Leslie Nolan paints in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Her work has been in the collection of the American Embassy in Luanda, Angola and exhibited in London, U.K. A Virginia-based artist, Nolan exhibits primarily in the Washington, DC area, and also appears in international and national juried shows.  

Retired from the U.S. Department of State, Leslie has traveled and worked abroad, absorbing cultural influences from around the globe. Her painting style has evolved into personal, contemporary imagery as she explores emotional themes through dynamic figures and landscapes, conveying the energy and spirit of modern life by using pattern and intense color and line. Nolan is in Who's Who of American Women and holds membership in the Washington Project for the Arts. She was a founding member of MAX21, a contemporary art cooperative in Reston, Virginia.


My approach to artwork involves depicting what is felt, rather than what is seen. Fascinated by the complexities of ordinary peopletheir courage, resilience, fear and confusionI respond to the feelings behind the facade. I reveal these vulnerabilities and strengths by interpreting facial and body language using vibrant color and expressive brush strokes.

Because I spent another career keeping secrets abroad, my current interest is to express in painting universal feelings which remain largely hidden in real life. Many of us cloak ourselves behind a veneer of success and confidence despite situations in our lives which wreak havoc with our emotions. In my artworks, we peek into the individual’s inner world as economic, political and social realities swirl around him or her.

I like the paintings to suggest controlled chaos, as if something important has just happened. I imagine the individual as reacting to money or job-related issues, loneliness, semi-stable environments, familial concerns, or some other life-changing event. Whatever the cause or situation, each artwork tries to depict the fragility of life. Filled with ambiguity, the paintings invite the viewer to make a personal interpretation.