• Stepping Out

Leisa O’Brien - Artist Profile

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Leisa O'Brien is an artist driven to paint with every fibre of her being.

She exaggerates colour and light to add feeling into her paintings and her use of different mediums such as oils, acrylics and watercolours bring out completely different styles, ranging from realism to stylised drawings.

Inspired by our stunning ocean and beaches, Leisa is constantly observing what is actually seen, instead of letting her mind decide what it sees. Her observational nature brings her great joy and allows her to notice beauty in almost anything she looks at.

She encourages her students to become aware of what they actually see too. “When I say to my students, ‘can you see the hint of blue on the side of that face?’, they often say ‘no’, but after I point it out, they do see it. I love that my paintings are an opportunity to allow people to see colours that they may never have noticed otherwise.”

Leisa believes everyone has a creative side and is passionate about teaching and encouraging individuals’ creative abilities. She specialises in simplifying subjects and breaking things down into achievable steps so beginners don’t feel overwhelmed.

A lover of the ocean from a young age, as a teenager she tried to bribe her brother by doing push-ups for permission to use his surfboard. Problem was, she lived in Bundaburg at the time, the land of minimal waves. Now, a surfer who lives on the Gold Coast and has completely fallen in love with the sport, Leisa has spent many years studying the ocean up close and personal and her works’ capture our stunning Coast culture and the oceans movement.

She tells her Surf Art students, “your brain will tell you that water is very difficult to paint because it's clear, moving, reflective etc, but it's really just shape and colour. Just a lot of it and in motion.”

Although being commissioned to paint an amazing variety of subjects such as portraits, pet portraits, seascapes and other landscapes, Leisa acknowledges being an artist can sometimes be a frustrating life. She has been rejected from quite a few galleries with the comment that her work is ‘too decorative’, although saying this, she has never once taken for granted the gift she’s been given.

Leisa is currently finishing off illustrations for a children's book that she has written titled ‘Quirky Kate’, as well as filming and editing videos for her new online art classes. She travels also from Evans Head to Moffat Beach on the Sunny Coast to teach art workshops.

Leisa O'Brien is currently teaching:

Tweed Heads Art Classes

Wednesday night - weekly

Saturday classes - fortnightly


Online Art Classes - $10 per month!

To view Leisa O’Brien’s art go to:

www.leisaoart.com |@leisaobrienartist | #leisaobrienartist | www.bluethumb.com.au

For more information about Leisa O’Brien’s online classes:


To view her T-shirts and fabric designs:


* NB - She is always on the lookout if there is a local business out there with a blank wall!