My Life-Long Artistic Aspirations
By Gerry Leonard
I guess it all began with painting my senior cords at Purdue in 1966, beginning a gradual realization of the artistic creativity that I inherited from my mother Lillian. Inspired by Picasso, I began with oil on canvas, then acrylics, then Matisse paper cuts, then photography, back to knife-painting abstract landscapes, mineral sculptures, see: https://gleonardartworks50years.shutterfly.com/pictures/70
Since 2018, I have been creating Alligator Juniper Wood Works, using the skills I learned from my father Hiram. Here on Juniper Hill, just south of downtown Prescott, there was a huge alligator juniper in my side-yard , which I thought had a few live branches. But in September of 2018 I discovered that it did not have any live branches; the live ones were growing through it from a nearby alligator! So being fire-wise, I got some saws and started cutting it down.
This alligator juniper, which I named Samson, was 28 feet high and 27 inches in diameter at the base. Later ring counts showed it to be about 400 years old. Many of the upper branches had grown into amazing interesting shapes, and years of weathering added furrows and voids. It has produced scores or sculptures and furniture pieces, with many more to come!