Helen Williams will be 94 years old this month. She’s an artist and an animal lover in Corpus Christi who conjures up works of creativity and color, even while dealing with some perceptual limitations.
“I can’t draw anything,” she says. “My eyes don’t see perspective somehow. Even as a child I would get lost if we’d go to an old county fair. I’d go the wrong direction and couldn’t find my way home. But I’m still that way. I can’t draw, but I can paint.”
Williams says she loves putting bright colors on canvas, and that the act of painting is incredibly enjoyable to her. She isn’t shy about admiring her own work, either.
“I don’t stop until I finish,” she says. “And then I’ll bring it in here and I’ll just say, ‘Oh, that’s so pretty.’ And I’ll just look at it and look at it, and then start another one.”
Williams had an antique shop for 30 years, and next door was a cabinet store. One day she went to the shop owner and asked for scrap lumber that otherwise would have been thrown out. She eventually decided to transform the raw material into art.
“And then one day,” she says, “I thought, ‘I’m going to see if can draw an eye.’ And so I did do an eye. And so I did another eye. I said, ‘I bet I could do a face.’”
Before long, Williams’ work took on increasing detail and she began painting full portraits. Her paintings are currently being exhibited at the Art Center of Corpus Christi.