About the Artist

Brent Helmick grew up in the small western Montana town of Townsend while there were less than a million people in the entire state. His fascination with the beauty of the big sky country inspired him to draw the wildlife and outdoor scenes that surrounded him. From that beginning, he’s had a multi-media artistic career with each new experience leading to the next.  His latest interest is exploring the incredibly diverse world of watercolor painting.  

The pencil drawings of Brent’s childhood eventually opened the door to another area of artistic expression: photography. It was during high school that he enjoyed working on the yearbook and newspaper staff. At that time, he also began a lifelong interest in black and white darkroom processing.  

He spent his senior year of high school in the state of West Virginia and is a 1974 graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School.  Immediately after high school, he landed a summer dream job working on the boat docks in Yellowstone National Park. From there, he travelled the world with the U.S. Air Force; first as an enlisted avionics technician then, eventually as a weather officer.  Of his 29 years of uniformed service, he spent over half of them overseas. Along the way, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and master’s degrees in Education and Information Systems. 

Wherever he found himself, he kept busy exploring and taking pictures.  As a result, he amassed a large archive of photos in locations stretching from remote Pacific Islands to Central American jungles to the cities and mountains of Europe and of course countless locations across the US.  Throughout the journey, Brent explored many aspects of conventional and digital photography; most notably a brief experience with underwater photography. Scuba diving along the coral reefs on the island of Guam gave him a keen interest in the oceans and marine life. Today, he finds artistic inspiration as a volunteer docent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and remains a passionate advocate of ocean conservation.

In addition to photography and painting, another area of artistic effort that piques Brent’s interest is woodcarving. He uses a variety of hardwoods in his work which tends to call attention to the beauty of the wood as much as the finished piece itself. His subjects range from traditional figures and abstract pieces to flora and fauna. 

When the COVID pandemic struck, he took advantage of the statewide quarantine to spend time painting watercolors based on his own photos. He believes that having a good reference photo is a an indispensable starting point. From there he’s able to compose interesting scenes which often combine elements from half a dozen of his photos. 

Following retirement from the Air Force at the rank of Major in 2003 Brent worked as a civilian for the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey California until 2018. He currently lives with his wife and family members on the Monterey Peninsula where he continues to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling and kayaking.  Above all, he keeps busy with painting, carving and photography.