Local artist Helen Youngblood has come a long way from St. Louis, Missouri. This local community member has lived in Marina del Rey for more than 25 years, drawn from the Midwest “for love.”

“I was born in St. Louis and came out here more than 25 years ago, because I was dating somebody,” Youngblood says. “Love led me to L.A., and a love for L.A. made me stay.”

Working as an administrator for a law firm in Century City, Youngblood has kept her “day job” and paints whenever else she has time.

“I work full-time so I paint at night, after work, during weekends and on vacations,” she says. “It’s a passion and I would like to support myself with it.”

Having worked in the legal industry for most of her adult life, she doesn’t make her painting widely known at work.

“You’re operating out of two separate sides of your brain (at work and in painting),” she says. “My creativity really comes out when I plan events for the firm, because I have an artistic eye, but it’s almost like I’m two different persons.

“On the one hand I’m very methodical and analytical, but then I have this creative side too.”

An old airplane hangar serves as an art studio in the Santa Monica Airport where Youngblood creates her works, which she describes as “abstract expressionist.”

“I paint in the abstract, and don’t use imagery,” she says. “It’s all about movement, color and design when I build my paintings. I don’t start off with any clear idea of what I’m going to do, it emerges out of an intuitive process.”

The movement is clear in her work, inspired by her love for dance. Having studied with dancer Ana Halpern, who combines the use of dance and art to enhance left brain activity, Youngblood builds layers of paint in a spontaneous, action-style of painting.

“Many times the painting will be many paintings on top of the other, with layers of collage, and I’ll use oil crayon too, so it’s a mixed media work,” Youngblood says. “I just keep on applying layers until intuitively the work feels done.”

Youngblood will be featured in the Art Rental & Sales Gallery at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) through February 21st, at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. An opening reception is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, January 11th.

“Presently LACMA is my only exhibit, and I’m very excited and honored that I can be included and have my work exhibited there,” Youngblood says.

Information, www.helen youngblood.com/.

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