Growing up in the Ozarks, Monica Helms found a world of magic just outside her door. Her days were spent watching animals and marveling in the wonder that is nature. Her first education was at a Montessori school where the teacher took the students on walks every day, pointing out the natural world around them. When they returned to class, the teacher asked the students to draw what they saw. For Helms, it was the beginning of what she does now: painting the natural world in specific and exacting ways, while also capturing the romance and poetry of her subjects.
Helms' studio is tucked in the back of Bright Place Gallery. There she explores color and mediums that help her bring the natural world she so deeply loves to life.
"Just like a writer writes, I'm just kind of cataloging it onto paper," says Helms. Her work often depicts flora and fauna from the local environment, even depicting endangered animals. Helms uses paints and inks on paper and canvas to create impressionistic, colorful work.
Helms' love for the natural world is palpable. "When you love something, you kind of hope that other people love it, too. You are hoping that other people appreciate it and value it and protect it," shares Helms. These days she loves exploring how the paint and inks move on the canvas as much as she loves the subjects of her painting. After viewing Helms' work, it's difficult to not come away loving the natural world yourself—something Helms hopes happens to viewers. "I hope there is little bit of life in my art that allows someone to go, 'Maybe I didn't know I could love that before but maybe I can love it,'" shares Helms.
Some of Helms' work will be for sale at the annual 20-Dollar Art Show sale at Bright Place Gallery on Oct. 19.
Annual 20-Dollar Art Show
Sat., Oct. 19, 6pm
Bright Place Gallery
909 SE Armour St., Bend