Lee MacLeod in his Santa Fe Studio

How did you develop your unique style?
Lee Macleod: If asked how I developed my unique style, my initial response would be that the answer is complicated. I was an illustrator for over 30 years with a very realistic style. My art sometimes approached photo realism and when not, it was still a highly rendered painting. Strangely enough within the world of realistic illustration, it was still possible to have a recognizable style. I was big on working with intense color and reflected light. When I moved into fine art, those tendencies came with me. What changed was my desire to create paintings that flirted with realism but incorporated paint strokes and allowed process to show in the finish. It was not that easy for me. Consequently, I studied the work of artists that did this successfully and was lucky enough to have great teachers such as Dave Ballew and Bill Gallen. While my work does not look like theirs, they influenced me profoundly and I seem to have found a style that incorporates my color sensibilities, love of realism, with enough brush work and stylization to make the process obvious.

To see more of Lee’s work, visit:

oil painting of bright blue sky with large, luminous clouds; farmland in foreground
Lee Macleod, “Abiquiu Drama,” oil on board, 18 x 16 in., 2023
oil painting of landscape with trees in foreground and background; small hills in middle ground; large shadow casting on painting
Lee Macleod, “Shadow Snow,” oil on board, 9 x 12 in., 2022


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