Born at Great Yarmouth in East Anglia in 1949 and spent his childhood by the seaside. He was influenced to take up an artistic career by his father, who taught him to draw. In particular, he was also inspired by the art, prints and posters of the Newlyn School, the French impressionists, Degas, Renoir and Toulouse Lautrec.
While he took a course in fine art and graphics at a local college of art, Raymond Leech considers himself mainly to be a self-taught artist. Originally he made his living in graphic design, but demand for his original art, prints and posters grew so great that he eventually made the decision to take up painting full time. He works in watercolour, oil and pastel, and his motivation as an artist is best illustrated by his affection for the figure-work of the Cornish Newlyn School of artists, which at the turn of the twentieth century included Stanhope Forbes and Dame Laura Knight. He admires their work because it provided ‘a breath of fresh air’ and Raymond Leech believes that a successful painting is not just a picture, but one that captures the air around the subject and the atmosphere as well.
Raymond Leech is a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Guild of Norwich Painters. He won the Charles Pears Prize at the RSMA Exhibition at The Mall Galleries in 1986 and now exhibits regularly in London and East Anglia. His art, prints and posters have been exhibited with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and is now held in private collections throughout the United Kingdom, South Africa, America, Spain and Hong Kong.