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Heide Hayek


“It all began in first grade.  One day our art teacher taught us the color wheel and then, if that were not exciting enough, she then showed us how to mix primary colors and create secondary colors. I was hooked.  My life then proceeded in the usual way I finished my education with a liberal arts degree and then did a couple of years teaching English in Asia and traveling. I traveled to many countries and took thousands of photos. However, I was always disappointed when I got the photos back. (This was back in the days of 35 mm film and having to WAIT for your pictures.)  They never quite made me feel like I felt when I was there.  

I returned to college to get licensed to teach art but discovered along the way that I wanted to do the painting. I then studied with professional oil painters and found that they had very different ideologies, and it was very difficult to merge them into my own style. For example, one year I attempted to transition from the formal ideals of the Old Masters to the Barbizon School and then mix it all up in the color palette of the Impressionists.  I  learned everything from the old glazing method to alla prima. But things didn’t really clear up until I saw the paintings of Joaquin  Sorolla y Bastida, a Spanish painter crossing from the 19th century to the 20th.  He painted outdoor coastal scenes in  everyday poses. He was influenced by the then new invention of the camera and the candid scenes it provided.

Then I found myself frustrated by trying to paint my native East Coast of North America with Sorolla’s  sunny and warm Mediterranean palette.  The East Coast of the United States provides a much cooler light. The next exciting discovery was that of the paintings of Edward Henry Potthast, an American Impressionist. He too had been influenced by Sorolla’s work and lived and painted  the American East coast concurrently while Sorolla was painting the Valencian Spanish coast. Someday I hope to paint the Mediterranean Spanish coast, but for now my American East coast is a plethora of possibilities.

I paint predominately en plein air and have place three out of five times in a Paint Out in my local area ( plein air means outside on the spot) but I often take one of my plein air paintings and from it develop a larger studio work  (or from photographs, when time is limited).   

I would not be painting at all were it not for the generous support of my husband. My husband is the sort of person who can do everything and fix anything.  He is musically talented, formerly a navy hardhat diver and currently a physician.  He has financed all my art education, built me a studio and has even gotten me into galleries. 

My paintings can currently be found in two New England Galleries, Geary Gallery in Darien, CT and Handwright Gallery in New Canaan, CT.  I am also entering the 41st Mark Twain Library Art show this fall.”