Lesley O'Shea


Lesley O'Shea F.R.A.S.


Lesley is was both a practicing Speech Pathologist and is now a full time professional Artist. Holding a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) she has worked as a Speech Pathologist for the past 30 years to help children and adults to communicate.

Drawing has been an interest of Lesley’s for as long as she can remember but only as an adult was she able to indulge her dream of going to “art school”. She attended National Art School from 2000 to 2002 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in painting. Following her studies at the National Art School, Lesley continued to study painting with Joe Penn. Reflecting her people focused profession, she is particularly interested in portraiture, however, she also paints and draws a variety of subjects including landscape.

As a student Lesley was awarded the Robert Le Gay Brereton Drawing Prize, through the Art Gallery of NSW. After completing her studies, Lesley has won numerous prizes including the Open Prize, People’s Choice award and the prize for drawing in the North Sydney Art Prize and the Open and Works on Paper prizes in the City of Ryde Art Awards. She has also been a finalist in the Shirley Hannon and Portia Geach Portrait Prizes. Lesley regularly exhibits in group exhibitions.

Lesley is a Fellow of the Royal Art Society of NSW and a member of the Portrait Artists of Australia. She has been on the teaching staff of the Royal Art Society Art School and is a tutor at the Bathurst Mitchell College School of Arts. Lesley is available for commissions, including portraits, and workshops.


I am inspired by the visual world that surrounds me. In particular I enjoy watching people: their actions, habits, faces and expressions. As I live in both country N.S.W. and the big city of Sydney, these images are varied and hopefully reflect how surroundings can shape the people that live in each of these quite starkly different environments. I owe a debt of inspiration to my life companion and teacher, Joe Penn, as well as past luminaries such as Russell Drysdale, who so brilliantly portrayed the way the land shaped its’ occupants.