“Paintings are My Prayers”

Quietly inspired by his journey through life, encountering people and situations in his careers as a minister, a therapist, an educational consultant, and even a bus driver for special needs students, prayer brought Heilakka to concentrate on what he had loved since childhood. Art.

“Art is now my cathedral.  My studio is my  monks cell.  It is here that I am painting and praying my way through creation.”

In the artists’ words…

Happy childhood? Not quite. With low self-esteem and no inner-stability I was, putting it kindly, a bit of an outcast. While seeking a world that made sense to me, I found that from within. A place where the outcast belonged. Prayer became my lifeline. Prayer became my rock. That habit of sitting in silence and listening for the quiet voice of assurance, direction and comfort was the beginning of what I would become… The Painting Monk.

Starting with a six-year apprenticeship to Master painter Niko Choceli to learn how to draw. Working with Anne Packard, I refined my technique and under her expert tutelage, I found that quiet voice singing on paper, on canvas.

My work has appeared at the Salati Gallery in Binghamton, NY, Harperspace Gallery in Wellfleet, MA, in addition to group exhibitions.

Art is now my church. I draw. I paint. I pray. I infuse every single work with that same prayerful meditation and silence that provides such solace. In the studio, my focus turns to the person, the setting, the event that captures my interest. Staring at the blank paper before me, as I pray an image unfolds in my mind that flows through and outward, emerging as a painted prayer.

I get out of my way. I am blessed. I am . . . because God is praying me.

Contact the Artist

For additional information regarding instruction, scheduling exhibitions, or commissioning a piece, feel free to connect with Heilakka directly.