Artistís Statement               Click photo to enlarge.

"I am a realistic and narrative painter.  My goal is to tell a story that connects people to nature. My favorite subjects are found in the dynamic and diverse stories I have discovered while exploring the rainforests of South America and the wilderness in North America.

I have an insatiable curiosity about what I see in remote and wilderness places.  These collections of images and visual relationships rush though my mind and emerge as statements about who we are as a society, and how connected or disconnected we are with the natural world.    Each painting contains a point of convergence; a single pivotal idea.  I purposefully control luminosity, composition, value and the subtle building of color to support that central idea.  

Where do humans fit in a self-sustaining environment?   What I find unique about the mix of business, arts, and education is that these disciplines are the best vehicles to inform and communicate the importance of inter-relationships. We need to understand these relationships in order to find the best ways to co-exist with people and nature."

What I find intriguing about realistic, narrative painting is that both the artist and the viewer can relate on so many complex and inter-connected levels.  "Each painting for me is a personal odyssey of questioning, reacting, and resolving my own impact on my surroundings.  Through the process of creating art, I resolve my place in the world and my effect in the scheme of things".

Artist's History                       Click photos to enlarge.

Mary Work Table m.jpg (48161 bytes)I am an artist, nature photographer, business owner, and a wildlife film producer.  I have lived and worked in Colorado Springs since 1976.  I was raised and educated in California and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art degree with a minor in life science from San Francisco State University.

I studied at close hand the Master lithographs and etching in the  Aukenbach Collection at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Art under direction from Dennis Beall  and John Ihle.  I studied painting, drawing and photography under Photo Realist painter Robert Bechtle  and west coast photographer Jack Welpot.

In 1991, I was invited to participate in Master watercolor and compositional workshops with Realist painters Sondra Freckelton  and Jack Beal .  In conjunction with editor Stephen Doherty  of American Artist Magazine, Freckelton and Beal, we produced a video program demonstrating their approach to composition and watercolor techniques. 

In the summer of 1991 was I was juried into a Master painting workshop with renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman  sponsored by the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.

My insatiable curiosity about the natural world has lead me to to many photography and filming expeditions. I have traveled in Central and South America, Mexico, and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean with my partner and cinematographer, Neal Williams.

Beginning in 1989, I decided to produce a collection of watercolor paintings that capture a different kind of image; one that utilizes interpretation without moving pictures and a camera.

I painted a series of work about the rainforest because I feel passionate about what I experienced in one of the wildest pristine places on the planet.  I was overwhelmed by the diversity, and fascinated by the dynamics of the rainforest ecosystem. 

Mary Climbing Tower m.jpg (31296 bytes)The pervasive themes that weave through this series of paintings is the question, "Where do people fit in the natural world?   What is the important connection people sense with nature?"  On a personal level, these paintings are about the exploration of my impact on my surroundings.

What motivates me to produce a particular image is very ordinary.  I may be walking a trail, taking a photograph,  and I see something I have never seen before.  I may be listening to the news, a song or socializing with friends and family.

The image will pop into my mind, almost complete.  I will recall this image many times during my normal routine.  Reworking it, refining it, until I think I can lock it into a drawing.  Sometimes I must write about the image before I can begin drawing it.  Once the idea is drawn and balanced, I will break the image into dark and light values, and warm and cool colors.  I use these preliminary sketches as reference tools throughout the painting  process.

Mary with Kids 1 m.jpg (41995 bytes)With such unusual  and rarely  seen subjects of exotic and unknown plants and insects, I rely on my field notes, sketches, photographs, and film and video footage we have taken, to accurately portray my subjects in the correct  environment. 

I am a realistic, narrative painter.  The paintings are multi-layered for the viewer.    The plants, birds and animals are rendered with care and intimate detail.  As the viewer moves deeper into the work, they will be engaged in a visual dialogue about a relationship, a situation, or a humorous or poignant event between nature and humans.  I hope you can can share these feelings with me through my art.

Biography

Business Woman

As co-owner of SuperFlow Corporation 1973-2000, she has assisted with growth of company from 3 employees to 80 with 3 manufacturing facilities located in Colorado Springs, a sales / service office in Detroit, and in Belgium for European sales & service.

SuperFlow was listed on the "Inc. 500" list in 1985 and is a leading manufacturer of engine test equipment.

SuperFlow designed and manufactured vehicle emissions test dynamometers for the Mexico City, Denver, and Wisconsin Clean Air programs.

SuperFlow was a "BIG Award" recipient for community leadership in business, 1992.

SuperFlow has received the 1994 Governorsí Award for "Excellence in Exporting".

She directed the marketing, advertising, and brochure preparation, coordinated the Advanced Engine Technology Conference, and was Executive Vice President involved with Corporate management responsibilities.

Helsaple was recipient of the Southern Colorado Womenísí Chamber Accolades Award for "1995 Business Leader of the Year".

In March of 1990, SuperFlow Film & Video Productions assembled a documentary program illustrating the abundant wildlife populations in Peru's Manu National Reserve area.  The program was shown to key government officials with assistance from the Association for the Conservation of the Southern Rainforest based in Peru.  The result was official protection of 4.5 million acres of pristine Rainforest called the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve that encompasses one of the most spectacular Macaw and parrot gathering areas in the world.  

Helsaple was an Associate Producer of The Discovery Channel's, "Spirits of the Rainforest", winner of 2 national television Emmy awards in 1994.  

In 1997, SuperFlow produced  Manu; Peruís Hidden Rainforest, for the ABC/PBS Series, The Living Edens .  This program won an 1997 Emmy, and also Best Limited Series  at 1997 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival for wildlife series productions.

Professional Artist Highlights

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Recognized by the Girl Scouts Wagon Wheel Council of Colorado Springs, as one of six  Women of Distinction for the Year 2000, as a community leader and mentor to young girls.

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Recipient of the Colorado Council on the Arts, Year 2000 Governor's Award for service and distinction in the Arts for the State of Colorado. 

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Artist for the CITIES poster, Treasures of the Wetlands, presented to the delegates at the Conference of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands, (Ramsar), held in Costa Rica in 1999. 

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American Artist Magazine, Deep Water,  and Interpretations of the Colorado Landscape, and Artistís in Normandy in 1998.

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Watermedia IX, Silver Medal Award.  Exhibition was nationally juried by master watercolorist, Sondra Freckleton and Carolyn Hoyle, and sponsored by the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society.

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Designed & directed, In the Heart of Our Forest for the Baton Rouge Green Association and WBRZ/TV, in 1997.  An art & educational exhibit of handcrafted trees held at the Louisiana Old State Capital Building in Baton Rouge, LA.

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Collaboration on Rainbow Potatos, with playwright Lance Wedor, and the Watercolor Stories of the Rainforest exhibit, Pike Peak Community College 1997.

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Received the 1996 Arts and Business Education Award for community contribution to the arts for the In the Heart of the Rainforest exhibit, prepared for the Pikes Peak Library District, and the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration. 

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Designed and directed, Earth Sea & Sky, Oh My,  for the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center & Imagination Celebration in 1995.

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Installed the Rainforest Art exhibit at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum in California under a NEA grant, 1995.

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Produced In the Heart of the Rainforest for the Colorado Springs Fine Art CenterImagination Celebration in 1994. Drew 30,000 visitors.

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Co-authored K-12th grade curriculum workbooks on Tropical Rainforest in 1994. 

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Artist for World Wildlife Fund -US and CITES sponsored, International Convention of Parties -94. Painting was selected to be presented to Mollie Battie, Director of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 1994 by CITES and World Wildlife/ Traffic. Painting was used for a Buyer Beware species conservation poster, Wild Treasures of the Caribbean.

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Artist for World Wildlife Fund, US Buyer Beware campaign brochure to preserve endangered species of the Caribbean.  Awarded Washington Ad Press Silver Award  for excellence in printing. Now translated into 5 different languages and distributed by Traffic & World Wildlife Fund, USA in the Caribbean countries. 

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Co-produced a Rainforest school calendar.  100,000 were distributed nationally to teachers for the 1994 school year.

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Featured Artist for CITES 20th Anniversary Celebration in Washington DC, 1993

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Denver Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Exhibition used 12 rainforest Paintings in 1993.

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Contributed photos for book: Peruís Amazonian Eden: MANU, National Park  and Biosphere Reserve,  by Kim MacQuarrie in 1993. 

Major Private Collections:

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 US Fish & Wildlife, Department of the Interior

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 El Pomar Foundation, Collection of Colorado Artists

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 Forbes Magazine Corporate Collection

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 University of Wyoming Art Center 

Community Affiliations

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Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, Steering Committee Chairperson & Executive Board.

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Colorado Springs Fine Art Center- Member

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Manitou - Business of Art Center - Member

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El Paso County Naturalist Docent

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Aiken Audubon Society

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Pike Peak  Watercolor Society, President 2000/2001

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Colorado Artists Association

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Trails and Open Space

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UCCS Gallery Ė Member

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Nature Conservancy

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Palmer Foundation

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Southern Colorado Womenís Chamber of Commerce

National Affiliations

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Friends of the Peruvian Rainforest, Board of Directors

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Colorado Springs Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration, Board of Directors

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Conservation Treaty Support Funds & CITES Ambassadors Club, International ambassador to preserve and protect wild flora and fauna worldwide.

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American Birding Association, Life Member

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National Audubon Society

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Wildlife Conservation Society

 

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Copyright 2007 Mary Helsaple          Email:  mary@helsaple.com
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