Louise Heller is the perfect example of someone with a vocation. She began drawing and painting as a child and has never stopped. When Louise was in her late teens, she had to choose between art and music, and fortunately for us, she chose art. Looking closely at her work, you can find musical echoes in her paintings, as if, in the end, she had the capability of joining both disciplines into a single work.

If you watch Louise while she creates art, you will be convinced she thinks with her hands. She works quickly and applies the first colours with precise movements. After building up several layers with contrasting colours, the painting eventually begins to take shape. Louise works directly on the canvas, and continues until she produces a result that is an example of pure fresh art. It is as if John Ruskin’s famous sentence was written for her: In art less is more.

Louise’s work has passed through different stages that have been influenced by her living environment. While studying Fine Art in Sweden, her palette was dark and intense. Her work consisted of portraits, internal visions, and self-portraits – a theme that has developed throughout her career.

While in Kenya, Louise let the landscape come into her canvas. Wild and wide horizons appeared in light and bright colours. At times, her paintings seem to be constructed in planes armed as puzzles- a distant resemblance to de Staël. During this stage, she produced fine abstract paintings, and showed her work in solo exhibitions in Kenya and Uganda. She also began teaching young artists, by giving workshops during her time in East Africa.

In Mexico, where she resided for twenty years, one can see yet again, the influence of light and the vibrancy of the culture that surrounded her. Louise continued with painting landscapes, portraits, the exotic marine world, and a mural, which took a year to complete, and which was donated to the Health Centre of Tepoztlán. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and cultural centres in various Mexican states and been published in magazines and newspapers.

In the beginning of 2019, Louise returned to the UK after having lived and worked abroad for almost 40 years. Her new home is the city of Norwich. The most recent collection of paintings is influenced by her impressions of the city and the countryside of Norfolk. 

Fernando Alba,
Artist and Art Historian,
National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Portrait photos of Louise Heller
by Luisa Paloma Alba Heller