Finding Solace in the Brush: Monica Hebert's Soulful Exploration of Painting and Personal Expression
Painting is as close to God as I could ever be: This is my story.
"I am the last of five children. Our home was chaotic: constant action of somebody doing something, saying something, singing something, making music, etc. Politics was discussed at dinner. It was a stimulating environment for a little girl born who was much unlike her siblings; I was an introvert. They are wonderful extroverts and all many years older than I. . Recoiling into myself and my mind, I would paint clouds as my way of managing the emotional ups and downs of a very busy family. I never actually consciously thought about becoming a painter; it was just my means of escaping as a child.
Much later in life after the birth of my second child, I discovered the many different “ learn how” to paint programs on PBS. This sparked my imagination. I could feel my soul -which had been dormant for a very long time - begin to awaken. I soaked up every program I could manage while being a mom, managing my job, and of course the 24/7 job of a preacher’s wife. Those “ how to” shows became my solace, my sanctuary, my secret. I did not take myself seriously for years upon years. It was just a nice church ladies hobby. I was, at the time, a preacher’s wife.
Then I moved to New York City.
The idea of creating art for the sake of art exploded in my mind. I could go days upon days not leaving my art space, because I was so in love with the process. Yet, here I was, in the art capital of the world. I would, then, push myself to get out and take in all I could: The MOMA, the Metropolitan, the Guggenheim, The NY Students Art League Gallery, and many, many small galleries down in the Village. Sometimes I would meet a friend for lunch in one of the major museums . We’d enjoy really good food, then soak up the beauty of the art - for hours. Looking back those were passages of bliss in my life. Art was everywhere ! In the synagogue and sanctuaries, in the coffee shops, in the bars, in the restaurants- all professional level work created by the next big name. That often made me feel small and wonder why I bothered. The answer always came from within, I bother because my soul insists upon it. It is as necessary to me as breathing. I must do something with color every day.
Cooking is often the choice for my creativity, as I tend to let work sit on my easel while I contemplate the next move. I could be blocked - not having a clue or feeling about what to do next- and then voila! Like magic as I am cooking, the inspiration for the painting sitting on my easel pops into my mind. Then, the floodgates of ideas open and my hands work it's hard to keep up with my mind. It’s exhilarating!! From time to time I am asked to do a painting demonstration. I simply can’t. I am not methodical at all, which is required to do a demonstration. My work is by pure inspiration. I never know what a finished painting will be until it's finished! Painting is a very personal and intimate process for me, requiring me to get out of the way and just listen to the spirit within me."