When art imitates snowboarding.

stuart leonard, stu leonard



“To me snowboarding is just a very pure form of expression. You strap in and that’s it… everything just melts away
Snowboarding has shaped Stu Leonard’s life. Like many of us he found something in snowboarding that he has not been able to let go. That feeling is difficult to put into words. Only a snowboarder, skier or mountain lover will ever know that feeling. Somehow Stu is able to transcend the emotions that snowboarding inspires into his artwork. His paintings are striking in their colour and movement, forcing you to remember a moment of pure joy you got one day when snowboarding. Somehow you are able to escape back to that place, back to the mountains. We caught up with Stu to ask him a few questions about his work, his snowboarding and what inspires him to paint the way he does.

Snowboard art, snowboard painting
Ridge Peak
snowboard art, snowboarding painting, snowboard painting, stu leonard., stu leonard art
Tree Runs

Stu you are an incredible artist, when did you start painting and how did you transition to the work you do now?

That’s really nice of you to say so, thanks! I used to draw and paint when I was young, did the whole art college thing and worked in the print industry for years. I’ve only really taken it up again over the past 5 years or so, painting for fun and escapism. I paint what I love and what interests me. That’s pretty much snowboarding and other board sports. It’s the lifestyle and creativity that gets my juices going.

On a whole I paint in acrylics on canvas. It’s a medium I’ve grown fond of, it’s versatile and if I cock a bit up, you just paint over it! With time I’ve found different ways of using it to describe what’s in my head. The ‘idea’ I have for a piece, the ‘vision’ if you like, sometimes it’s watered right down. I get all drippy and use lots of washes, recently I’ve been using it quite thick, playing with pollyfiller and no-nails of late. They can give great textures when worked into layers and painted.

“Any surfer, skater, snowboarder or skier knows it. It’s the act, the moment of just doing I guess.”

Snowboard art, Snowboard painting,

You paint incredible mountain scenes and snowboarders – what is it about snowboarding and the mountains that you love to paint?

To me snowboarding is just a very pure form of expression, you strap in and that’s it… everything just melts away. It’s kinda strange to talk about but any surfer, skater, snowboarder or skier knows it. It’s the act, the moment of just doing I guess. It can be very spiritual too. I’ve had some amazing days on the hill where I’ve cried tears of joy walking back at the end of the day, thank goodness for goggles! As for mountains, well they are just magnificent, inspirational places to be aren’t they? Mountains and the sea for me are just the best places.

snowboard art, snowboard painting, snowboarding art, stu leonard

There is a theme of escapism throughout your work, what do you think people feel after seeing your art?

You noticed the escapism thing then? I’d like to think my work evokes feelings and memories of doing those things, of being in that moment, being that person in the painting. Those are the feelings and memories that I have, that come back to me when I paint. Ultimately if people just like my stuff I’m stoked. If it gets them out riding again, even better.

How important is colour to you and how do you chose your palettes?

Colour is hugely important, it helps describe the time of the season. For me, if it’s deep winter, it’s greys and purples. If there are blues and yellows then it will be more of a spring shred. The thing for me is trying to get some warmth in there, I think that comes through the hues and tones of colour.

Stu Leonard, stu leonard art, snowboard painting
Skate Distortia
snowboard art, snowboard painting, snowboarding painting, snowboarding art, stu leonard
Salute The Sun

Can you tell us about your favourite piece of work, what inspired it and how did you create it.

Sure. I do have a few favourites but I’d say ‘Light Chaser’. It was created with two things in mind: cruising some piste and sunshine. Like getting to the park or having some good runs on a morning when it’s a little warmer and the sun’s breaking through and all you wanna do is get to the sunny part.

To be honest I struggled with it (Light Chaser) for a while then I picked up the palette knives and repainted the sky, mixing the paint with a heavy sculpting gel. The same went for the snow. I used brushes to blend and get that sense of speed. The whole thing came together in a day and it’s the piece I’m most asked about. Not bad considering I felt like putting my foot through it, but perseverance is a great thing. It can be frustrating at times but I have fun painting and that’s the main thing.

Snowboard art, snowboard painting, stu leonard, stu leonard art
Light Chaser

You get commissioned to do a lot of work, how is it to part with a piece of work that you have been creating, do you ever really bond with a piece that it’s hard to let go?

Yeah I’m kinda lucky I guess. Commissions are great because you’re creating something personal for that person, though sometimes they can be a challenge. I do tend to bond with a piece while doing it but with commissions I don’t mind letting it go. I remember being told at art college not to get attached. It’s easier said than done sometimes. You do get attached to some pieces, it’s only natural so it can be a little harder to see them go. It is a buzz seeing them be ‘re-homed’ though. Like a good powder turn.

What advice would you give to other artists wanting to get their work out there and make a living from art?

I’d say ‘do it’ have fun with it. Practice, make mistakes, you will improve. Facebook has been great for me. Having a page has enabled me to reach people all over the place. Though making a living, well I’d be grateful to do it as a living. It’s a dream that I’m focused on.

stu leonard, snowboard art, snowboard painting, snowboard, snowboarding
Dropping the Dream Forrest

Make sure you check out Stu’s Facebook page to see all his latest work.

it is a beautiful thing to have these snowboard visions interrupt the monotony of your Facebook news feed. It makes me smile every time.

If you would like to contact Stu for a commission or there is a piece that you loved from this article or his Facebook page, you can email him here .

Yew – Get Creative!

Snowboard inspired art, snowboard painting, stu leonard, stu leonard art,
Hike Blue
Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream. I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here