We had the good fortune of connecting with Helen Buck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Helen, do you have any interesting experiences or advice related to making friends as an adult?
I have to say that I’ve enjoyed longterm friendships from my childhood into adulthood. Those are special for sure but the friends I made and am making in my adult life are deliberate and not quite as dependent on chance alone. Think about that. It’s by chance you were seated next to “MaryJo” in first grade. You got to know her and share life experiences throughout your younger school years. Those experiences are deep connections and can last a lifetime. As an adult, you are busy learning and growing independently from institutional settings; even family. You experiment with friend-making. Still, coincidence, kismet, chance meetings, and shared interests all work to bring new people into your life. But now, you have those life experiences to help guide you in who exactly you wish in to invite into your circle. It’s choices that make the difference in adult friendships. For me, I choose to actively work at my friendships with those who I find lift me up while honoring our individuality. We don’t have to agree on everything. We don’t have to have the same interests. We don’t have to vote the same way; shop at the same stores; share the same friends; be in the same age group, nationality, gender group, spiritual path, or financial position. In fact, nurturing friendships of widely different beliefs, in my humble opinion, adds to the overall understanding and tolerances lacking in our general public today. Please understand that this does not mean I accept abuse in order to maintain a friendship. Far from it. I actively choose to end a relationship when I find an abuse of the friendship to be consistently or often present. Again, it is the acceptance by both parties to honor the likenesses as well as the differences of each other; an unspoken “NAMASTE”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am in a particularly challenging period in my life and my creative career. But then so is everyone as we attempt to find our way through this crisis of a pandemic. As a student at the University of Cincinnati (DAAP) art school, I did not envision the path I would take. Then in my first working studio at the Pendelton Building in Cincinnati, the seed of that dream, working as a full-time artist, was planted. At that time, I used my art as a way to express some very deep and dark times of my youth. The odd thing was that next to these very dark pieces, my studio visitors would find large scale oil paintings of carousel horses, botanicals, and landscapes. Though challenges arose, I continued my creative practice. First moving my studio to the basement of my home and taking a part-time job in a gallery, then a sales position in the events and tradeshow industry and later taking a full-time job which led to an executive sales position after a move to Dallas. This position was not in the art community and my studio practice took a back seat for about 10 years. I still had a large studio in the attic of my home but my production of art was quite small compared to earlier days. The corporate world offered financial success but emotional turmoil. Through many hours of self-examination and study, the image of my future became clear. I quit my career in sales and dedicated myself to my studio practice. I’ve experienced many ups and downs throughout this process. Entering fairs, winning sword, rejections, gallery representation, one-woman shows, building a list of collectors, and more. My art took a decided leap forward when I began working more earnestly by studying strong women throughout history and painting a series. This is an ever-evolving concept that began honoring strong women and has become more of a political statement. I moved my studio to the Texas Hill Country and enjoy the countryside from my studio deck while painting outdoors when the weather allows. My story is still unfolding, however. The current political climate is certainly taking a central role in my creative thinking but to keep my sanity, I found another creative outlet and that is gardening. With six acres to play with, I am planting trees, flowers, and yes, vegetables. The physical exertions of moving piles of topsoil, mulch, and compost have given me time away from thinking about that political climate. But studio time is still my top priority. I look forward to sharing my work that comes from this isolation as I am only isolated from people and not from the world. The internet is a double-edged award after all!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My friend is visiting for a week! What fun. Here is how I’d like to spend the time so I’m making this list available to my friend as a suggestion of what we can do: Days 1 and 2 – Tour Texas Hill Country and stay at the Lucky Arrow Retreat. From there, we can drive the scenic highway and experience the beauty of spring flowers blanketing the roadside in blues, reds, yellows and more. There are so many chances to see herds of longhorn as well. -This area is also second only to Napa Valley for wineries so we have our pick for wine tours -The Texas Hill Country Olive Company also has tours of their olive orchards, olive press processes, and tasting room. Lunch here is a must. -Fredericksburg, Texas is at least one whole day of exploring the history of this German settlement and enjoying a wide range of dining. -Caverns and natural wonders in the hill country include Enchanted Rock, Longhorn Caverns, Hamilton Pool, and Jacobs Well. Day 3 and 4 -Heading up to DFW along the scenic highway, we can see if the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells has tours yet. They are bringing this beauty back to life from years of neglect. It was once a retreat and spa catering to the rich and famous. -There are at least 2 museums in Ft Worth we must see (The Kimball Art Museum and The National Cowgirl Museum) more if we have time. Day 5 -Dallas is so big and offers so many things to do so let’s stay one night and pick one thing. I suggest the Arboretum and we can make reservations for the Tea Garden lunch! Day 6 – Denton is a wonderful little college town that we must visit. The town square is lively and historic plus my daughter lives there so we must visit! Day 7 – Driving down to Waco we pass by West Texas so we may as well go to the Czech Stop. – Waco is also a college town but it is so much more. Let’s plan to stop at the Magnolia Market and then work off our lunch by hiking around Cameron Park That is a pretty full schedule! We can add more depending on what we see as we drive. Maybe we will find the “road less traveled” and really go on an adventure!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to Creatives! All creatives in the world but more specifically, the creatives in my world who help me stay directed and focused through regular discussions and support: THE SALON! This is a group of creative people formed many years ago as “Artists Friends Discussion Group.” We would meet on irregular bases at different locations and recently, on a monthly bases at Link and Pin Gallery. The owner of this gallery is an active member of our group, supporting creatives of all types. But now, with the Covid19 Shelter in Place order, we meet weekly through Zoom for updates in our own studio practices, success, difficulties, anxieties, joy, and camaraderie. It is my intention to continue and grow this group of mostly visual artists to include performing artists, poets, authors, actors, and other forms of creatives. Diversity and creativity are, in my opinion, inseparable. So a big, shout out to our current SALON and it’s inseparable, kind, and altruistic support!
Since I was only able to upload 2 images, I chose one of me in a fun, action – walking the plank 3 stories above the ground at one of the homes in the “Weird Home Tour” of Austin The second picture is my rendering of Indira Gandhi taken from a photo provided by the Indian Government. Since this is a public figure, I did not need to ask for permission. Title, Indira Gandhi-loved, hated, admired, Medium – oil on canvas,