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Sandy painter's art displayed at Sandy Library

Leslie Cheney-Parr's watercolors begin as sketches from abroad


Artist Leslie Cheney-Parr's work is inspired by her travels. She comes home with dozens of images that capture landscapes.

While traveling, instead of pausing a moment to snap a photograph, Cheney-Parr pauses for nearly an hour to sketch what she wants to remember.

Her studio is filled with sketchbooks that she has filled with images from around the world.

Cheney-Parr is a multimedia artist with a focus on watercolor painting, drawing and printmaking. She lives in Sandy with her husband.

She received her degrees, including a master of fine art, from the University of California at Berkeley.

Having taught lessons for adults for more than 30 years and as an art instructor at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham for 10 years, Cheney-Parr retired in 2007 to spend time traveling and painting.

“It’s nice to be able to paint and not teach,” Cheney-Parr said before explaining she doesn’t paint to be paid, although her paintings do have to pay for themselves.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Cheney-Parr depicts landscapes from California and Oregon as well as from her travels around the world, mostly throughout Europe.

When she moved to Oregon in 1994, Cheney-Parr spent some time sketching the state’s historic homes. “I can draw, I like architecture and I like history, so it works,” Cheney-Parr said.

Her large watercolor pieces, done in her home studio, are the result of her long hours spent sketching in front of landscapes she finds beautiful. “It’s a lovely piece of expression to take with you,” she said. “It means more than any photograph.”

While Cheney-Parr said she does take photographs occasionally, she prefers to sketch. She describes the difference as similar to reading a book versus seeing a movie.

Although she used to focus on realism in her work, she said, she has gotten away from it over the years. A departure from realism allows her to play with softer and brighter colors of her choosing she finds suitable for landscapes.

Many of Cheney-Parr’s ideas usually end up as large watercolors that can take up to six months to complete. But that’s not all she does. She also works on monotypes, smaller pieces that are done by painting a fiberglass tile, then covering it with damp paper to transfer the image.

She said she enjoys monotyping because of the difference in time investment — monotypes may take a week or two to complete, and she often works at multiple pieces at the same time.

Cheney-Parr’s art can be seen throughout the Pacific Northwest. Not only does she have pieces displayed in the Sandy Public Library and the Hoodland Library throughout September, but her work can be viewed in galleries in Portland, Washington and California.

She is a signature member of the California Watercolor Association and Watercolor West, a juried member of Lake Area Artists based in Lake Oswego, Print Arts Northwest, Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gellery, Northwest Watercolor Society, and a member of the University of California Art Alumni Group and the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

To see more of Cheney-Parr’s work, visit the Sandy or Hoodland library or her website at cheneyparr.com.

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