Helen Brooks | Liza Pruitt

Helen Brooks

I began painting ice cream in a season in which I was required to keep a very strict diet for health reasons.  It was summer.  I was mourning the loss of many foods, but especially the loss of my favorite summer treat, good old-fashioned ice cream.  Instead of wallowing, I began to paint my favorite frozen treats in order to still experience the joy of ice cream in summer.  Over time, the collection grew, and I began to see the need for others to step in and assist with the paintings. 

The mission of Helen Brooks Art is to connect the generations through story and art.  The ice cream series eventually fell right in line with that mission as we began to use the ice cream paintings to train and teach the process to those in need of community and skills. Max Mitchell, whom my girls and I met in an arts program for the homeless, has assisted in many of the paintings that you see in this ice cream series. I continue to design most of the images while Max learns shading, brushwork, and color-mixing as he assists me in my work. Max has now mastered some of the Helen Brooks Art designs and has begun to design some of his own ice cream pieces with the skills that he has learned along the way. 

What started out as the loss of my favorite treat ended in the birth of a small community gathering to paint scoops of hope.  As we move toward the end of summer, my prayer is that these will be a visual and a reminder for you that loss, whether it be large or small, often brings us full circle back to joy that we can share with others. Enjoy browsing through the series!

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