The Lester Family brought the Lester Family Circus to ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh last Saturday. From left are Ashley Lester, Kate Bourgeois, Elliot Daugherty and Amanda Lester. Missing: Courtney Lester.
Photo by Shaun Kittle.
Ashley’s medium of choice is painting, and her imagery is more direct that Daugherty’s.
“What got me into paintings was World War II propaganda,” Ashley said. “There is this look to them, with the images and the colors they used, that fascinates me.”
The colors in her paintings reflect that inspiration, but instead of patriotism and propaganda, Ashley’s paintings focus more on subjects in her life.
Some of her newer pieces incorporate collage work into the images.
Ashley said she usually has an image in mind when she starts painting, but her twin sister, Amanda, works in a different way.
“I don’t want things to look exact, it’s more of an emotional experience than anything,” Amanda said. “It always comes out completely different from what I think.
The emotional aspect of Amanda’s work seems to run deep—so deep, in fact, that she can’t bring herself to sell any of her pieces, making the Lester Family Circus II a rare opportunity for the public to view them.
Amanda’s images range from an abstract row of birch trees to people.
There are no rules when she paints, as long as she feels a connection to the work.
“I like to feel that connection, to feel the paint,” Amanda said. “Sometimes I use my hands. Some of the paintings have a lot more paint on some of them. Those were painted during more emotional times.”
The third, and youngest, Lester sister is Courtney, whose painting “The Criminal” won Best in Show at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts’ High and Middle School Exhibition in March.
“The Criminal” is currently on display at ROTA, along with about 10 of her other paintings.
Being part of the Lester Family is encouraging to her, and helps inspire her to keep making art.
“It’s pretty welcoming having other artists in the family,” Courtney said. “We’re always encouraging each other.”