THAYER -- A new exhibit opened June 15 at the Chestnut Hill Gallery in downtown Thayer. It is titled Della and Company. It features art work by Della Helt of Mammoth Spring and her students. Also featured will be the work of Marjorie Jane Todd and her author husband, Doug Todd from Warm Springs, Ark.
Helt is a self-taught artist who experiments with many styles of painting in oil, acrylic and mixed media. She has been teaching art classes for many years and recently has been holding sessions at the Country Music Theater in Thayer.
She was born in the small town of Macs Creek, Mo. Her love for art started when she was a small child watching her grandmother pick out different colors, patterns and materials for her quilt making. Helt would do the same with her crayons. Through the years of raising a family and still having a love of art she continued drawing and painting.
In 1972 she became good friends with a renowned artist in southwest Missouri who became a mentor and a teacher. This allowed her to learn about painting in oils, her main interest. In the last 10 years she has added acrylic and mixed media painting which she also loves to do. She said "Art is just a part of me, and with me at all times."
She sees nature and all objects in her daily life with an artistic eye. "Art sooths my soul for I am at peace when I paint," she said. She enjoys teaching and sharing her expertise with others. She believes everyone has art inside themselves. She says all they have to do is let it out and express themselves with hands and mind.
Doug and Marjorie Todd moved to the Ozarks in the late 1960s. After her children were grown, Marjorie decided to return to college and peruse the subject she loved; art. She had always painted and the countryside around her home afforded her an endless supply of subjects. She attended Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge and received a bachelor of fine arts degree. Her favorite media is oil paint. She said she draws on the world around her for inspiration. Some of her work reflects a love of a life style that has all but disappeared from the modern world. Her work has been in many area art exhibits and received several awards.
Doug Todd is an author and poet. His book Aftermath: A Song For Tyrone contains poems about the Vietnam War, death, pain and healing, from one who was there. He served in the famous 1st Battalion of the 9th Marines known as "The Walking Dead" in Vietnam. His book chronicles the spiritual journey and the visual pain of any warrior in modern times. Todd said he hopes that the newest men and women serving their country in wartime situations will find a connection with soldiers from other conflicts and learn that inner healing is possible. He is also the author of Poems, Pearls & Promises.
The exhibits will run through July 31. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
A special reception for the artists will be heldthe afternoon of July 4 and is open to the public.