Stanley is a classic storyteller. As an artist or her work involves a media and contains movement, mystery and suspense; as a wife and mother, she basks in the vital role of nurturer, and as a teacher she stretches her own horizons with and parking was thinking from a lot time of pursuing her art.
Stanley recognizes her "stories" - visual experiences that come to her, often in the form of dreams and the daydreams -in a journal , which then becomes the sketchbook from which she distills the dreams into paintings . Once she is dedicated as an artist, working up to 40 hours a week at her studio, but she also enjoys teaching, privately and at a nearby colleges: " Painting is so egocentric, so solitary, it's nice to get outside yourself, " she says of her passion the passing it on.
Helen Stanley Group in Farmington, Mexico, the past 20 years she has lived in San Rafael, Calif., just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Married to sculpture Rodger Jacobsen , when she met while a student at San Francisco Art Institute, the couple lives with their 17 year-old son on a wooded acre of land in Marin county. Here Stanley enjoys the luxury of spontaneous walks through dense woods all the way to the sea. She is usually accompanied by her to dogs and often laden with enough art supplies to complete small paintings on location.
Despite avant-garde training in abstract expressionism at the Art Institute of San Francisco ("I drove up their from Farmington with my older brother and a pickup truck, " she recalls, laughing at her own fresh out of high school naiveté) and the degree in print making, Stanley found herself a strong desire to return to drawing.
"In those days, and painted have the, dark, campuses, but I never did feel like that macho paint was me. After less the institute, I took two years off from my art to study seriously with a fine chef.
"Cooking, I found, had absolutes; you put many hours of effort into a work that is consumed in minutes. It teaches you to let go, " Stanley says, adding that she found a definite and valuable connection between this and her painting .
Although Stanley's enjoyment of cooking continues -"I like the nurturing aspects of it when " -she resumed painting after the birth of her son Jessie, self -nicknamed " Zero. "
The household at that time also included two stepdaughters, Zoe now 24 and Kelcey now 28.
" When I started painting again, I did a lot of watercolor for the next 10 years. I could be small pieces, and because it was nontoxic, I didn't have to worry about leaving it out. Watercolor works in well with the interruptions in a typical of child-ring, said she can put down a washed and then come back to it later. My work then was very accurate and realistic, and included a lot of still lifes."
Today Stanley still love to draw, and for work remains, in many ways accurate and realistic. But it evolves and the influence of her early days in New Mexico has emerged as the dominant theme." Despite all those years and Marin County, I am still a New Mexico girl, " she says laughing.
From early childhood, when her interest in art became obvious, Stanley enjoyed the complete support and encouragement of for parents. Her father, a petroleum geologist, and her mother , a school teacher, met in Socorro, New Mexico and later moved to Farmington.
Stanley recalls her own fascination with a rich material culture of the pre historic Anasazi, as well as the modern Navajo, Apache and Ute , that was so abundant around Farmington, located and the Four Corners region." You couldn't walk across the football field and at Farmington high without picking up chunks of prehistoric pot shards.
"I have an emotional relationship with American Indians, rather than a logical or historical one. This has helped to open my eyes of the cultures of the world and the objects people make, both practical and spiritual and has given me confidence to explore my own architectural artistic expressions. "
A strong theme and Stanley's current work is her interest in vessels or containers-like objects that she often cuts out into freeing and-form shapes, adding a third dimension, or at least an illusion of one. Sometimes the vessel is literal, such as a detailed oil painting of an Anasazi bolt tilted towards the viewer with a ladder extending of from the base. But other times it is implied, such as a richly rendered pastel of a shaft of light eliminating a portion of space contained within a kiva.
Stanley also admits to the influence of living have for lifetime with a sculptor (Rodger Jacobsen as a welder who works primarily in steel, and much of her own art is concerned with shape and volume. "The way light falls on and on to it kills one and understanding of volume, " she says.
And within that space, lie the drama and mystery i.e. the story, which Stanley starts and the viewer must finish. " Like many visual artist, I find it difficult to explain what and why I paint . It's a mystery to me and I do not want to disturb it, just to let it be an intuitive and expressive as possible. "
Like all good mysteries, one cannot help but be drawn into the story of a Stanley painting.