About the artist:
Combining her interests in art, history, and sewing, Heide Presse's paintings reveal many talents. Painting 19th century subjects has allowed her to indulge in those interests by learning to sew period quilts and garments as a way to maintain accuracy in her compositions. She also participates in living history events in order to have a better understanding of the lives of the people she is striving to portray.
Heide has always enjoyed reading journals, and when she discovered those written by folks as they traveled the overland trails of the mid 1800’s, she became inspired to open a window into their lives with her art. Moments of daily life are among her favorite subjects, and her use of light and rich color brings beauty to the ordinary. Heide's painting subjects range from complex historical scenes to simpler still lifes and figurative studies. Painting historic subjects, which no longer exist, present many challenges. Heide obtains her reference by visiting living history museums and events, while traveling to experience the actual landscapes and places. She also has established friendships with authentic re-enactors, and works with historians who are teaching her about the clothing and material culture of the 19th century. For props Heide uses items purchased from people who create authentic reproductions, and she also sews her own period garments. This enables her to dress models herself in addition to working with re-enactors. She regularly searches antique markets, and as a result, her studio is home to trunks, pottery, baskets, textiles, lanterns, and other items of the mid 1800’s.
Born in Germany and raised in Louisiana, Heide earned a degree in graphic design while living in Texas. After working as a commercial artist for several years, and moving across the country twice, she and her husband Jim have settled in central Florida where she has been painting for the last 25 years. Her first success as a painter was with Arts for the Parks, having 21 paintings juried into 14 years of the show, and earning 8 awards. She has since won major awards through the Oil Painters of America National Show, American Watercolor Society, The National Watercolor Society, The Desert Caballeros Museum, and the Hockaday Museum.