Artist in residence

Linda Helton Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Linda Helton has an art degree and a 15-year career as a freelance illustrator. But the Lakewood resident has her first solo exhibition as an artist this month with “Best Friends” at the Davis Foundry Gallery in Oak Cliff. Helton’s paintings of pets and their people are in a folk-art style, and they were inspired by our neighborhood. “A lot of the paintings are based on the people around here,” she says. Some are people she knows, like the lady down the street who has two wirehair terriers. Others, like the guy who walks two great Danes past Helton’s house every day, are just people she sees all the time but doesn’t really know. The paintings are about how we interact with one another through our pets, Helton says. Some paintings are based on photographs, others are from memory, and Helton also takes creative license, adding a calico cat here and a harlequin Dachshund there as the pictures come together. Helton has started branching out into fine art because the illustration business is so slow, she says. Helton’s living room is decorated with folk-art masks and striking paintings from outsider artists. Even though Helton is an insider, she says she prefers to work in a primitive style. “It’s what I like in art, so that’s what I try to do,” she says.


See “Best Friends” at Davis Foundry Gallery, 509 W. Davis, 214.948.6969, through Sept. 29. A reception for the artist is from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

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