C. Leigh Holder

Courtney Leigh Holder works out of Psyche Ink, a studio space in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin, where she was born. With a background in plein-air and figurative painting, Holder has a colorful aesthetic pulled from in-person observations, and long hours stepping back and squinting at her easel. Holder's fondness for myths, symbols and spontaneous rambles in woods informs her modern yet imaginative new series currently under production that explores themes of time, human connection and "carrying the fire." Her mission is to brighten homes all over the world with paintings that explore the themes of beauty, mystery and modern mythos.

Born in 1979 and mostly self-taught, Holder also formally studied figure drawing under Jim McMullan at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York City, NY in 1998.  For short stints, Holder has also studied with artists Tim Allen Lawson, plein air painter George Strickland and Austin-based artist Jennifer Balkan. Holder lives with her husband, four children and two dogs. She's still looking for the rabbit hole. the secret garden and the world between the woods. 

Holder welcomes commission work. If you are interested, please contact her at or use the form below.

She also teaches 6-week painting classes in the Texas Hill Country area. To register, go to the classes page.




Studied under Jennifer Balkan, Georgetown, Texas.


Studied under T. Allen Lawson, Fredricksburg, Texas.


Studied under George Strickland, Whidbey Island, Washington.


University of Texas, Austin, Texas, Masters in Journalism. Awarded Mary Susan Lewis Scholarship.    


School of Visual Arts, New York City, New York, Illustration. Studied under Jim McMullan. Awarded Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship.


Awards & Exhibitions


Summer Solo Show, 30 in 30, Psyche Ink Studio, New Braunfels, Texas.

1st Place Award, "Anything Goes" Juried Show, New Braunfels Art League, New Braunfels, Texas.


Annual Fredericksburg Art Guild Juried Show, Fredericksburg, Texas.


Solo Show, Modern Myths, The Parlor, New Braunfels, Texas.


East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T), Pump Project Art Complex, Austin, Texas.


Two-Women Exhibition, Holder & Lathan, Ventana, St Louis, Missouri.


SVA Group Show, Flatiron Gallery, New York City, New York.




Private group studio classes, illustration painting and still-life instruction.


Co-produced animation video with ProductionFor, Austin, Texas, for NGO project in Ethiopia, "Buy Bricks, Build a School."


Gallery Shoal Creek, Austin, Texas, contracted to do public relations for shows.

2004, October

Austin Monthly, “Jennifer Balkan, Painting With a Passion,” byline published under maiden name Courtney Russell.


Regents School of Austin, Texas, 9th-12th grade painting and drawing instructor.


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