In a quiet, sunny corner surrounded by windows, artist Hedith Perdomo is hard at work. His brush, supported by both hands, delicately dances on the canvas. By adding just a touch here, a touch there, slowly an image emerges. Perdomo, now 70, is a grandmother, mother, widow and artist.
Born in a small rural village called Facatativa, Colombia, she was the seventh of eleven children. During his first year, the civil war forced his family to move to Bogota and later to Venezuela. There, his family lived on a hacienda and his father worked as a horse breeder. His mother, a housewife, was responsible for raising the children and keeping the house.
“My family spent a lot of time together,” said Perdomo, who recalls spending much of his childhood playing with his younger siblings. “I was a playful child, I always loved art.” Growing up surrounded by nature, she found herself inspired by the beauty that surrounded her. Perdomo loved art and turned to paintings and sculptures, especially works in the Renaissance style.
At the age of nine, Perdomo left the family hacienda to attend a boarding school in Bogota where she remained during her high school years. Common at that time and in its culture, Perdomo married young at 16 years old. Her husband Jorge, a lawyer whom she describes as an honorable and intellectual man, was very devoted to his family. Together they moved to Caracas where they raised five children.
Shortly after the birth of her last child, Perdomo began experiencing sharp pain and swelling in her hands, feet, knees and back. The pain gradually became intense and she was eventually diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. At the age of 38, she could no longer walk and has since been confined to a wheelchair. However, she did not allow her condition to define her and she continued to be a steadfast wife, mother and now grandmother.
In 2003, Perdomo began taking painting lessons with award-winning Venezuelan artist and sculptor Naty Valle. Using art as a form of therapy, she was able to focus her attention, energy and talents on creating beautiful works of art depicting vibrant landscapes, still lifes and flower arrangements. In the years that followed, his passion for art and his creative sense deepened even further. She now regularly exhibits her work in galleries across the United States and abroad.
“I had gallery representation in Caracas while living there for many years,” explained Perdomo, who recently moved to Atlanta and is now actively seeking local gallery representation.
Perdomo has lived in the United States for many years, following a successful petition to relocate her and Jorge, started by her son who lives in Texas. “In Venezuela there was political unrest and it was very dangerous to continue living there, so we decided to leave,” Perdomo said.
For a time they lived in Memphis until her husband passed away, which caused a change for Perdomo. “I have a daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live in Atlanta and they asked me to come, so I did.”
It is not uncommon for Perdomo to spend between 10 and 12 hours painting in any given day, a devotion that brings him great peace and purpose, but also poses a significant challenge given his arthritis and his physical limitations.
“It’s worth painting for me,” Perdomo said, noting that painting helps her forget her pain for a while. “Sometimes we impose our own limits. We should try to find something positive that we enjoy and can do for ourselves.
Working from reference photos of scenes she finds in nature and her surroundings, she is very specific in her attempts to capture exactly the right angle, light or perspective that matches her vision. When painting on her easel at home, she often flips her canvases – and their respective reference photos – to make sure she can comfortably reach the areas she needs to paint.
“My paintings are my legacy as an artist,” Perdomo said proudly. “I hope others will continue to appreciate my art and feel inspired, happy and at peace. I want others to feel that by looking at my paintings they can transport themselves to those places and feel joy.
To see more of Perdomo’s paintings and learn more about his story, visit his website at hedithperdomo.com.