Mammoth Lakes one of First Stops of USA Painting Tour Promoting Art for Change

Artist Leisa Collins' USA Tour, traveling from Los Angeles to New York City to raise funds and awareness for children and art, makes a stop in Mammoth Lakes, California.

Mammoth Lakes, CA, September 22, 2009 --( Capturing the “places, faces and homes of America on camera and on canvas”, Mammoth Lakes was one of the first stops of the Across the USA from the Eyes of an Artist tour. The journey marks the re-emergence of USA-based visual artist Leisa Collins into the art world after two decades of global travels and social activism. Heading out of Los Angeles a week ago, the tour first traveled to the Grand Canyon and in now moving back through California and up the coast before advancing eastward. Leisa’s focus today is on promoting art for change. She 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 has traveled 800 miles to date, with another 5,000 more to go. “A planned one hour stop in Mammoth Lake for a “quick drink” on our way to Yosemite turned into a 24 hour stop over and the discovery of true Mammoth Lakes hospitality,” said Leisa.

Leisa and her husband Bruce were the guests of Mammoth Lake residents Chris and Tom House, at their home they call “Far Side”, after Leisa and Chris met earlier in the day when Leisa was doing an open air painting of the Bishop City Park. “We were soon chatting with Chris and Tom as if we had known them for years. They’re a delightful couple who’ve been married for 50 years and have traveled and lived in all corners of the world. They have fascinating stories and a great sense of humor,” said Leisa. “When they offered for us to stay the night, they didn’t have to twist our arm,” she added.

The following morning Leisa immediately got to work creating a pen and watercolor wash house portrait of the House’s chalet as a thank you gift. She even added one of their four Burmese Mountain dogs poking his head over the balcony and “officially presented” the painting to the couple. They also staged a group photo with the House family, including Chris, Tom and their four dogs.

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

Once through to California, Leisa will go to Yosemite, followed by San Jose and Sacramento and then the Redwood National Park. They will stop off in Seattle, Washington, Yellowstone National Park and the Badlands in South Dakota, then Sioux Falls City, Minneapolis/St Paul in Minnesota, 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 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; in both the realistic and semi-abstract genres. The USA tour route can be found on the Art in Action page of her website at, and her Art with a Message Blog at follows the action of the tour. Her weekly newsletter, Art in the Making, can be accessed through her website.

Leisa Collins Art
Leisa Collins