Henry Woolbert

Henry Woolbert


Recent news: Currently I’m busy working on a new petroglyph watercolor series you can see by clicking here.

In 2010, I founded Coyote Arts Network, a grassroots arts organization dedicated to making sure that students are ensured access to arts education who would otherwise be denied because of funding cuts in public schools. I volunteered for four years as the art teacher in Rio Costilla Elementary School in Costilla, NM.

Artist’s Statement: I mine my imagination, dream imagery, and the mysteries of nature to create vibrant and rhythmical paintings, drawings, prints, and masks.  My work resonates with the music, dance, and healing traditions of earth-based people all over the world.  For over forty years, I have dedicated my life to art.

A trip to West Africa in 1999 confirmed my affinity for African art, music, and dance.  More importantly, it encouraged me to explore in more depth the transformative spirit in art.  Most of my work is inspired from this ongoing connection with indigenous cultures, especially African.

I create large bodies of work in series, primarily in watercolor, colored pencil, pastels, oil paints, and prints. Several series have explored the creative spark of inspiration as experienced in a transparent and electrified body.  In my watercolor series, “Shaman Masks,” I zoom in for a radiant close-up of imaginary beings infused with color, detail, rhythm, music, and light.  In my most recent series, “Spirit Masks,” I simplify the mask form using granulated watercolor to give the appearance of stone, metal, or wood, and ignites each piece with the fire of spirit.

In a series of three-dimensional masks, I’m teaming up with Kathy.  I paint and add surface decoration to the forms she carves or models.  Our back and forth collaboration leads to unusual ideas and fresh materials, including found and recycled objects.  This body of work is mysterious, humorous, and evocative of the spirit world. 

I believe that art is healing and transforming.  Art saves lives.  This philosophy was put to the test in the arts and crafts classes I taught for two years in a federal women’s prison.

Although I have a formal education with a BFA in painting from California College of Arts and Crafts, I have moved beyond the criticisms and mannerisms of academia in order to listen to the wisdom of my heart and the truth of my dreams.