In a quiet, sunlit corner surrounded by windows, artist Hedith Perdomo is hard at work. Her paintbrush, supported by both hands, delicately dances down the canvas. Adding just a touch here, a touch there, slowly an image emerges. Perdomo, now in her early 70s, is a grandmother, mother, widow, and artist.
Born in a small rural village called Facatativa, Colombia, she was the seventh of eleven children. During her first year, civil war forced her family to relocate to Bogota and later Venezuela. There, her family lived on a hacienda and her father worked as a horse farmer. Her mother, a housewife, was responsible for raising the children and keeping the home.
“My family spent a lot of time together,” said Perdomo, who recalls spending much of her childhood playing with her younger siblings. “I was a playful child, I always enjoyed art.” Growing up surrounded by nature, she found herself inspired by the beauty around her. Perdomo loved art and gravitated toward paintings and sculptures, particularly works in the Renaissance style.
At the age of nine, Perdomo left the family hacienda to attend boarding school in Bogota where she remained through her high school years. Common in that time and in her culture, Perdomo married young at 16. Her husband Jorge, an attorney who she describes as an honorable and intellectual man, was very dedicated to his family. Together they moved to Caracas where they raised five children.
Not long after the birth of her last child, Perdomo began experiencing acute pain and swelling in her hands, feet, knees, and back. The pain became progressively severe, and she was eventually diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At the age of 38 she could no longer walk and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. She did not allow her condition to define her, however, and she has continued to be a steadfast wife, mother, and now grandmother.
In 2003, Perdomo began taking painting lessons with award-winning Venezuelan fine 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 that depicted vibrant landscapes, still life, and floral displays. In the years since, her passion for art and her creative acumen have deepened even further. She now regularly shows 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 been living in the United States for many years, following a successful petition to relocate her and Jorge launched by her son who lives in Texas. “In Venezuela, there was political unrest, and it was very unsafe to continue to live there so we decided to leave,” said Perdomo.
For a time, they lived in Memphis until the passing of her husband, which prompted a shift 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 to 12 hours painting in a given day, a devotion which brings her great peace and purpose but also poses a significant challenge given her arthritis and physical restrictions.
“It is worth painting for me,” Perdomo said, noting that painting helps her forget about her pain for a while. “Sometimes we put our own limitations on ourselves. We must try to find something positive that we love that we can do for ourselves.”
Working from reference photos of scenes she finds in nature and in her surroundings, she is very specific in her attempts to capture exactly the right angle, light, or perspective that speaks to her vision. When painting on her easel at home she often flips her canvases – and their respective reference photos – to ensure that she can comfortably reach the areas she needs to paint.
“My paintings are my legacy as an artist,” Perdomo said with pride. “I hope that others will continue to enjoy my art and will feel inspired and happy and at peace. I want others to feel that when looking at my paintings, they can transport themselves to those places and feel joy.”
To view more of Perdomo’s paintings and learn more about her story, visit her website at hedithperdomo.com.