Emily Leonard, Closets
Emily Leonard

If you placed Emily in one of her own haunting and idyllic paintings, it would strongly resemble her favorite pieces of art, Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage. It's almost as if the fairytale-like, cloistered feeling that Emily gives off in her home mimics the legendary piece of art, except she makes wooden beads with a white tank top and high-waisted pants look as romantic as late nineteenth century peasant dress. She feels that isolation is a theme in her life, between the solitary existence of being an artist and being immersed in natural surroundings - with a studio in the woods behind her house. There is such a nostalgic stillness to Emily and her dwelling that you can picture her as the subject of her many inspirations, which include women peeling vegetables and the poem Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Growing up with three brothers made Emily feel that clothing was an extravagance, which makes me think of how chic and understated she makes a vintage diamond ring look. Most of what she wears is minimal and uncomplicated with touches of femininity - like her calico shift from high school - and masculine functionality, like her staple Frye boots and high-waisted denim bellbottoms that are worn during the long hours spent working on her art from eight in the morning until seven at night. Emily picked up her discipline as an artist from her grandfather, an illustrator during the fifties whose large body of work could often be seen on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. He also did portrait work, with a resume of notables ranging from Princess Grace Kelly to Jimmy Carter and his family. Much of his artwork can be found in the Smithsonian. Reserved and sentimental in a long black skirt with a belted circle scarf that she wears when having people over, Emily speaks of how much she adores the soulful community of Nashville because people don't care as much about talking about art as they do about making it, and as Emily puts it, success is a byproduct of loving what you do.

If you love Emily, you may also like Lindsey Caldwell, Lexie Smith and Brigitte Conti.

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