Heidi West currently lives and works in Denver, CO and is a fourth-generation native of the state. Her work is inspired by the majesty and beauty of the natural world and the story that environment writes on our hearts and lives. She holds a bachelor of fine arts from Colorado State University and is licensed to teach K-12art & elementary education in the state of Colorado. She currently teaches kindergarten at Aurora Public Schools.
“There is an inextricable link between the people we become and the land we inhabit. My work is about environmentalism. I do not mean environmentalism in terms of natural resources or conservation, but in terms of the emotional, cognitive, and developmental relationships between self and surroundings. We place our unique mark on the spaces we inhabit and they in turn place their mark on us. The characters that make up the cast of humanity are written on the land upon which we build and the spaces we decorate.
“In our westernized, American society, it is easy to forget about the rituals and traditions that we inherit in cultural and physical lineage. We believe that there is nothing special about the mundane warp and weft of our daily lives—and yet our unique settings are who we become. No two people are alike and we each have something valuable to contribute to the circles in which we move.
“I do not use photo reference in the creation of these works nor do I work much in plein air—my landscapes are the product of an inner vision, going deeper than mere observation. Memory is the reference from which I draw these scenes and most of these landscapes are based on environments ingrained in my psyche through continual connection to the site. My intent is not to represent a site for its own merit, but to bring the viewer into an experiential understanding of the physical space as a part of my own personal history. Just as memory and perception go beyond visual understanding, I hope to convey a sense of nostalgia or other mood through color, perspective, and treatment.
“In recording my internal perceptions of my external world, I hope that I am adding my own voice to the human story. I know little about the range of ethnic cultures from which my blood originates, but the landscape of the Colorado Front Range is written on my skin and its red earth is under my nails. I have only read about far off peoples and have been but a tourist in other cities, but the groves in the roads I travel daily bear my contribution to the communal carve. It is easy to forget the significance of each small ritual, each small detail of my daily spaces, but I cannot forget that these small details, like the cracks in a sidewalk, are all a part of me.”
You can find more of West’s work at her studio at Globeville Riverfront Arts Center, or online at https://heidwest.wixsite.com/painting.