As a young girl I remember looking through books of Robert Bateman’s on a friend’s coffee table, and I was awestruck. From that moment on, that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to paint like him.

Born and raised in Canal Flats, Leslie Cartwright grew up in the outdoors – camping, hiking, and wildlife watching. It left an impression – inspiring a world of landscapes and wildlife created at the end of a paintbrush.

Leslie’s works reveal her passion for the challenge and difficulty of realism.

“No artist has been as influential as Terry Isaac for me,” Leslie says. “I had the opportunity to spend a week with Terry in 2011, and again in 2012 at his home and gallery in Penticton, and he totally changed the way I paint. I was so enamoured with his style, and his advice helped me advance my own art.”

And then there’s Robert Bateman – perhaps Canada’s premier nature artist. “I spent a rainy, windy week on Cortes Island along with nine other students to attend the Master Artists Seminar with Robert Bateman,” Leslie says. “I couldn’t believe that I finally got to meet the man who was responsible for evoking my life-long love of art. He critiqued a piece of my work which was both nerve wracking and flattering.”

Leslie’s work is evolving. “I’m starting to create works that are more whimsical, and hopefully, thought provoking. This new style has been inspired by my son, Darcy, who has autism and other cognitive and developmental delays. He has taught me and my family many great things about humanity and acceptance, and he inspires me to create hopeful messages through these new works.”

Why Canal Flats?

“It’s safe, and close knit – a great place to raise a family,” Leslie observes. “The outdoors here inspires my creativity….days when I’m walking my dog early in the morning and I’m able to watch the sunrise and appreciate that I can see and hear the birds instead of urban noise.”

Leslie is presently working on four commissions. “Progress is slow because of a part time job and hockey, family commitments and hockey, my dog and hockey, and more hockey! Did I mention hockey?” She hopes to transition to being a full-time artist (painter and writer) in future, and envisions a gallery/studio space where she can work and exhibit in Canal Flats, and continue to teach art via workshops and lessons.

Examples of Leslie’s art can be found at and at Base Camp Coffee Shop in Canal Flats. Leslie doesn’t presently have any originals for sale, but prints can be purchased through Cranbrook Photo or directly through Leslie at