Promoting Art for Change - Painting Tour Visits Grand Canyon

How could a painting tour of the United States raising funds and awareness for children and art education be complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon? One artist decided to make the western rim of the Grand Canyon the second stop of her Across the USA from the Eyes of an Artist tour, which captures the "places, faces and homes of America on canvas."

Grand Canyon, AZ, September 12, 2009 --( Visual artist Leisa Collins decided to make the western rim of the Grand Canyon the second stop of her Across the USA from the Eyes of an Artist tour, which headed out from Los Angeles a few days ago. The journey marks the re-emergence of Leisa into the art world after two decades of global travels and social activism. Currently based in the USA, her focus today is on promoting art for change. Leisa first launched her artistic career in New Zealand 1976, after she abandoned formal art training and opted to learn her craft by capturing the beauty of the New Zealand wilderness on her canvas. Culminating in New York near the end of September, the USA tour captures the "places, faces and homes of American on camera and on canvas."

As they left their first tour stop in Arrowhead, California, Leisa and her husband and co-adventurer, Bruce, decided to drive through the night in order to watch the sun rise in Arizona as they approached the Grand Canyon. "Seeing streaks of white light illuminating vast desert plains and alien shaped mountains was a captivating sight," said Leisa. "Stalwart Joshua Trees silhouetted against the dawn, their branches looking like hands groping for the light, created further mystic," she added.

For the last 30 miles they traveled down a winding gravel road before reaching the final point, where they could go no further, unless by tourist bus or helicopter. "My desire however has always been to paint the Grand Canyon -- but not just the vista laid out for tourists and sightseers -- rather something that shows the stark grandeur of the desolate mountain forms, from a point right in the middle of that remote wilderness," said Leisa.

On the deserted gravel road back, the couple stopped the car. Leisa got out her paints, easel and canvas and together they trudged into the desert until they found the perfect spot. "I have painted many outdoor scenes in various parts of the world," said Leisa, "but this was a unique experience. Painting in utter silence, interrupted only by the cry of a hawk or the call of a desert bird and the slight rhythmic sigh of a hot desert breeze, is something I will never forget," she said. The couple then headed back west, out of Arizona and back into Nevada.

In addition to recording the scenic beauty and people of of America through photos and paintings created by Leisa on the road and promoted through her Art with a Message Blog, Leisa will organize kids art projects along the tour to promote and raise funds for children and art education. In this regard, Leisa has partnered with Free Arts for Abused Children so as to get this message across.

Next they will head for Mammoth Lake and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Regions of Sequoia and Yosemite. Then San Francisco, the famous Redwood Forest and up the coast to Oregon and Washington. Yellowstone National Park and the Badlands in South Dakota are next, followed by Minneapolis/St Paul in Minnesota and Green Bay and Milwaukee in Wisconsin. Crossing to Illinois they will visit Chicago and move onto Lansing and Detroit in Michigan. Following will be the Niagara Falls and the Pennsylvania cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia before they reach their final destination of New York City.

A native of New Zealand, but international in scope, Leisa Collins is now combining her activist and artistic skills under the motto of Art with a Message. Working mainly in acrylic and watercolors, Leisa is diverse, painting landscapes one day and house portraits and face portraits the next. She also works with other women artists and specializes in art for change projects using both the realistic and semi-abstract genres. She writes a free weekly newsletter, Art in the Making, which is available through her website at She also writes a blog which can be found at

Leisa Collins Art
Leisa Collins