Chaffee Featured Artist: Helen Dillon

Chaffee Featured Artist:  Helen Dillon

by Janelle Faignant

In an Instagram post a tractor attachment is buried in a snowdrift near a red barn on a sunny, blue sky winter day, painted in colors that somehow capture the cold winter air and the warmth of the sun.

It’s by artist Helen Dillon, who is the Chaffee’s Artist of the Month, and in another print on Etsy called “Corner Roses,” an explosion of roses sits tucked in an outside nook of a house.

“I find a lot of inspiration in Vermont,” she said, and many of her paintings capture its landscape. “Some of the work is from pictures I took, and sometimes I clip stuff out of papers or magazines so they’re realistic.”

Some artists say they prefer to work at a certain time during the day, and Helen said, “I usually do something in the morning and something in the afternoon. I don’t usually work at night, I prefer to work in daylight.” But after years in her longtime successful printmaking business she started making art on a smaller scale a few years ago.

“I needed a lot of space to do printmaking,” she said, “I now do some watercolors but I recently took up doing felted animals.”

The small pieces called ‘Felt Frolics’ are the sweetest little animals in fuzzy fabric – a chipmunk, alert; a fox on a log, a bear crouching, a brown felt rabbit holding a carrot. 

“It’s using wool and then using a needle you compress the wool into the shapes that you want,” she explained. “It’s fun because I don’t need lots of space to do it.”

Stop into the Chaffee and see them on display along with other artist members’ work.