Arts and Crafts Style About Us Page

Hello! We are Bruce Goodman and Leisa Collins. This is our Arts and Crafts Style website. Our goal is to make it yours, too.

I'm a multiple trade craftsman with decades of commercial and residential building experience. Leisa is a professional artist specializing in house portraits of Craftsman style homes, bungalows, historic homes, historic buildings, Tudor houses, and many other residential style homes. She paints beautiful realistic landscape paintings, too. In our respective skills we are both 100% self-taught.

We crossed paths in Los Angeles in 1987, got married within a few months and haven't looked back since.

Leisa is a Kiwi, born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. She was painting New Zealand bungalows and landscapes before she was even out of her teens. Her creative spirit hasn't stopped since.

I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. The house I grew up in was a 1926 Sears catalog kit home - a simple bungalow on the outside with a beautiful Craftsman style finish on the inside.

I have always liked to construct things. In high school I drafted simple house plans for fun and I once built a scale model of a Roman catapult for a science project. I used spare parts from our basement and my mom's kitchen. I've since forgotten whether or not I asked her permission to use the wooden cooking spoon for that project, but I think I did. She was always teaching me to be polite and use good manners.

Leisa working on a landscape painting in the great outdoors.

Me at a glacier lake near Mt Cook during a 3-month trip to New Zealand.
This is the nature part of Craftsman style living.

I grew up in this Craftsman bungalow house in Lansing, Michigan.
Leisa painted this house portrait as a gift to my parents.

About the Arts and Crafts Style Website

Our focus on this website is Arts and Crafts style (or Craftsman style) living. By this we mean the use and application of principles and elements from the American Arts and Crafts Movement in the home environment and daily life.

These ideas have usefulness in the space planning, architecture, design and decoration of your home. Also in your day-to-day life at home - how you use it and live in it.

How do you feel about principles such as honesty, simplicity, harmony, nature, beauty, artistry, high-quality craftsmanship, neighbors, family, friends, community, the environment?

I hope that doesn't sound highfalutin. True Craftsman style principles are simple and down-to-earth.

We feel that these principles have the power to improve our quality of life. We think that people like you might also have a use for these Arts and Crafts Movement virtues.

We want our website to provide you with an online "front porch" community where you can find and exchange information, design ideas and other resources for Arts and Crafts style living.

In essence, the Craftsman lifestyle can be created in just about any type of home - Craftsman, bungalow, historic, Tudor, colonial revival, log cabins, cottages and other small houses, and all the ones I've left out, too.

This website is for YOU, the homeowners and home-owners-to-be of Arts and Crafts homes. We look forward to many visits from you, our Arts and Crafts Style friends.

More about Leisa Collins... from Leisa!

Born and breed in Auckland, New Zealand, I embarked on my artistic journey in the late 1970’s at the age 17. Abandoning the stifling structure of formal art training, I decided that art should be an adventure and I took off to the “Lord of the Rings” South Island of New Zealand to capture its untamed beauty on canvas. I came back to Auckland, set up my studio and gallery, and enjoyed a successful 5 year career. I also became increasingly active in social issues and the non-profit arena, which eventually took me beyond the New Zealand shores and to the four corners of the world.

In 2009, I decided to re-launch my art career and once again make my living from my art. To mark the occasion, Bruce and I began a 12,000 mile painting journey across America, starting from Los Angeles. We also planned to used the trip to decide where to permanently pitch our tent. Our choice was historic Old Town Alexandria, in Virginia. In the two years since, in addition to landscape and cityscape paintings, I have painted well over a hundred historic homes in Old Town and the surrounding regions.

I also fell in love with another local community right next door to Old Town called Del Ray which is a haven for Craftsman style and bungalow homes. And so began my Craftsman house portrait series!

Del Ray also has a true sense of community, reminding me of my upbringing in New Zealand. I decided to promote those values so I spearheaded a project to create a 60-foot public mural in Del Ray coinciding with Alexandria’s annual festival, Art on the Avenue. The bulk of the painting was done during the day of the festival, giving a chance to hundreds of local youth and adults alike to take part in creating the mural.

Leisa standing in front of the now famous Del Ray community mural.

I really enjoy combining my artistic and non-profit activities. I am actively involved in a number of art and historic projects, many involving youth. After all, young people are our future and I believe it is vital to instill in them a love of art, creativity and the joy of true craftsmanship.

Where do we go from here?

Thanks for taking the time to visit this page and find out a bit "about us" and our Arts and Crafts Style website. We appreciate it.

If you have questions or feedback you can communicate to us here.

We hope to hear from you soon. Until then...

Happy Living,

Bruce and Leisa

p.s. - We would also like to invite you to visit Leisa's gallery of Arts and Crafts style house portraits at www.LeisaCollins.com

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