recently had the priveledge to work with Nashville’s Best Artist 2010*, David McLeod. He is not only a dear friend of mine but a very talented artist! 

A few months ago, I comissioned David to paint something for one of my client’s homes. I needed something to  anchor the fireplace and mirror with the rest of the room.  

This is a picture of the fireplace and mirror.

The room was inspired by Autumn colors so lots of mochas and dark oranges were used to keep the tone rich and creamy.

David began the painting through a study of various photographs that he took. {Note: each of this photographs are works of art in themselves…he’s also a very talented photographer}. 

My clients ended up chosing this photograph.

One thing that is unique to David’s comissioned work is once the subject is set, David will do a color study to assure that you like his translation of the photograph as well as the colors.

Color Study

The key to the painting is its size. It’s actually 3′ x 4′–almost the size of a small mural. David joked with me after he finished the painting that he thought that it would be too big for the wall, but that he actually ended up liking the size of it. I knew that we would need a large painting on the wall to anchor it to the fireplace & mirror on the other side of the room.


The finished painting. This photograph does not do it justice.

Here’s a shot of the painting from the fireplace side of the room.

David did a wonderful job infusing all of the tones of the room into the painting. The painting is what pulled this room together!


I recently sat down with David to discuss what exactly it is that inspires him in life and art, and I wanted to share what drives his talent.

Winter Figure
Do you have favorite subject to paint? 
My favorite single subject would definitely be my wife Blair; she has the best eyes and the contrast of her hair and skin is delightful. However, I am more interested in communicating with my viewer than simply recording reality. This means that the subject becomes a part of a conversation that requires an appropriate surrounding. Put the right subject in the right environment–magic.

If you know David, it’s hard to not know his passions. Often times you’ll find several of his passions & likes in his work–namely, his wife, good food, his dog & beer.

Yazoo and Red Pear
What’s your favorite beer?
Depends on the season and setting. My first favorite beer was Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale. In general, though, I prefer the strength of a pale ale like most of Yazoo’s Hop Projects, Great Divide’s Titan IPA or an imperial stout like Old Rasputin or Stone’s. If I had to say just one, with all other factors being irrelevant, I’d go with Trapistes Rochefort 8, a Belgian Dark Strong style ale whose notes of fruit, spice, and malt make it easily the most immensely complex beers I’ve ever had.

Tomato 7

I know that you’re an incredible chef–if you could paint a plate of any food that you’ve cooked in the all the world, what would it be and why?
I would love to paint a fish dish both before and after cooking. I’d take a whole fish, perhaps a Red Snapper or Sea Bass, and paint it with the herbs, citrus, and vegetables outside on a bright day to accentuate the color and freshness of the arrangement. Then perhaps after cooking, I’d set it up as a more traditional indoor still life and throw in a glass of wine and some utensils to let the viewer “eat” my painting.

This is one of my very favorite pieces of David’s…


I also like David’s charcoal & graphite sketches, because they seem a bit unfinished and allow you to finish them with your own interpretation. Here’s just one.

Figure Sketch

Since your dad is an architect, how has he inspired your work?
My dad’s work has inspired me to achieve excellence through the pursuit of both form and function. Such a journey requires the intense appreciation for craftsmanship, a trait we share. More importantly is how he empowered me to pursue my dreams; I saw how fruitful his life was as being self-employed and knew I wanted the same.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Hm. I hesitate to say anywhere outside of the South, but I have always wanted to live in the UK with a loft in the city above a coffee shop, bakery, and butcher shop, and a cottage in the rolling hills of my ancestors. A guy can dream, right?

Three Crow

Since your win as Nashville’s Best Artist, has it changed your clientele and grown your business?
That honor has been great for expanding my clientele from being primarily prior acquaintances to including people I’ve never met before, both in Nashville and other parts of the country.

If you would like to know more about David McLeod and his lovely artwork, you can visit his website here.

{from the Nashville Scene’s Readers Poll}

** {all photographs, except those of David’s work, are taken a la moi}