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Home / Portrait Paintings

Pasadena artist shares her journey through her art

Canadian-born painter Heather Horton has been an artist all her life; she received her master’s degree in Illustration from Sheridan College. But it was only when she joined Abbozzo Gallery in 2004 that she began exhibiting her works regularly. She has held solo and group shows over the years and her recent solo exhibition “Love Story” was held in Toronto in September 2020.

In 2019, Horton met her future husband Joss Whedon in Los Angeles. When they decided to leave Ontario for warmer climes, they relocated to the United States in 2021. Then the couple moved to California on L.A.’s west side – Santa Monica – before eventually settling down in Pasadena in May last year. She discloses, “We had heard great things about the city, and we have been so delighted with our decision to move here. Lots of greenery, interesting architecture, an active art scene, and we appreciate that it has a serenity to it that we find inspiring. We look forward to exploring the city more as time goes by!”

Heather Horton. | Courtesy Photo

And it’s here that Horton continues to practice her craft — taking photos of friends underwater in their pool and using the pictures as the basis for the oil paintings in this exhibition. Her 16th solo show “Immersion,” will be on display at Whimsy Pasadena in Old Town through Sunday, Oct. 22. She will be painting live onsite at the gallery on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 19, 20 and 21) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to let the public in on her creative process and talk to visitors about her journey.

“Immersion” is an autobiographical journey of resilience. It investigates the internal complexities within simple moments: exploring trauma, womanhood, deep pain, and deeper gratitude. The art exhibition introduces over 30 new oil paintings, which breathe new life into Horton’s renowned water series. It transports us beneath the surface into a twilight fantasia of luminous tranquility. Within these artworks, fabric, flesh, and liquid merge and nearly dissolve into one another, all bathed in the spellbinding interplay of wild and languid light from above.

“Madrona” 24 x 36 oil on panel. | Photo courtesy of Heather Horton

Additionally, “Immersion” chronicles the evolution of Heather’s relationship with her own body, a journey that has traversed years of battling anorexia and depression, ultimately culminating in newfound confidence and grace, despite the challenges posed by major spinal surgery last spring.

Having endured a tumultuous childhood, Horton has long used art as a way of finding order in a life marked by subtle chaos. Her troubled past instilled in her a strong sense of self-reliance and a heightened awareness of emotions and movement. Her portraits and figures reflect a sense of fragility, often showing subjects who avert their gaze, are depicted from behind, or appear with their heads just above a surface we can’t quite grasp.

Horton’s art captures the world with a sense of wonder that avoids becoming overly sentimental or prescriptive. Instead, she encourages viewers to embark on their own journeys and find their own interpretations.

“The Chameleon” 30 x 30 oil on panel. | Photo courtesy of Heather Horton

“I’m hoping that the viewers might be moved by the work, on a small level, or from a deeper place, as there are themes of floating, immersion but also surgery, health challenges, transitions, and introspection within,” states Horton. “If viewers see the work and are glad they did, or it moves them to reach out to someone they love and tell them so, or write a letter to a friend or someone in need, that would be amazing to me. Just showing the work to friends and people in the community and beyond brings a great feeling of peace and great emotion. After so much work, and surgery, and challenges, but also excitement, I’m excited to enjoy a bit of repose, reconnect and take a few deep breaths before submerging again into new worlds.”

After the exhibition ends, a portfolio of “Immersion” is set to be immortalized on the moon as a part of Samuel Peralta’s visionary Lunar Codex time capsule project. Horton’s artistic expressions reflect the experiences of countless women today, and her legacy is destined to span generations in these time capsules immortalized on the moon. It is such a fitting outcome for a painter whose works should live on beyond earth for eons to come.

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