Tuesday 22nd February 2022 sees the grand opening of an exhibition of new rainforest paintings by renowned artist and Saban resident of 36 years, Heleen Cornet. The collection is entitled “Finding Heleen” and, unsurprisingly for an exhibition held on 22.2.2022, it comprises 22 paintings. Having spent endless days and nights camping out in the rainforest, sketching studies, taking photographs, and noting the constantly changing light and patterns created, the idea of displaying these new works in their natural environment became an increasingly exciting prospect for Heleen. And so the idea emerged of opening this exhibition in one of Saba’s most accessible areas of rainforest.
Therefore, for one afternoon only, next Tuesday, this magnificent collection of paintings will be hung on trees bordering the trail between the Trail Shop and the Gazebo, in Windwardside. The meeting point for the grand opening of the exhibition will be the Trail Shop in Windwardside and the exhibition will be opened by Heleen’s husband Tom van’t Hof at 4pm. Food and refreshments will be provided by Juliana’s Hotel and Five Square Art Gallery.
Any paintings that remain unsold after this opening day will be on exhibition and available for purchase at Five Square Art Gallery from Friday 25th February. Not only is this Heleen’s most comprehensive exhibition of large rainforest paintings ever, but sadly, it is also likely to be her last: progressive cataract issues have led Heleen to take the extremely difficult decision that she should cease painting large canvases whilst she is still at the top of her game.
For those who are unfamiliar with Heleen’s background, she has been at the top of her game for many, many years. She arrived on Saba with her husband Tom and two children in 1986, with a Master’s in fine arts. After three years teaching art at the Saba Comprehensive School, she became a full-time artist, opening her own gallery and also publishing several books in partnership with her husband.
Heleen initially only worked in watercolor on paper until she found that the paper was ‘getting too small’. A switch to canvas and oils necessitated studies in this medium in Amsterdam with well-known artist Rik Lina. In the years since Heleen has switched between oils and watercolors and has also produced many mixed media pieces and incorporated gold and copper leaf in order to capture the luminosity of the rainforest due to the intense humidity. Heleen is also the inspiration for a group of talented Saba artists who meet and paint every Saturday, and she painted a large mural at the Catholic Church in the Bottom in which she combined rainforest scenes with religious symbols. Heleen has exhibited in the Caribbean, Sao Paulo Brazil, New York City, Curacao and has had many exhibitions throughout her native Holland.
Heleen looks forward to welcoming you next Tuesday. All are welcome, so please tell your friends. For those unable to attend, please email Gersh Geenty at Five Square Art Gallery for images, sizes, and prices of available paintings; these will be emailed from Wednesday 23rd onwards. email@example.com