My work explores the complexity of nature through intimate paintings and drawings. My process involves many hours of observation from life, which allows me to witness the dynamic energy of my living subject - whether it be an element of the landscape or a human. In my studio practice, I choose not to work from photographic references, instead relying on the life studies I have. With these, I am able to recall the multi-sensory and emotional experience that occurred while I was with my subject. In this way, my studio paintings are informed by memory, imagination, and the details I was able to capture in pencil and paint while on location. I embrace the limitations of this process as a way to elevate my work beyond the simple act of observation.
Born in Vermont, 1981, Emilie Lee lives and works in New York City and teaches at the Grand Central Atelier. After earning a degree in illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, she spent four years pursuing the life of a nomadic rock climber and exploring the wilderness areas of the American West. During this time her writing, artwork, and animation were featured in numerous outdoor industry publications. Lee yearned to express herself with the fluency and skill she saw in old master paintings and this desire led her to discover the emerging world of academic painting. She moved to New York where she spent four years studying with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier. She is also a senior fellow at the Hudson River Fellowship and a member of the Salmagundi Club. Today she uses her artistic practice to explore her passion for the outdoors by traveling to remote environments and painting in nature.