Artist Statement

West Virginia fine artist and illustrator Staci Leech-Cornell was raised in Greenbrier Co., WV where she grew to love her family's' incredible collections of ceramic birds and other nick-knacks. That love is now expressed through her drawings, paper works, and gouache paintings. Staci comes from a family of creative people and has been creating and drawing since she was very small. Her past and present fascination with birds and the whimsy of wildlife are deeply rooted.

Growing up in rural West Virginia provided many opportunities to be surrounded by nature and the creatures that call it home. Other surroundings also provided many inspirations. The living rooms and kitchens of family members were the homes of vast collections of ceramic birds and bits of nature. These ceramic menageries are ever present on my memories and conscience which invite them to grace the drawn pages of my portfolio. During a visit with my family, my Grandmother gifted to me a small bird drawing created by my Great Grandmother. My visions of these feathered friends and other whimsical creatures are deeply rooted.

Being an avid researcher, I spend hours looking through books about birds, wildlife, nature, and fashion, not to mention hours filtering through the unlimited resource of the internet. The often depicted animals and clothing carry familiar shapes and forms, but are covered by my original detailing of patterns, color, and eyes. The gentle, inquisitive, profiled stance and posture of all the creatures are a staple in my works. With a sophistication of style and pops of color ranging from traditional to eclectic, each creature pulls their personality together and is always ready for their audience. This collected information and these inspirations help with the ultimate creation of idea on paper.

Staci lives in Nitro, West Virginia with her husband Justin Cornell. She works from her backyard studio, Still Maybe Studios, and is also known to take over the living room coffee table with papers, pens, and this and that.

-Staci M. Leech-Cornell