Klebesadel Spinster

The Spinster by Helen Klebesadel

Watercolor on Paper, 1996 48x45 inches


Helen Klebesadel is known for her watercolors focused on environmental and women-centered themes. An artist, educator and activist for over three decades, her watercolors on paper and canvas push boundaries in scale, content, and technique. Exhibited nationally and internationally her art is represented in many public and private art collections.




I believe the act of making art can be an act of self-determination and empowerment. My paintings examine how in re-claiming, re-visioning, and re-membering ourselves as whole people, we bring our art, our action, and our voices to the world. We have to be able to imagine the world we want in order to achieve it. In our creative work, it is important that we notice and examine how awareness occurs on the path to finding a creative and critical voice. When we recognize that our place in the world is a part of larger social patterns, we can start to change those patterns to create the world we want to live in.

Fascinated by what our myths teach us about who we are supposed to be, I use my art to re-tell stories. My spinster is named ‘Arachne’ and is a powerful self-defined artist; ‘Nature’ questions its place and seeks to understand and include us; and Medusa takes back her head. They are metaphors for acceptance and re-integration of those things we were taught to devalue or fear. In Greek mythology it was not Medusa’s power, but who controlled it that was at issue. ‘Re-membering’ means taking back the power of self-definition and re-visioning a world where women and nature have agency.

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