Inspired by the natural beauty surrounding the Lower Connecticut River Valley, Leif (pronounced LAYF) Nilsson paints his plein air impressionistic landscape compositions directly from life. Setting up his easel in and around his hometown of Chester, he creates engaging garden, Connecticut River and village paintings that invite the viewer to walk right in. Some of the paintings are completed “ala prima”, meaning all at once, while others may take several sittings at the same time of day to achieve the correct harmonious atmosphere as he observes it. Generally, heavily textured paintings have more layers applied in an effort to represent the scintillating effects of light in nature over a period of time. Nilsson’s brushwork is a result of his dedication to observing nature.
Leif completed a full curriculum of Classical Studies at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT. He enhanced that education with several sojourns to Scandinavia, Asia Minor and Europe where he studied the French 19th and early 20th century painters; Bonnard and Monet for color; Pissarro and Vuillard for composition and Van Gogh for energy.
A successful working artist for over 20 years, Nilsson continues to exhibit his paintings in several galleries throughout the United States, while also promoting his work through his website, and at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery, LLC in Chester where collectors visit him regularly to view and purchase his latest works. He teaches painting to children and adults and gives lectures at high schools, universities, art clubs, and museums.
Nilsson paints outdoors in all types of weather. He will often paint the same place over and over again, trying out different compositions and sizes at various times of day and in all seasons. These paintings often result in a series of works attempting to describe the many moods of nature on a particular subject. Born in Old Lyme, CT he has always had a connection to boats and the estuaries of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound.
The Connecticut River as seen from its’ banks in Chester to Old Lyme offers a wealth of pictorial opportunities for Nilsson to explore. From the hazy dawn of Eustasia Island in Deep River to the quiet harbors of Old Saybrook’s North Cove and from the golden marshes of Chester to the sweeping meadow of Pettipaug in Essex, there’s plenty of material to keep a landscape painter busy yearlong.