Join a wonderful mix of artist-illustrators for the opening night of ‘Grow’ 9×5 Exhibition on the 6th December 2019 at The Victoria Artists Society. Come celebrate 30 years of creativity, meet and greet other artists and discover what it means to ‘Grow’. All works will be 9 x 5 inches on wooden panels, paying homage to the Heidelberg School’s famous paintings on little wooden cigar boxes.

Included in the exhibition is Leni Kae’s illustration “Bloom Goes the Heart”, which will be digitally printed to wood as part of the exhibition.

The illustration print will be available for sale during the exhibition.

Opening night:
The Victorian Artists Society 

430 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002
6 pm to 9 pm on Friday 6th December 2019
Light refreshments provided.

Exhibition runs:
6th – 16th December

10 am – 4 pm weekdays 
1 pm – 4 pm weekends during exhibitions

Posted on November 12, 2019

Leni Kae’s artwork “The Evolution of Blue: 6 days to Sunday” is a finalist in the Georges River Art Prize, 2019.

This 6-piece artwork series is an abstract representation of the physical landscape, mirroring the emotional landscape of healing from emotional hardship. The colour transition depicts the journey of healing from ‘being blue’ to lighter emotions reflected by lighter colours towards Sunday; ‘the day of light’, marking a new beginning.

The artwork is painted with watercolour on 300gsm paper, total dimensions approximately 95cm x 60cm, and will be available for sale for the duration of the exhibition.

Exhibition Dates and Opening Hours

Saturday 26 October 2019 – Thursday 30 January 2020.

Hurstville Museum & Gallery:14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am – 4.00pm Sunday: 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Posted on September 20, 2019

I recently completed the illustrations for ‘Year of the Dragon’; a children’s book aimed at young readers, telling the story of Holocaust survivor Ilse Charny.

It proved a challenging but beautiful journey as an illustrator, to convey such an emotional story with whimsical illustration. It was the vision of writer Nicky Gluch to apply whimsy and symbolism rather than historically accurate illustration; softening the harshness of the truth for young readers.

Illustrative Symbolism

For my illustrative concept process, Nicky’s words (based on Ilse Charny’s testimony) and understanding of the emotion behind the main character’s experiences were pivotal in bringing about my initial concept visions.

Ilse’s and the Toy Boat

The very first illustration was of a girl sitting on flowers, holding a toy boat. She sits on a bed of flowers that symbolise happiness and the comfort currently surrounding her and her life; the boat symbolic of her journey to come. The flowers and flowing bow on her dress become a constant symbol in the book – of joy, or the lack of joy from Ilse’s life. In small moments of happiness you will see the presence of flowers, and the bow on her dress is floating and full.

Ilse Peeling Potatoes

There was a part of the story in which Ilse is sad and frustrated to be made to peel potatoes all day, and I immediately saw in my mind a picture of a young girl sitting on top of a large pile of potatoes. For children, emotions are still hard to navigate, so I felt that capturing emotion through exaggerated visuals was of high importance to show how Ilse felt. Maintaining symbolism of the bow and flowers, we see a sunflower crushed beneath the potatoes, and her bow is limp and without life to reflect her feelings and experience.

Alice in Wonderland Inspiration

The story of Alice in Wonderland also played a major inspiration to me; the idea of a little girl, lost in a land that she must learn to navigate and understand. The illustration showing Ilse lost in languages, is a prime example of this idea. Carrying on the bow symbolism, her bow is tangled to symbolise her own tangled emotions.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s challenges also lead to strength, discovery, and sometimes even small pockets of joy or adventure. I saw elements of this in Ilse’s journey and these pockets of joy became vital for me to capture as part of her emotional survival journey. The idea of finding joy in small moments, adventure in new friendships, and Ilse’s excitement in discovery of the arts felt like an important emotional story to convey. In fact, it felt like a powerful life lesson in emotional resilience to all of us. The illustrated dance scene is hence such a meaningful part of the story to me, and I know it also became a favourite of Nicky’s.

Dragon Symbolism

It was Nicky who suggested the idea of the Dragon as a symbol of the evil that existed, and as a metaphor or symbol for the soldiers. In my illustrations, I carried this concept on throughout the story as a symbol of Ilse’s experiences, but also Ilse’s emotions too. I transition from a fire-breathing dragon (German soldiers) to a less fearful dragon, and finally a beautiful Chinese dragon. Author Nicky Gluch had discovered a beautiful tie-in with Ilse being born in the Year of the Dragon, so I represented Ilse’s freedom at the end of the book by showing her riding a dragon; free and in control of her destiny.

Cover Illustration

It was lovely to have the opportunity to present one of my illustrations in colour for the cover. I created a new artwork concept for this piece. The illustration in essence ties the story together by bringing illustrative elements from various parts of the story into one piece. Ilse is shown sitting below a tree, reading; she is essentially reflecting on her own story. Surrounding her, and coming out of the book, are illustrative segments from different illustrations in ‘Year of the Dragon’ to hint at the story to come.

In the image above you will see the original hand painted illustration, then on the right is the designer’s adapted version to create a more vintage feel to further the concept of a historical tale being told.

Illustration Time Lapse

Share the Story

Keeping these stories alive to educate the next generation is so important.
Whether you are a parent or teacher at a primary school, I’d strongly suggest sharing stories like this with your children.

Please get in touch with Sydney Jewish Museum for more information.

Posted on September 7, 2019

The Sydney Jewish Museum is proud to launch Year of the Dragon, authored by Nicky Gluch and illustrated by Leni Kae; a story written for the younger reader based on the story of Holocaust survivor Ilse Charny.

Ilse escaped from Vienna with her family to Shanghai during World War II. She bases Year of the Dragon on her life as a child in the Shanghai ghetto. As a child, Ilse first perceived the Nazis as dragons, and then the Japanese as dragons–and Ilse herself was born in the Chinese year of the dragon.

Nicky Gluch and Ilse will both speak about the story and the process of writing Year of the Dragon.

Wednesday 4 September
2.30pm | FREE

Sydney Jewish Museum
148 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst, NSW
Australia 2010
+61 2 9360 7999

This is a free event but bookings are essential.

Posted on August 12, 2019

Sydney artist Leni Kae’s work ‘Find Me In a Field of Peonies’ has been selected for the 2019 Kennedy Prize Foundation’s Choice exhibition.

Each year the Kennedy Arts Foundation members invite an entrant to exhibit their artwork in an exhibition at the Kennedy Prize. This year the theme of the prize and exhibition was ‘Beauty’. Leni Kae’s entry artwork , a red toned abstract landscape painting, symbolizes walking through flower fields. Emotionally, it represents walking through memories of romance and romantic beginnings.

2019 Kennedy Prize Exhibition Launch:
Fri 30th August at 7pm

Royal South Australian Society of Arts, Level One, corner North Terrace & Kintore Avenue, Adelaide SA

Posted on August 11, 2019

Leni Kae’s artwork ‘Winter Walk Along Bushrangers Bay’ will be exhibited in Southern Buoy Studios’ inaugural 2019 Mornington Peninsula Landscape Exhibition.

The exhibition is in celebration of Mornington Peninsula scenery; with a prize awarded to the best landscape/ seascape painting.

Winter Walk Along Bushrangers Bay is painted in watercolour, acrylic paint and oil pastel on canvas (76cm x 61cm). In her work, Kae uses line work to express the energetic connection between nature and the elements; whilst also examining the connection between nature and the human emotional landscape. The artwork will be available for sale for the duration of the exhibition

OPENING NIGHT | Mornington Peninsula Landscape Exhibition
31 August Opening Night (ticketed event). Winner will be announced on opening night.

Ticket Information coming soon

Posted on August 10, 2019

Leni Kae’s self-portrait, “The Artist Bare: Unfinished, Untold” is a finalist in the Dean Cogle Portrait Prize 2019. The artwork is a 37cm x 45cm acrylic painting on canvas, with canvas and paper collage elements.

The artist says of the artwork:

There is something about motherhood that has forced a self-confrontation. So much changes, it feels like starting over. There is also a mass of paradoxical emotions. There is joy for new life, yet grief for the life that can no longer be lived. There is the rediscovery of the self and your own strength, yet feelings of loss during a period of self-transformation as you say goodbye to your old self. Throughout it all, I felt stripped bare, and like I’m building a new ‘self’ again. In this painting, I have painted myself as bare; unfinished. The loose, stuck on canvas parts represent the untold story to come. Beneath the front layers, I have applied paper over my chest across the canvas, symbolising the small part of me I keep to myself; the part of me that I cannot lose, and the passion that I must guard. ” – Leni Kae

The Dean Cogle Portrait Prize features a $5,000 first prize, and will be on exhibition at Currumbin’s Dust Temple.

Exhibitions Dates: 03-Aug-2019 to 04-Sep-2019
Monday to Friday 6.30am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday 7am – 1pm

Posted on July 22, 2019

Leni Kae’s artwork ‘Find Me Dreaming by the River’ is a finalist in the Foot Square Small Pieces Art Prize 2019, showing at Aspire Gallery. The painting is a watercolour and acrylic mixed media artwork on stretched canvas, 25.5cm x 25.5cm.

In this painting, Sydney artist Leni Kae explores the emotional awakening that happens through the still of night and dream; drawing a connection to the physical landscape. Flowing paint represents subconscious release of emotion. The forest represents exploration. The mountains represent the attainment of resolution and truth that comes with dream.

The 2019 ‘Foot Square’ Competition will be held at Aspire Gallery, QLD. The artwork will be for sale for the duration of the exhibition, also available online in Leni Kae’s online shop >.

Aspire Gallery
53 Kennedy Terrace, Paddington, Qld

Exhibition Dates:

17 July – 27 July 2019, Wednesday – Saturday, 10:30am – 4:30pm

Awards Night: Saturday 20 July, 4:30 – 6:30pm

Posted on July 10, 2019

Sydney artist Leni Kae is a finalist in the Du Reitz Art Awards 2019 (2D award) with her artwork “The Ways I Feel When You Call My Name”; a 9-piece watercolour series on 300gsm paper.

The piece is an abstract representation of the landscape and how it mirrors the emotional landscape of the self. Each piece reflects on a different kind of love and how each plays a part in our growth and healing; romantic love, friendship, love for a child, self-love, passionate love, family, mature love, love reborn from random connections.

The fluidity and abstract river represent emotional outpour and a ‘break’ in the emotional self that seeks healing. The flowing patterns of leaf forms symbolise growth and renewal, with each leaf reaching out to the next; highlighting the human need for growth and connection.

The artwork will be available for sale for the duration of the exhibition. Enquiries welcome.

Art Awards Exhibition viewing | 24 July – 23 August 2019

The Gympie Regional Gallery is located at 39 Nash Street, Gympie and open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

Posted on July 3, 2019

Leni Kae’s artwork “Immersion in Blue” has been chosen as a finalist in the Lethbridge 20000 Small Scale Art Award, 2019.

‘Immersion in Blue’ 50x50cm by Leni Kae has been inspired by a poem by the artist:

“I could drown in the space where dreams live

The space where truth comes alive

Watch me soak it all in until life doesn’t matter

And rise again with new vigour”

– Leni Kae, Sydney Artist, Writer

This year, due to the high number of quality entries there will be two exhibitions across both Brisbane based Lethbridge galleries. The award will be presented in the Paddington Gallery, where Leni Kae’s artwork will be exhibited.

The opening of the exhibition and the announcement of the winners will take place:
6pm Saturday June 29
Lethbridge Gallery Paddington
136 Latrobe Terrace,
Paddington, 4064

Posted on June 5, 2019
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