Artist Helen Hadley and I met up at Wald & Sea to discuss her work. You will find Hadley’s soothing, colorful and collectible paintings, which sell out quickly, interspersed and hung among shop owner Kim Wald’s global treasures with “California-meets-New England” style.
Hadley was born in Hyde Park Chicago, during one of the worst snow storms in the history of the city. She came to Newport after graduating from Connecticut College with a B.A. in art history to teach art at Saint Michaels and the Newport Art Museum, where she’s worked for over 30 years.
“I have always loved painting,” says Hadley, “And my grandmother was a great influence. She took me to the Art Institute in Chicago, which is a wonderful museum, and let me use her beautiful watercolor supplies freely.” One can see the influence of watercolors in her work, today, by the way her colors interact and flow.
With her good luck charm at hand – a small driftwood painting created by her daughter, India, when she was a child (she’s now 26) that says she loves her – Hadley paints daily from her Newport home studio. Over the last few years, she’s concentrated on horizons, using oil and cold wax, to reflect the landscape’s constantly changing color and light, especially of the horizons here in Newport. She achieves this and then some as the gentle brush strokes of colors relax and calm the senses.
Besides her grandmother, Hadley credits her influences and supporters as her teachers, such as print maker Margot Rubin, and students that she’s had over the course of her career. She also benefited from attending The New York Studio School in New York City.
Hadley’s delightful work is available at Wald & Sea, 107 Spring Street, as well as at the Art Cafe in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
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