"As a child I was entranced by tiny worlds which flourished in the back yard, realms of bees with their royal families, worm-like caterpillars who sprouted fairy wings and took flight, the heroic odysseys of the birds who reappeared in the spring. Immersed
 in fairy tales and myth I gave these creature human traits. Years later these early fascinations with narrative, myth and wonderment reappeared in my painting.
Delight is sufficient reason to proceed, and so I have."

Photography by C.Whitney-Ward

And what a delight it was for me to step into Lea's wonderful studio - three rooms filled with a retrospective of her romantic, ethereal work. The first room is her working studio where there are paintings and drawings in progress.

The back room is her gallery.

And upstairs is an inviting lounge and a collection of her earlier work.

"I create allegorical/metaphysical portraits, " explains Lea. "My work includes insect and bird headpieces and some sort of ecological theme worked into the millinery touches - what a butterfly
or bird eats, for example." 

Q U E S T I O N S ?

Q.  If you could be one of your paintings which one?

A. I would be the Homage to the Common Bird - either the woman or the birds.

Q.  If you could choose any building in the world to be your canvas, which one?

 A. Two years ago I lived in Paris for a few months - the Montmartre district - and I was drawn to the water tower just behind the Sacre'-Coeur Basilica. I would paint the queen bees court in the honeycomb on the facade and all the bounty that bees pollinate - fruits vegetables and flowers.

Q.  What's themes will be next for you?

A.  Mammals, a more textured element.  I like puns, so perhaps a ' Foxie Series'.



TWO DAZZLING STARS OF THE OPERA WORLD - mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack & tenor Alek Shrader were the guests of honor at an elegant fundraising dinner for the ARIZONA OPERA, held at the gorgeous Santa Fe home of Debbie and Jim Quirk - residents of both Santa Fe and Tucson. 

The Arizona Opera League in Tuscon has been doing these Opera Feasts for the past several years - always themed and presented 2-3 weeks prior to the operas performed each season. But last year they brought their fundraising FEAST to Santa Fe along with a wonderful group of Arizona opera enthusiasts who took in several Santa Fe operas and attended the dinner. It was a hit, so the AZO decided to do it again!

T H E   S T A G E   W A S   S E T

When the guests arrived the tables were set...drinks and hors'doeuvres were served on the back patio...and there was a lot of opera chat...

Before dinner, guests  were treated to a private performance by the beautiful   Daniela Mack - who starred in the SFO's new production of CARMEN - and husband Alex Shrader who played Ernesto in Donezetti's Don Pasquale. Last year  Bel Canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who played Umberto in Rossini's LA DONNA DEL LAGO at the Santa Fe Opera, was the honored guest. 

AZO General Director Ryan Taylor welcomed everyone to the special  benefit evening and graciously introduced the guests of honor.

It was thrilling sitting just 'inches' away from these two extraordinary talents who appear larger than life on stage, but are warm, engaging and thoroughly down-to-earth.  And, they stayed for dinner.

T H E  D I N N E R

Our chef for the evening - Jean Cooper - is the past president of the Arizona Opera League and has been creating these amazing fundraising dinners for the past several years. To say that she is organized is an understatement. Everything for the dinner was ferried from Tuscon to Santa Fe - ingredients, dinnerware, glasses - and Jean took over the Quirk's kitchen preparing the five-course feast.

A wonderful AZO volunteer!

T H E   G U E S T S

Many, many happy faces.

Allen  Perriello - Head of Music Staff AZO  (rt.)