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Enduring with Art

Paintings by Helen Duplassie; click right arrow to view slideshow.

As an artist, I have had a lot of time to paint and reflect on my art during the lockdowns. I have something to focus on, something that keeps my mind active. This is such a difficult time for us all, especially for those who have lost loved ones.

Last year, I did a series of paintings that had been on my “someday I’ll paint this” list. I also did paintings of my parents, just for me, working off old photos of them from the 1940s. I definitely want to do more of those.

Usually entering and lining up exhibits keeps me busy, but there haven’t been many of those lately, other than online shows. So, this year I decided to start a series of paintings of Italy, as I have a friend who will display them in his Italian restaurant.

I began with the Colosseum on a large canvas. When I felt I was finished, I hung it in my kitchen and studied it during every meal. Artist Doug Mays calls this the mantle stage. You just study your composition, your lights and darks and anything that you think could be better. I have done this before, but not to the extent I have with this painting. It’s become an important part of my artistic process.

I started noticing areas to improve so I took the canvas back to my studio and then back to the kitchen. I did this three times. Now you may think I have OCD to go back and forth like this, but I am presently studying the completed painting and I am very proud of the results. I did not go to art school and started painting rather late in my life, so this method of evaluation and adjustment works well for me.

Painting this series has given me a feeling of purpose in a time when I, like all of us, cannot see family and friends.


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