When has a “Piece of Art” Touched Your Heart?

*Sometimes stories about how your art touches another are just too wonderful not to share. The following piece was summited by Rebecca Helms, a photographer from North Carolina. Thank you Rebecca! – Sarah Angst*



Hello, I am a photographer from North Carolina. I have spent the last 5 years working in Montana and North Carolina, six months at a time. During my months in Montana, I worked for Loneman Photography in Bozeman, photographing families and weddings. Owners Doug & Stana are art enthusiasts (as you would imagine) and during my first year working with them, they took me to the Emerson and other galleries during my off hours so I could get a feel for the culture of Bozeman and see some of Montana’s talented artists.

TART at the Emerson became one of my favorite places in Bozeman. I was fresh out of photography school – so suffice it to say, I had a very tight budget. When I first saw your piece called “Solitude”, it made my heart skip a beat and put hopeful tears of recognition in my eyes. I had never responded to anyone’s art so immediately. Instead of buying an original, I excitedly “settled” for 2 cards to frame… One for myself and one for my sister back home. We always bring each other a gift when we travel.

Rebecca Helms 4


“Solitude” symbolically represented both of our vastly different paths in life, me an artist and my sister a first responder. Both are paths that can be very fulfilling but, require a level of independence and stubborn determination to survive.

My family was raised in the south. It is a wonderful place filled with the aromas of peaches and pecans, porch swings filled with company and laughter, warm breezes, and rib breaking genuine hugs. However… it can still be a pressure filled place to marry and settle down.

When my Montana experience first began, I received lots of questions – steeped in loving concern and curiosity about why I was venturing off to Montana, alone, when I had no prior connections there. I was asked, “Why can’t you find a job here or just open up your own photography studio immediately and get down to business?” (I had gone through a similar scenario when I decided I was going back to photo school as soon as I finished my bachelors in environmental science.)

I pressed forward, regardless of the questions.

I couldn’t seem to explain that I was being drawn to Montana (I had been, since I was 14 years old!). I couldn’t explain this need to see the world – starting in Montana. This was going to be a dream fulfilled for me, a girl whose family had only traveled as far as Tennessee.

So I hugged my family goodbye, boarded my plane (first time flying alone!), to find myself a few hours later stepping off in Bozeman, Montana. I fell in love with it immediately. The people and town were wonderful and I got to travel much of the state with Doug & Stana while I worked. It was one of the best times of my life. Each year, for the next four years, I would buy a couple of your art cards to represented my time in Montana, and frame them to hang on my walls at home.

Rebecca Helms 2

Living the nomadic lifestyle was wonderful, but not financially sustainable for the long term. So I have come home to North Carolina to regroup, and I am sketching out a sensible plan that will help me accomplish the things that are important to me in life. It has not been easy, mentally. I miss Montana a lot. I haven’t found contentment in either place, but I am lucky to have tremendous friends and family who support me in both places and I am so grateful for them all.

Looking at your art on my walls reminds me of the places and people of Montana that I know and love while I am working on my next set of goals. It has been a year of interviews for new opportunities and dealing with the struggles of owning my own business. Your art adds a small piece of happiness to my day when I walk through my home.

Rebecca Helms 3

I wanted to share what I have done with your art, and say “Thank You.” I haven’t gotten to frame my cards from my final year out West – the Mountain Goat  (one was on the trail with me in Glacier last October) or the Fly Fisherman (my neighbor & surrogate grandfather taught me how to fly fish last year) –  yet – but they will be added to the wall collection. Each piece takes me mentally to a person and place in Montana that holds a special memory and place in my heart. They are ties to the past and hopes for the future.

Thank you for sharing your art – which means, sharing a piece of your heart.

Peek A Boo

*Blog Post Written by Rebecca Helms – www.beccahelms.blogspot.com


Filed under Guest Blog

9 responses to “When has a “Piece of Art” Touched Your Heart?

  1. Susan Hurliman

    Thanks for sharing such a poignant story! I so agree with her take on your art being a sustaining power! It speaks to me too everyday!

  2. Wow, this is the piece I wear around my neck as it reminds me of a time camping in the blue moon and paddleboarding with my kids in it’s soft glow. Love the work of Sarah!

  3. Donna Blomberg

    I enjoyed your story very much. Thanks for sharing.n

  4. Ann Chessman

    The late PBS art teacher said, “In life you need colors.” I think your colors, Sarah, are the first thing I love about your art, then the situations that spark the imagination, and the iconic MT wildlife & plant life.

  5. Sarah Angst

    Thanks Ann! Yes, I love it when the colors really seem to work, I am grateful, because as a printmaker I think the black outlines really help my colors pop.

  6. Tim Ford

    This was a great read!

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