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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Annandale artist inspired by nature, travel

Helen Barsalou at
Gallery West
It’s always a nice surprise to meet creative people in Annandale. Artist Helen Dilley Barsalou paints watercolors often inspired by her travels and nature.

Her most recent show, at Gallery West in Old Town, Alexandria, featured “Moldau Visions,” a series of paintings based on Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s “Die Moldau.” The music, which describes the course of the Moldau River from the mountains of Bohemia and through the city of Prague and the valleys beyond, is reflected in Borsalu’s paintings.

Otter Point, Maine
Other watercolors and collages in the show depicted landscapes along other European rivers, as well as flowers and animals.

Barsalou has been drawing and painting since her childhood in a small town in South Dakota.

After studying commercial art at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., she got a job at Hallmark, producing greeting cards. “They taught us to draw animals and make them cute,” she recalls.

After moving to the Washington area, Barsalou worked in design studios, then became the art director for an international research and development corporation.

She later spent 18 years teaching watercolor for Fairfax County Adult Education and collage for the Art League in Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory. She is also a “founding mother” of Potomac Valley Watercolorists.

The shed at the Broyhill
Crest Recreation Club
Now, retired, Barsalou spends her time traveling and painting in the studio in her Annandale home.

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