by Beth Raebeck Hall

 An erudite painter, Helli Luck lives life through a sentient lens that continually captures images, colors, and the all-important light. “Everything I see is a painting,” she says.

This striking and articulate artist immediately draws one into the warmth of her demeanor and mellifluous Downton Abbey accent. Impressive art, beloved bibelots de la mer, antiques, and many Buddhas fill her home, evidence of a life well lived. A second-floor studio is obviously in use, filled with Luck’s plein-air paintings.

Born in London, with the artistic DNA of her parents, Luck spent her formative years visiting museums and studying the Old Masters throughout Europe. At 14, her work was exhibited in mall galleries near Buckingham Palace.

“London allows people to see the best art there is, anytime, for free. Children develop an appreciation for art and culture early; it’s just part of living there. You can imagine how fabulous it was for a young artist like myself. Sargent, Sorolla, Monet . . . they were all so accessible.” 

Nashville has been home for twenty years and remains a favorite place to be—and be involved. Luck is

excited about the burgeoning art scene and thinks the galleries are top-notch.

The experiences of global foxtrotting leave their indelible fingerprints all over Luck’s paintings. Whether showing a misty-morning London streetscape or a group of thundering steeplechase horses, Luck’s pieces are imbued

with an aesthetic energy and straightforward imagery.

Painting is a singular pursuit for Luck. “I stick with one and see it to the end,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what happens when I stay with it, until I’m done. During the first few seconds, I don’t know what I’m doing. I throw down an impression, loose little pieces of paints, and at the end it all makes the


Luck views color as a language. “I start with the darks, massing in very loose shapes. They keep things quiet and vague, allowing the painting to emerge so when I get to the vivid colors, they really sing,” she says. 

But tripping the light fantastic is undoubtedly the single most important element of her work. “How the light falls on something, what it does to the shapes and the colors is what’s magical. The light is always moving. The movement of light on an animal gives it energy, a dynamic the viewer becomes engaged with,” she explains.

Painting trips with other artists inspire Luck. “I love to pack up my paintbox and travel, especially with other painters,” she notes. “It feeds me, and I learn so much from each one. Whether it’s great artist/teachers such as Quang Ho, Ron Hicks, and Nancy Guzick or local friends, these experiences further the wonderful journey I am on of learning and evolving.”

Her artistic goal is to be really proud of her work and to hang next to the people she admires most in the country. “Quang Ho is my most favorite artist on all levels. We paint together in Denver. He is a genius intellectually—the way he talks about art, approaches teaching, his style . . . I love everything he does. When he asks me to trade a painting with him I’ll be happy,” she laughs.    

Helli Luck is represented by Bennett Galleries and Imagine Gallery. She has a show opening at Two Moon Gallery on February 14.

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