I paint because I love messing about with paints. Also I love how the light of changing weather and changing seasons affects colour, and how our Fundy tides change the coastal landscape hourly. I also enjoy shapes and their relationships to each other, especially those of sheds, roofs, and parts of buildings. I love seeing, looking at this world we live in, and recording my responses to it.
I paint on site, outdoors, up to about 150-kilometres (90-miles) from home. In Nova Scotia this includes the French Shore, the South Shore, the Annapolis Valley, and the Fundy Shore just over North Mountain from where I live. For a week or two each summer I paint in the area where I used to live in New Brunswick; the Passamaquoddy Bay area, especially Deer Island NB and Eastport, Maine, as well as inland on the ridges of Charlotte County NB.
I paint our landscape because of its beauty, its fragility, and our vanishing way of life, along with the changes of each season.
In winter I work mostly indoors; still lifes, house plants, and interiors express my pleasure in the dailyness of home life. This interest in home might come from having moved frequently and my fondness for building; I have designed and helped build two houses as well as planning and often helping to work on five major renovations.
Helen Opie was born in England, raised in the US during and after WW II, and moved to Canada in 1977.
She majored in studio art at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio; earned an M.Ed. from Boston University. She has taught grade one, gardening, and art to people of all ages. She was a back-to-the-lander, homesteading from 1964 to 1990.
Helen Opie was taught to paint abstractly and non-objectively when in college, but turned to figurative painting after graduation. Her interest in visual perception may account for this shift: she simply enjoys having sight and celebrates that along with her love of where she lives.
She enjoys being retired so she can paint more. She has no major accomplishments, her major distinction is in belonging to that group of people who are happy; nor has she any claim to fame other than being the oldest outdoors painter in her area.