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Dale Daniel Leys: Drawing Life

Episode #603 First Aired: April 12, 2014

Dale Daniel Leys was raised in Sheboygan, Wisc., close to the shore of Lake Michigan. Nature has always been a place of wonder and inspiration for Leys. He started drawing as a toddler with the encouragement of his parents. His talent for art and detail was obvious from a very young age.

As he collected specimens such as seagull skulls and fish bones from the shore of Lake Michigan on walks and hikes, these objects began making their way into his drawings. Along with nature, science plays a large role in Leys works. He is fascinated by space and the science of life.

Leys was hired at Murray State University (MSU) in 1977, immediately after finishing graduate school. Murray is near Kentucky’s Land between the Lakes and its miles of beautiful shoreline and natural areas, which made Leys feel at home.

Leys has always taught drawing. He has inspired many students who have stayed in the art field as art teachers, gallery owners, and artists. Leys believes that keeping in touch with his students is important and many have become lifelong friends.

Leys also travels frequently and does onsite drawings and watercolors. He has drawn in the western and southwestern United States as well as Italy and the Czech Republic. The onsite drawings are small, yet detailed and painstakingly accurate.

The program tells Leys’ story and also captures his 40-year retrospective of his work, hosted at the Yieser Art Center, Maiden Art Cinema, and Ruth Baggett Gallery in Paducah. Each artwork he has created during those four decades is unique, but they all carry a very strong signature style and consciousness. And looking at Dale’s work, some say, is like meeting Dale Daniel Leys.

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