The words that immediately come to mind in describing Helen Mehl are “calm” and “tranquil”, her demeanor the result of over 20 years in Healing Touch energy practice. This is very evident in her paintings, both still life studies and abstracts with profoundly deep messages. All of Helen’s artworks express appreciation and wonder of diverse cultures and natural life. Collectors comment that her paintings contribute to the feeling of well-being and warmth in their homes and businesses. Her art has been shown in numerous solo exhibitions in California and Hawaii as well as many national and local group exhibitions.
We met with Helen recently and asked her about her life.
Helen, when were you first drawn to art?
“I drew as a child. I was born in Texas, and the family moved to Artesia, CA when I was 3. Both of my parents worked really hard. They appreciated art and encouraged my efforts, buying all kinds of art supplies for me even when they didn’t have much to spare, they felt it was that important.
I was fortunate to get a scholarship to Stanford, obtained a BA in history and art, receiving my MA at San Jose State University. I moved to Hawaii when I married my husband in 1961 and received my teaching credential at University of Hawaii. I taught high school there, later teaching college in Pennsylvania. While there, I was introduced to clay which I thought was thrilling! Back in California in 1970, I taught adult education as well as children’s art at St. Nicholas Elementary in Los Altos.”
Did you have a favorite teacher?
“Yes, many. Matt Kahn at Stanford. Dr. Herbert Sanders at San Jose State, Stephen Quiller of Colorado in water media and color theory, Lin Lipetz in abstract painting and Sandra Speidel in figure painting.”
Do you teach classes?
“I taught privately before moving to Sonoma, but currently I have less time available to do that.”
What is your schedule of the day?
“I like to start painting around 9am, go to about 1pm, then practice meditation if possible. I do adhere to an exercise regimen including walking and workouts at Parkpoint Health Club. As a cancer survivor I believe exercise is the key to maintaining good health and positive attitude.”
Do you enjoy music while painting?
“I do like music, but not while painting. Silence is better for concentration. However, I do like to listen to music while I am doing other projects in the studio, such as preparing canvases.”
What do people not know about you?
“I am a Healing Touch practitioner and a Feng Shui consultant. Both practices are meant to enhance and balance energy fields within us and in the spaces where we live and work. My current series of paintings is in alignment with that goal of honoring helpful relationships.”
Where would someone not find you?
“Well, I don’t drink, so you definitely would not find me in a bar!”
What do you feel is the future of art in all forms?
“We all need beauty in our lives, so I am hopeful about the future of all the arts. Art created with passion and conviction can touch us deeply and inspire us to be open to other points of view and enhance our lives.”
Thank you Helen!
Helen’s paintings are exhibited 10 months of the year at Arts Guild of Sonoma, 140 East Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476
Her personal website is: www.helenmehlgallery.com