Denver Bar Association
September 2013
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Denver Lawyers' Arts & Literature Contest: Painting Winner Leslie Matthews(Oil/Acrylic/Mixed Media), "Esalen"


EsalenLeslie Matthews



eslie Matthews loves abstract painting because it uses a completely different part of her brain than she uses at work every day. She is the managing partner of Matthews & Matthews P.C., a family law firm in Denver. She has a divorce coaching and mediation practice, in addition to managing the firm, working with people’s divorce and child custody issues every day. Painting is like a meditation for her.

When Matthews decides to paint she starts by letting go of all her day-to-day concerns. She goes out to her studio (converted from an old one-car garage) and begins to slow down her thinking about all the issues on her plate. Just being with all the acrylic paints and the canvas provides something that helps Matthews move out of her head and get some access to her heart and to the present moment. That is when she begins to paint.

She never knows exactly what an abstract painting will look like when she begins—she lets it unfold as she goes and the only thing she has to decide is when it is complete, which she decides based on how she feels rather than what she thinks.

For Matthews, painting is all about large canvases full of color. When she does use form, she generally takes it from nature. "Esalen" is loosely based on a smooth rounded rock that she found on the beach at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif. This grey rock had a white pattern running across it that is similar to what you see in the painting.

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