“[I like to paint] what hits me, some deviation from what you’re used to seeing, a flash of fog or a ray of sunlight…”
– Helen Weld, quoted in the Halifax Chronicle
Helen Weld was an active figure in the Yarmouth cultural community. Together with her artistic partner Lucy Jarvis, she made an important contribution to the cultural life of Nova Scotia, more specifically the Yarmouth Area. Her oil paintings and pastels are known for bringing a sense of dignity and importance to commonplace scenes and events.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Weld shared her chemist father’s interest in science. She studied the composition of paint pigments, making use of the acquired knowledge later in her art. In the early 1920s, she studied under post-impressionist painter C. K. Chatterton at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925, she continued her studies at the Art School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where she met Lucy Jarvis. The two artists went on to paint at Cape Forchu, near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (Houses at Yarmouth Bar, 1930).
In 1929, Weld returned to Lowell, Massachusetts and continued to paint well into her nineties. She sat on the Board of Directors for the local Art Association between 1931 and 1960, serving on the planning and exhibitions committees. Her paintings are in many private and public collections, including those of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the University of New Brunswick and the National Gallery of Canada.