Leya Evelyn was born in Washington, D.C., and educated at Brown and Yale Universities. At Brown, she graduated cum laude, with distinction in her major of English Literature. At Yale, she studied under Josef Albers, concentrating on painting and color. She has worked as an abstract painter since her early twenties.
Her career in the arts has extended up and down the East Coast into Canada. Before moving to Nova Scotia in the early 1980s, she lived and worked for some time in New York City. Though widely considered to be an abstract (or nonrepresentational) artist, she now works in an artistic environment - that of maritime Canada - not well-known for such art.
Leya Evelyn exhibits her work widely in Canada and the U.S., as well as across Europe. She is the recipient of numerous grants from provincial and federal agencies including a Canada Council Established Artist Grant in 2000. Evelyn became an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 2011. She has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax as well as privately.
The primary focus in Evelyn's artwork is colour that provokes emotion and challenges perception. The paintings seek to evoke uncensored memories and states of mind: exploring possibilities, imaginings and openings. The texture, visual impact and depth of the many layers of materials and concepts capture the complexity of life and become a metaphor for the elusiveness of knowledge and experience.