors and evocative imagery, highlighting the mystical elements of our environment.
Osborne has received much acclaim for his sculpting in particular, having won Best Interpretive Bird Carver in the World at The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art’s World Bird Carving Competition in 1989.
“I love working with raw, chaotic pieces of wood,” he says. “Through the chaos, I somehow have found this Zen point that I can reach into and collaborate with.” In this state of solace, Osborne creates artwork that reflects the profound inner dialogues he has with each piece.
At the time of the Valdez Oil Spill in 1989, for example, he had been working on a compelling maple burlwood sculpture of three shorebirds called “Still Not Listening.” In response to the environmental disaster, Osborne decided to have one bird stuck on its back with a wing upstretched, trying to free itself from the merciless black goo. “Finding these little links in nature that I can then interpret and bring into the human mindset becomes a very powerful lesson for me,” Osborne says.
The same sculpture is now featured in a traveling national museum exhibition, “Environmental Impact,” for the second time.
Despite his experience, Osborne actively reinvents his art, choosing to leave behind certain aspects of his work in pursuit of others. “I liken myself to being an explorer,” he says. “I’m an explorer within the world of art.”
With tenacious energy and a limitless supply of wonder, Osborne continues to explore the world through his art, never knowing where it will take him next. In a recent partnership with Village Books, he is working to publish his first written and illustrated book, “The Cat and the Coracle.” It’s expected to hit shelves this fall.
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