About Lesley Charnock

After completing 4 years of fine art at the Cape Technical College in Cape Town, Lesley began her career in art as a children’s book illustrator and teacher. Drawing on ideas developed by Betty Edwards in her book, ‘Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain,’ Lesley’s methods and engaging style of teaching produced rapid, and often breath-taking results.

In the ’80s, after doing a two-year drawing and oil painting course with Ryno Swart at the Ruth Prowse School of Art, Lesley opened her own art school in a cottage attached to her Victorian home in Rondebosch. Her classes were quickly filled and over the next eight years she hired several teachers to work alongside her. At that time, Lesley’s work was being displayed and sold in galleries in Cape Town, Franschhoek and Clarence.

Then in 2004, the Lesley Charnock Gallery and Studio was opened under the historic trees at the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands. Sixteen years later, Lesley can still be found there on most days, painting and chatting with the local and international visitors who come to view and buy her beautiful and distinctly South African work.

During the winter months, Lesley runs popular workshops in her Studio at Montebello, and en Plein air courses from her Studio in Betty’s Bay and in nearby Cape villages. More recently, and by popular demand, Lesley has developed a series of online workshops for those students who would rather learn to paint in the comfort of their own homes.

Her warm and perceptive manner, combined with her vast experience and technical mastery, has made her a sought-after speaker at Art Societies and exhibition openings, and she is regularly invited to do portrait demos in front of live audiences. Lesley has also been featured in both the Art Times and South African Artist Magazine.

Lesley has had two opportunities in the last 7 years to spend time at la Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris where she enrolled in life drawing classes at the Academy of the Grande Chaumier and painted en plein air along the Seine and on the streets of Paris. Despite her prolific career and decades of teaching experience, Lesley still considers herself a student of the arts.

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