BIOGRAPHY - Heidi Coutu (Born 1957)
Heidi Coutu was born in 1957 in Western Massachusetts. The art-rich backdrop of her early life was created and fostered by her father, Fernand Willemain, who lived in Greenwich Village, New York, where he studied with the founders of the “Ash Can School” at the Art Student’s League.
Upon marrying, Fernand and his wife, Edna, moved to Massachusetts. An only child, Heidi accompanied her parents to art openings and museums throughout her youth, and was introduced to many artists as she “camped out” in her father’s studio and worked by his side. Art and life were truly assimilated in the young artist’s household.
She attended Mount Holyoke College as a Studio Art and Renaissance Studies major. She was a sculpture assistant to noteworthy sculptors Leonard Delonga and Ibram Lassaw, considered the father of direct metal sculpture. She worked in both bronze casting and oxy-acetylene welding, but it was during her years at Mount Holyoke studying with the accomplished figurative painter, Marion Miller, that her love of painting in oils was fostered. She graduated in 1979, and moved to Boston, where she continued to take painting courses at the Museum School and paint independently.
Soon after, Heidi married and returned to Western Massachusetts in order to have proximity to her aging parents. Upon her return, she founded a successful corporate art consulting firm and was instrumental in launching her own career at an early age. She began to paint full- time in 1987. Since that time she has shown in Paris, New York, LA, Houston, Chicago, Boston, and other cities. She has won five “Best in Show” awards and has had seven one-woman shows, including one at the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield MA. She is collected by hundreds of noteworthy private and corporate clients including Nations Bank, Columbia Pictures, Lego Corporation, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Heidi is most noted for her French and English gardens and pastoral landscapes. Her paintings are characterized by the broad, energetic application of paint and brilliant use of color to create light. Her travels have included two trips to the French countryside focusing on the Bourgogne region, including protracted visits to Giverney. She has also traveled extensively throughout the United States in search of fields of wild flowers, including an extended trip to the Texas “outback”, known for its incomparable naturalized flower fields. As an avid gardener, Heidi also finds beauty in her own back yard!
About the creative process, Heidi states: In spite of the stress an suffering we are subjected to daily, things of beauty are always in our wake. When a subject moves me, I reproduce it as a way of preserving a moment in time, which reminded me that life is joyous and beautiful. I refer to my style as “painterly realism”. I strive to capture true light and the dynamic essence of life. The brushstrokes are an extension of my emotional involvement with the subject…. they hopefully imbue the viewer with the realization of the privilege of being alive.
Heidi currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband Mark, daughter Alexandra, and golden retriever, Jake.