"My Art is like a Window to Nature"
"My Art is like a Window to Nature"
Wilma Burton, specializes in healing art: soulful uplisting in a whimsical and colorful way. The artist tries to convey the elements of nature into her artwork to produce a feeling of inner peace, hope, joy and harmony with a healing effect to lift a person's attitude from stress to relaxation and from fear to inspiration.
Wilma Burton began to paint when she was just a child. She had her first art exhibition at the Venezuelan Congress, her native country, shortly after she turned 8 years old. After finishing her high school studies in Caracas, Wilma moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue her Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. At USC she attended art workshops and fine arts classes as she completed a degree in broadcasting.
For more than 20 years she was actively involved in television production in the community affairs field. In 1995, she was honored with an EMMY award for a television promo she wrote and produced for the City of Los Angeles, CA. She has also received over 20 awards recognizing her outstanding dedication to community services with her television productions, as well as her public service campaigns. However, her passion for the arts allowed her to paint as time permitted. At this point of her life, her television career demanded most of her time setting aside her true passion for painting. Regardless, of this limitation, Wilma was able to participate in several arts exhibitions in Los Angeles, California including art shows at the international level representing her country Venezuela.
In 2004 Wilma moved to the City of Riverside, CA where she worked with different art organizations and local museums, and participated in the city public art projects such as the “Riverside Banner Art Venture” creating a banner from one of her original paintings that was hung from the city streetlights. Likewise, a series of her artworks are in permanent exhibition at the Riverside City College. In Riverside, she was also commissioned by city officers to create special art pieces for public figures and diplomats in countries like Japan, England and Australia.
In 2011, Wilma relocated to the United Arabs Emirates. In the UAE she created an art studio to continue her career in the arts. Living in Abu Dhabi Wilma has been able to explore and embrace her Arabic heritage from her mother’s side that originated in Lebanon. “I have never lived in the Middle East before, but since I arrived in the UAE, I feel right at home, and love the culture.”
In March 2011, she participated in her first art exhibit in the Emirates at the new Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In February 2013, she was part of the Contemporary Art Exhibition of UAE Based Artist at the Arsh Gallery in Dubai. In April 2013, she was asked to show her art at the International Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the famous landmark Casa Battlo in Barcelona, Spain. In June of 2013, Wilma was invited for the second time to exhibit her healing art at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Art Show for a three month exhibit. In November 2103, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, she had a solo exhibit at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, making it the first Healing Art Exhibit in the UAE. She has participated in several group exhibits at Etihad Modern Art Gallery including the UAE National Day Celebration and Ramadan Group Art Exhibits.
In the Summer of 2015, she was invited to be part of a special art exhibit in Paris, France at UNESCO with the title "Women and Peace" where she had the opportunity to show her series of artworks about Muslim women to help break wrongful stereotypes against them, and a particular painting illustrating the kindness and beauty of the Hindu women, to bring awareness about them being targets of violence acts.
Wilma describes her artwork as “Healing Art” and she can be considered as a pioneer in the UAE in this field. Most of her art pieces include compositions of nature pleasant to the eye. They transmit positive emotions such as joy, peace of mind, hope and optimizing, as well as colors that are beneficial to a person’s mood. The colors can also be helpful to address specific medical conditions, like blood pressure. Wilma tends to paint images with a whimsical effect and the feeling of a fairy tale by using acrylic glitter resulting in a magical touch.
The artist spent over 15 years researching the healing art topic by working very closely with professionals in the health care field, medical care facilities, hospitals, clinics, and non-profit agencies like the American Cancer Society. Her years of study and research helped the artist learn how to create art that can ease the mind of those who find hospital settings stressful or feel intimidated by medical equipment or treatments.
“In all sorts of unexpected ways, art in hospital has significant benefits proven by special research conducted by experts,” explains the artist. It has been proven by members of focus groups who look at beautiful paintings and experience less pain and less stress. There is also evidence that art makes a big difference in hospitalized patients who are surrounded by visual art. It decreases their length of stay and their need for pain relief.
However, Wilma considers that healing art should not be limited to a hospital or medical care setting. “I believe if art works there, then it will work in any kind of environment, even an office or a home. Most of my art collectors find my paintings very soul uplifting, making them experience happiness and other positive emotions.” She emphasizes the need to paint images people can relate to and images the mind can associate with goodness.
Wilma’s art has been influenced by Spanish Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi during her visits to Barcelona. Wilma shares Gaudi’s passion for nature, and she adopted his technique “trencadis” by painting colored tiles arrange in a mosaic pattern giving in some cases the visual effect of stained glass with a three-dimensional feeling. Another influence in Wilma’s artwork comes from the well-known Mexican painter Frida Kahlo using intense bright colors, and love for the traditions that come from a culture.
Wilma tries to convey the elements of nature including beauty, colors, tranquility and harmony into her artwork creating a feeling of inner peace, hope, joy with a healing effect to lift the spirit positively, changing a person’s attitude from stress to deep relaxation, and from fear to inspiration.
“I want people to view my work and experience happiness, and positive emotions, looking at my paintings like illustrations of the amazing wonders nature offer us.” said the artist.