Artist finds inspiration in letters, writings of J. Alden Weir

Weir Farm National Historic Site’s current artist in residence, Benisse Lester, has found over the last three weeks she’s a kindred spirit with Julian Alden Weir, the farm’s namesake.

Largely inspired by organic form and saturated natural colors, Ms. Lester said her approach to rendering follows that of Mr. Weir.

“Weir is a man I can really relate to. He was a man with a lot of integrity, there are no gimmicks in his work,” she said Thursday. “He painted straight up. He painted what he saw, and what he felt. There was no trickery or sleight of hand.”

“I mainly do not do abstract work,” Ms. Lester said, focusing on real subjects instead in the same style as Mr. Weir.

“I enjoy what I see so much that it’s a privilege and a joy to capture the moment.”

Ms. Lester will give a presentation on her work, history, and methods at Wilton Library on Monday, Jan. 26, and will also display finished and just-about-finished works from Weir Farm the same day.

The presentation begins at 6 p.m. at the Brubeck Room, in the library.

A resident of both Washington D.C. and New York City, Ms. Lester has a range of experience in the art world, and is known for portraiture as well as plein painting in oil, watercolors, and egg temperas.

In addition to producing landscapes, her portraiture draws on classical techniques paired with “contemporary energy,” she says.

“You have to get to know your subject. Then you can sit and think and render,” she said. “At the end of the day, you’re just putting paint on a canvas. You’re translating what you’re seeing. But, like words are just words before a writer uses them, a painter has to put something together as a craft and as an art.”

For information on Ms. Lester’s portrait commissions, or art sales, send her an email at