Rachel Heusner is a Belizean who lives in Trinidad and Tobago; but her love for Belize and her passion for painting soon infused to create works of art. With a wide collection that dates way back to the mid 1980’s, Heusner paints to tell stories. Over the last two decades, she travelled across the Caribbean where she captured sceneries on canvass and put her work on exhibition. Heusner told News Five that her most recent exploration is in the use of coffee in art; it may seem rather unconventional, but then, art isn’t. Inspired by dabbling in the coffee-art form, Heusner has plans to pen a coffee-table book with recipes. But that hasn’t stopped her from coming to Belize to put an exhibition of her paintings. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at the Image Factory for a chat with the artist.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
“Precious Moments,” like buying that sweet treat from the paletas man; craboo season in Belize or even a hummingbird during a mid-air flight may strike a chord with some; invoke a sense of the child hood years. And for Belizean artist, Rachel Heusner who now resides in Trinidad, these moments are so priceless they are a mandatory part of her painting repertoire.
Rachel Heusner, Artist
“I think I try to find things that in life that we would look at and go like, “that’s a precious moment,” like the pieces with the hummingbirds; you know when you catch a hummingbird, because they move so fast, it’s a moment, you know. Like the one with the paletas man and the kids running down the road, you know when you’re little that’s a special thing for you to catch up with him. I have one called craboos season, for me this is my moment because in coming to Belize I like to come when it’s craboos season because I don’t get craboo in Tobago which is where I’m living, so that’s special for me.”
While these pieces are done in Trinidad & Tobago, this exhibition tells stories of Belize. One of her favorites is this 2008 painting of a Belize City tailor:
“That’s uhhh, I’m not even sure if the shop is still there. That was an old man on Sartsoon Street I think, Vernon Street it is. I think he was practically blind and I took that photography of him and it was amazing to see he was still sewing people’s clothes and so on; but that, I love that painting.”
Heusner, a veteran of the canvas for over twenty five years, mixes and experiments with colors and textures:
“Well, I’ve been working with water colors for quite a few years and in between I splice in some oils, some acrylics and recently I started working with coffee and you know, it is a little novel idea and I love the tones that I get in it so I just continued with coffee. After that I started working with things that are found in the environment; stuff you might throw away, my take on going green. So I’d pieces on just found objects.”
And with those found objects, she brings her pieces to life; works that are centered on the Caribbean:
“Well, I’m always fascinated with architecture of the Caribbean; architecture for here, for Tobago, Barbados, where-ever I’ve been. That says a lot about the things I do. I like doing stuff with people. I like pictures that tell stories; you know they always say a picture tells a thousand words. And I find that a painting itself, when you look at it you’re supposed to be able to relate and try to figure what is going on; what is that all about.”
As a career artist, Heusner says passion is a must; and carving a niche for yourself is also critical to make it in the business:
“I’m not gonna lie, the art field is a difficult one; but as an artist a lot of what you do is for your own personal fulfillment. If you only look at it as, you’re going in and you’re going to make millions, you may not make any. I’ve seen people that have great skill their work may not have the flair that a buyer might like and you might find somebody with a lot less skill that people might like and say I just love it, I don’t care if it’s crooked nor perfect. What I would say is that if you love the art, you do it. What happens with a lot of artists is that they end up subsidizing their work with a lot of other thing so there are a lot of angles to go in; you can be a graphic artist, you can do t-shirts, you can do advertising, you can teach, yuh know.”
Precious Moments opens on Tuesday at the Image Factory and runs through until Friday. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
You can meet the artist at the opening at seven p.m. on Tuesday. Pieces from the “Precious Moments” exhibition will be on sale.