Written by Julie Jernigan,
On Tuesday, Valdosta State unveiled an original watercolor painting titled “West Hall,” which was generously donated by alumnus Robert Leedy.
This painting is 40 years old, as Leedy painted it while he attended VSU. Dr. Staton thanked Leedy among fellow alumni and friends.
Leedy, who graduated in 1979, grew up in Winter Park, Florida, where he showed early signs of a great artistry. While attending VSU, Leedy switched his major from biology to art when he took a drawing class under his now favorite professor, Joseph Pember, whom the painting honors. Pember was surprised to learn that he wasn’t an art major, and strongly encouraged him to switch.
He will always remember Pember saying, “Here comes Leedy with his bombastic colors,” which he hopes was a complement.
When Leedy graduated, he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to work at a small graphic design firm. He later accepted a job as a fine wine consultant in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he met his wife. When his wife was offered a job in Europe, he quit the wine business and pursued his art career full time. He has lived and painted in Paris, Brussels, Buenos Aires, and the Caribbean before returning to Jacksonville where he resides now.
Leedy’s preferred medium is watercolors. He recounts his memories of when his art teachers had class outside every spring quarter. He loves the outdoors, especially during spring due to the vibrant colors and the way the sun reflects off objects. It’s what inspired his piece “West Hall,” which accurately depicts the beauty of the building.
Leedy first heard of this opportunity through his friend Gordon Steadman, who gave him the idea to donate his painting.
“It’s a real thrill for my legacy to continue at my alma mater,” Leedy said. “I hope it will be enjoyed for years to come.”
Leedy is selling copies of his watercolor painting, and hopes to receive $15,000 in sales to donate to the alumni association.
He currently maintains a studio in the CoRK Arts District of Jacksonville and his work can be found on HERE