Artist bio

Leah Probst is a Toronto based realist artist specializing in painting and drawing the representation of everyday subjects including food, animals and people. She loves the challenge of a portrait; the constant pursuit of resemblance. Her objective is to represent her subject within various contexts of contemporary society. Exploring and discovering new possibilities and techniques in drawing and painting, she creates work that builds on the traditional practices of portraiture. By doing so, this enables her to create work that is both visually intriguing and uniquely her own. Probst believes a truly well done portrait should not only demonstrate the likeness of object but more importantly, it should capture the spirit, personality and the true character of the subject.





Artist Statement

Throughout our lives we learn to read the subtle shifts that cross a face and communicate deep messages without words. By glancing into someone’s eyes we are able to read whether they are happy, sad, troubled or calm. The ability to capture the momentary shift of emotion that crosses a face and is vital, without this, the portrait would simply be pigment on paper.
In her work, Convict, Leah Probst used techniques she learned from past pastel drawings regarding tone, depth and texture. This work examines emotion- the relationship between the colours and composition creates a mood, that goes well beyond what the eye can see. Probst’s choice to draw on textured paper captures the texture of the skin of her subject as the fragments of pastel fall into the groves of the paper creating human essence. The highly contrasting lighting on the face implies the texture of human skin and reveals depth in the features. In Convict, Probst creates readable emotion in the man’s eyes so the viewer questions the man’s story from the look on his face. As the viewer changes so does the dialogue, each taking something different from the experience. Like most artists these days, Probst prefers to work from brief sketches and photographs. For this piece, she chose to work from a photographic series of convicted men. This particular photo spoke to her as it portraying great emotion. Drawing from photographs allows her to move beyond the momentary still image that the photograph presents. Through form and colour, reworking the representation of emotion. She invites the viewer to participate in the life of the subject by introducing a temporal element to the image.

How it fits into contest

"The greatest battle every human being will fight is not for country, not against illness, not for a crown. It is Spiritual Warfare."


Leah Probst - Artist.

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