Ron Leach, 50, enters his studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York, after his 90-minute commute from his home in New Jersey. Before starting work, Ron fills his coffee machine, tightly squeezed between an easel and his paintings. Ron puts on sports radio to listen to speculation about his beloved Cleveland Browns' chances in their upcoming game against the Denver Broncos.
As Ron arrives at his studio at 10 a.m., a cup of English breakfast tea from the night before sits on a wooden crate near his brushes and paint.
Ron purchases supplies at the Flatbush BLICK Art Materials store in Brooklyn. After selecting cardboard needed to ship a painting of a roadrunner to a client, Ron inspects the quality and color tone of paper he will need to work on new pastel sketches.
Ron struggles against heavy winds to hold onto his cardboard and paper as he walks down Flatbush Avenue after leaving BLICK to take the 30-minute train ride to his studio in Sunset Park.
As coffee brews, Ron leans a recently finished painting of a baboon against another painting to make space to construct a new canvas. As a child, Ron was intrigued by a baboon he saw at a zoo near his hometown of Mingo Junction, Ohio, and has been painting them since.
After flipping through a monograph about Peter Paul Rubens for inspiration, Ron gets back to work adjusting the skin tone for the nudes he is painting. Brahms' Symphony No. 4 plays quietly in the background.
Ron works on a portrait of two nude women. Behind him is an array of pieces, paint-covered clothes and a box of Honey Nut Cheerios he constantly snacks on between brush strokes. Ron has Beavis and Butt-Head playing very quietly on his laptop. He says he has seen the show so many times that hearing it in the background is not a distraction, but comforting.
While working on this piece, Ron uses 50 to 60 shades of paint, which is a norm for him. In his studio, he has more than 150 completed or near-complete paintings along with large stacks of pastel sketches.