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Leonard Aitken – Artist.

This is a gallery of the paintings, drawings, mixed media artworks, music and stories  of visual artist Leonard Aitken. Most of the paintings in this gallery are for sale.

Feel free to ring me on H: (02) 5698 5284 or M: 0450 492 504 or email me (go to contact page) for offers or questions.

Limited edition prints are available on request.

Commission work is available. I am willing to paint anything you would like – just describe what you want. (Portraits, flowers, landscapes, a favourite ornament, etc)

The paintings explore such genres as:

  • botanical and floral
  • landscape
  • seascape
  • surrealism or fantasy
  • conceptual art
  • spiritual or Christian art.

Leonard Aitken: My work.

I mostly paint with oil on canvas. I also use pastel, ink and mixed media.
Light plays a key role in most of my works. Backlighting adds drama and fragility to flowers, leaves, foliage, mountains, forests, jungles and the ocean.

The surreal works use bright colour and high contrasts. They play with the two dimensional space. They are inspired by dreams and subconscious improvisation.  A quirky, sometimes wacky sense of humour dominates some.
The conceptual and spiritual paintings are a new avenue of exploration for me. My music is too.
I have been writing stories since a child, painting for about 40 years and animating for about 15 years.

Leonard Aitken – News.

I’ve just been given the nod for a portion of a gift shop wall in a dolphin conservation park. Hopefully I will also be doing a mural there in the near future. Presently I’m painting a lot of marine paintings and surreal works.</p&gt;

© 2012 Leonard Aitken. All Rights Reserved

Leonard Aitken – Australian Artist

Leonard Aitken is an australian artist and has been painting for 30 years. He prefers to paint realistic and surrealistic works. The natural world around him is his first inspiration, but most of his work is transformed by a prodigious imagination. His output is prolific and doesn’t confine itself just to painting but also music (composing, playing piano), writing (stories, poetry), film and animation.

Leonard discovered he could paint at the age of 15, but it wasn’t until the age of 32 that he decided to get serious and enter university. Consequently, in 1995 he completed a Bachelor of Arts (visual arts) at Charles Sturt University, (Wagga Wagga), which he passed with distinction. Since then, he has completed a Diploma of Education and has taught art at schools, Tafe, various adult education institutions and at home. However, creating art is his first love.

Leonard Aitken: What drives me.

“I ‘m effervescent and lively and can’t cope with just doing one thing all the time. I need to constantly experiment, use different mediums and explore different genres.” Usually he has about 20 paintings “in progress” at once, while simultaneously working on various musical, writing and animation projects. His paintings are built up in many layers of stains and glazes. The floral and landscape paintings tend to concentrate on the properties of light and colour and have a calm beauty despite their brightness and vivid detail. Some of his more “whimsical” paintings have been described as resembling “animation stills”; and his animations as having the quality of “paintings come to life”.

“The main concepts I explore are light, colour and space. Playing with light and the way it interacts with space is an important feature of my abstract and surreal works. My use of high keyed colour is more of a personal decision which I may deviate from in the near future.

Leonard Aitken: Botanical Paintings

“My botanical paintings are quite intimate. I love insects, the details of leaves, little droplets of water and the peaceful solitude of a small nook in a garden. Light plays an important role in these works. All life comes from light. I especially love backlighting. This shows up, the veins in leaves, the shadows of insects and other leaves or flowers showing through the main motif. It also creates a separation of the general shapes and tones of the foreground and background features. Therefore, the often soft-focus background suggests their is more in this scene than just the main motif. Hence, these works are a microcosm of the bountiful world within which they live.

These works are painted carefully and lovingly in many layers. Consequently, they have the ability to absorb the light with which they are illuminated.”

Leonard Aitken: Surrealist Paintings

“My surrealist works are wild and varied. Many are poetic representations of ideas or feelings which I have imagined or experienced. Others are based on dreams. Some of these works are just confections and closer to the realm of fantasy. Still others are purely improvised. These works begin with nothing more than the desire to paint. The paint goes on at random and the image grows and evolves. Often the concepts of these works evolve out of the process of painting.

The use of space in my surrealist works is often ambiguous. Forms or areas of paint shimmer, moving backwards and forwards within the implied three dimensional plane of the painted surface. These shifting perspectives are like those moments of transformation within dreams where reality changes to unreality, or where scenes or meanings alter suddenly. The titles of these pieces are usually poetic and invite the viewer to observe the painting from their own perspective.”

Leonard Aitken: Spiritual/Conceptual

“My spiritual paintings stem from a strong belief in God.  Each day I feel that His influence is permeating my work more and more. I believe my work is slowly changing into the way “He” sees the world. It is difficult for me to separate the spiritual and the conceptual since all the concepts which lead me through life are related to spirituality. What is the meaning of life? How do we communicate with god? What is the nature of truth, joy, peace, beauty and love? These are some of the ideas I hope to explore in the near future. I also like to explore more secular concepts. Currently I am challenging myself with a series of paintings exploring and commenting on the different genres, styles and mediums employed in art. I enjoy incorporating humour into these and also many of my surrealist works.”

Leonard Aitken: Landscape/Marine

“All artists are just mere imitators of the great creator. At best we can only modify and stylize what has already been thought of and created. The multiplicity of techniques needed to represent the – solid ‘permanence’ of mountains and rock, the immutable fleeting nature of clouds, the variety of shapes, sizes, colours and characters of trees (this one is the most difficult) or the fragility of a blade of grass – is endless.

Painting Landscape and Marine Paintings.

Somehow the landscape artist is expected to fuse the leaden majesty of the land, with the vast emptiness of the sky. Light is crucial. It should unify these two opposing elements. It plays a critical part in all my landscapes. Likewise, light is paramount in the creation of a successful seascape. My marine paintings are always dominated by movement and light. The paint needs to be applied quickly to impart the sensation of movement in a marine painting. Waves, splashes and reflections all need to be treated as they are – momentary. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different palettes with my marine work – some tend towards photorealism – others to a more highly exaggerated colour scheme.”

Leonard Aitken: EXHIBITIONS


Two Worlds

A shared exhibition with Violetta Lanza at the National Cartoon Gallery of works playing with the use of the three dimensional space of a two dimensional plane. (May – July 2023)

The professional Centre

A constantly changing exhibition of works of all kinds. (2015 to the present)

Dolphin Marine Magic

A small collection of marine flavoured works (2020 to the present)

Medical Centre Exhibition

An exhibition of mixed paintings held at the Coffs Harbour Medical Centre (October 2010 – present)

The Federal Hotel

Exhibition of mixed paintings held at the Federal Hotel in Bellingen (April – May, 2012)

Club Coffs

An exhibition of mixed paintings held at Club Coffs April 2012.

Roads to Eternity

A collection of works depicting ideas relating to the concept of eternity.

Open Studio 14th – 28th, October, 2011

Paintings in this ongoing exhibition are due to be changed in late 2011.

Extempore (2010) Quasi – surrealist works. (Open Studio)

Open Studio

Part of a three man surrealist show at Open Studio, Coffs Harbour. (December, 2009)

Jetty Theatre Exhibition

An exhibition of mixed paintings held at the Jetty Theatre. (Feb. 2008)

Now and Then

An exhibition of paintings inspired by natural forms – in conjunction with Sandra Finn and friends. Liminal Space Gallery, Coffs Harbour (November, 2007)
Natural Response

Exhibition of paintings interpreting various aspects of nature
Bunker Cartoon Gallery (April 2007)


An exhibition of paintings and animation based on images and ideas inspired by the Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens (Exhibition room) (December 2006)

Living Light

An exhibition of paintings exploring the various qualities of light in nature and other subjects
101 Bellingen (July 2004)

Confection, Invention, Creation

An exhibition of paintings, drawing, animations, etc exploring the various themes surrounding different types of creation
Wagga Wagga Community Art Gallery and Deniliquin Peppin Heritage Centre
May and September 2000


An evolving exhibition involving drawing, painting, sculpture, found objects and animation
Wagga Wagga Community Library, (July 1997)

Group. (Continuing – present)

Tide and Pilot.

An exhibition of marine paintings held in the Tide and Pilot restaurant near to the Coffs Harbour Jetty.

(1990 – 2007) Various competitions and group exhibitions (Wagga Wagga, Deniliquin, Campbelltown, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Sydney, Port Macquarie

(1993 – 1995) Various drawing, painting, installation exhibitions at H.R. Gallop Gallery (Wagga Wagga)

Electronic Art (1993-5) An annual exhibition involving installations, animations, performances, conceptual works, etc. (Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga)

Leonard Aitken: Prizes/Awards 

While I have continued to paint for the last 15 years I have not been entering prizes during this time.

2008: Winner of the $5,000 Local Government Area Prize at the second EMSLA award for Still Life at Coffs Harbour Regional Art Gallery.

2007: Finalist in the EMSLA award .Coffs Harbour

2004: Sawtell art Show. 1st prize open section

2004: Sawtell art Show. 1st prize in oil/acrylic section

2004: Winner of the More Property prize at Salute to the Arts (Coffs Harbour)

2004: Finalist – Country Energy.

Prizes for works other than paintings

2002: First prize in animation section in “Open Slather Film Festival”

2000: Deniliquin Community/Business Awards. Art/Culture Award.

1999: Deniliquin Art Exhibition: 1st prize in Sculpture section.

1995: Wagga Wagga Quota Art Competition. Oils section and the Encouragement Award

1994: H.R. Gallop Perpetual Award for best overall result in first year visual arts (Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga)

1993: Oil prize at Deniliquin Art Exhibition.

Leonard Aitken: Education

(2012 – ) Master of Arts (Honours) Charles Sturt University. Wagga Wagga. The production of a dissertation about a specified topic of the student’s choice. 

(2010 – 2011) Master of Arts Charles Sturt University. Wagga Wagga. The production of a body of works about ideas relating to the concept of eternity. (Passed with Distinction.)

(2005) Bachelor of Education. Southern Cross University. Various skills related to teaching art at secondary schools.

(2004) Website Design Tafe (Coffs Harbour) Various skills involved in the creation of websites.

(2003) Multimedia Tafe (Coffs Harbour) Learned all aspects of multi-media (eg: Photoshop, Flash, Authorware, Premier, etc.

(1993-5) Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) (Passed with Distinction) Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga)

Course included painting, drawing, video, photography, animation, multi-media, etc.

Smaller courses

(1992) Screenprinting Deniliquin Included hand cut and photographic screenprinting techniques.

(1988) Short Story Writing and Freelance journalism Tafe (external) (Two separate courses)

(1980 – 81) Visual Communication Sydney College of the Arts Course covered: design principles, combining words/images, packaging principles, film and T.V.

© 2012 Leonard Aitken. All Rights Reserved</p>