Les Green fits big ideas in little spaces
MINIATURES – Les Green switched to painting miniatures in 1978 when his eyesight started to fail. Since then, he has exhibited his work in 24 states. He began painting in 1935. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Elizabeth Hall / special to The Star
Aug. 4, 2002
Big things do come in small packages. Just ask Les Green, whose paintings are sometimes no larger than a postage stamp.
Spacious and tranquil, Green's tiny landscapes are deceptively simple.
Green is a nationally award-winning miniature painter whose work has been exhibited in 24 states. But, he has never considered art his profession.
His studies began during the New Deal Era, with a 1935 WPA art class taught by Lillian Graham. In 1936, he won the Mississippi Art Association's Best Of Show with his first-ever competition entry. From there, he continued to paint, studying under William Hollingsworth, Karl Wolfe, Marie Hull and Charles LeClair.
About this time, the Meridian Art Association formed. The small group of local artists began meeting once a month. Green was elected president, and was often asked to critique paintings for 25 cents each.
Many of the paintings were selected for display in the former 1870 room of Weidmann's restaurant.
Shortly after, when the Meridian Museum of Art was built, the group reformed as the MMA Artists Group, of which Green was also president.
It was not until 1978 that Green took up miniatures, after viewing an exhibit by Mary Katherine Loyocano McCravey.
One of his favorite and perhaps most profitable art subjects of the past was Basenji dogs, which he and his wife, Evelyn, used to breed and enter in specialty shows.
On the night before one of these shows, Green auctioned a series of paintings based on the 1956 movie, "Goodbye, My Lady." Adapted from a novel of the same name by Mississippi writer James Street, the movie centers around a young boy and his Basenji dog.
Though he is now legally blind, Green is still going strong, turning out an average of six miniatures a week.
Several of his earlier works feature a lady in white. "She represents the spirit of nature, and she's kind of a tribute to my wife (the late Evelyn Murray Green) as well."
Green works primarily with colored pencils, and surrounds his work with a mat in advance "to keep the dimensions in check." A magnifying glass helps compensate for his lost sight.
As far as process goes, Green keeps his paintings open to twists and turns.
To best sum up his style, Green cites an article from Travelhost magazine.