Featured Artist Helen Klebesadel

Artist Helen Klebesadel shares her rich and exquisite portfolio of watercolors, and invites you to visit her website.

 

Milkweed Flowers

“Milkweed Flowers” Watercolor on canvas, 20″ x 24″ I take great joy in careful observation of what is most common. Here I examine and celebrate the beauty of an often dismissed weed that is critical to the survival of the Monarch Butterfly.

 

My visual concerns run the gamut from careful study to poetic, symbolic and sometimes political representations of nature and human nature. For more than two decades I have been creating watercolors that consider what, who, and how we value.

 

Where are the Bees?

“Where Are the Bees?” Watercolor on paper, 30″ x 22″. Our common pollinators are critical to our food supply. Currently are under duress for due to multiple stressors, most human generated.

 

I’m best known for my environmental and women-centered paintings. Artists have dealt with the human relationship to nature for centuries. My art is intended to remind us that we humans are nature and that our survival is tied to our recognition that what we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

 

Peonies Love Ants

“Peonies Love Ants” Watercolor on paper, 22″ x 30″. There is a certain cooperation between plant and insect species that I have begun to try to capture.

 

I am endlessly engaged by watercolor as a medium, however I avoided the medium for years because of watercolor’s place at the bottom of the painting hierarchy. Forced to take a watercolor class by a snafu in my college schedule, I was immediately hooked by its flexibility and beauty, and have remained so for two decades.

 

Ants Love Peonies

“Ants Love Peonies”, Watercolor on paper, 30″ x 22″

 

My watercolors range in sizes from small and intimate to the monumentally large multi-panel watercolors. While I have recently been exploring watercolor on canvas, I typically work in transparent watercolors on paper.

 

Bluebirds Love Sumac

“Bluebirds Love Sumac” Watercolor on paper, 22″ x 30″. Bluebird restoration is one of our greatest environmental successes. Thanks to citizen intervention we have brought them back from a 70% decline.

 

Starting with detailed drawings, I develop them into recognizable images through layer upon layer of color washes and dry brush technique mixed with occasional areas of wet-into-wet spontaneity. I love exploring techniques that lead to rich textures too.

 

Dresden Plate

“Dresden Plate” Watercolor on paper, 30″ x 40″. In addition to environmental themes I have a series of watercolors that celebrate women’s traditional art like quilting, crochet, and the like. These are the arts I was surrounded by growing up in rural Wisconsin.

 

I have taught courses and workshops on creativity, studio art, and the contemporary women’s art movement for decades. My prose and watercolors have been featured in books and journals. I’m also a past national president of the Women’s Caucus for Art.

 

Altared

“Altared”, Watercolor on paper, 20″ x 39″. In my still life painting the handmade table cloth is the main subject of the painting rather than the background.

 

I believe everyone is an artist, and that people are more likely to find their activist voices when they find their artist voice.  (You have to learn to think for yourself to make good art).

 

Thorn Birds

“Thorn Birds”, Watercolor on paper, 30″ x 22″

 

I’m currently interested in exploring collaborative art practices that have a social justice component to them, like my current co-facilitate Exquisite Uterus Project that can be seen here.

 

Comments

  1. Your an Amazing artist Helen. WOW….. I love your art, the details are fantastic. your subject material is very interesting. As well doing watercolor on canvas is very tricky, nicely done. I wish I could do flowers as well as you. Your color palette is terrific.

    Any tips?

    Clyde D. Finlay

    • Thank you Clyde. Regarding color, I spend a fair amount of time building up layers of color and I usually have the compliment or split-compliment (the colors directly across the color wheel) of the main color somewhere in the painting to create a dynamic sense of contrast.

      Thanks!

      Helen

  2. Fantastic drafting skills. Lovely colors,
    Captivating subjects.
    Kudos,
    Bobbi Mastrangelo

  3. beautiful paintings… Congrats!!

  4. Kelly Hausknecht says:

    Oh, Helen. Seeing your art for the first time. What an explosion! of emotion and sensitivity, color and energy. All this coming from one person? Thank you for having the courage to dig deep, show it and share it. You’re doing it, and we appreciate it. With some of your paintings I’m flying away, and with others I’m twirling around inside of them. Thank you, for the experience. You are an inspiration.

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