Hester Ohbi


Hester Ohbi has been drawing and painting since childhood where she spent and still spends summers amid the rocks, fields, rivers, and mountains of central Pennsylvania. Her graduate studies in France afforded time to engage in European art. Shortly thereafter she became interested in the religions of Asia, especially Buddhism. A career in international development took Hester to colorful landscapes in Asia, South America and Africa.

Formal art studies include drawing and painting classes at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC, painting classes at the Art League in Alexandria, VA and at the Yellow Barn, Glen Echo, MD.

In 2010, 2014, and April 2015 Hester had solo shows at the Dumbarton Concert Gallery in Georgetown, Washington, DC. In 2014 she also had a solo show with Artsee, Washington, DC A large piece was commissioned for Development Alternatives, Bethesda, Md. and another large piece hangs at Kaiser Permanente. The Washington, DC commission of Arts bought one of her paintings for its Art Bank collection. Over the years she has been selected for juried shows at The Art League in Alexandria, VA, at the Blackrock Gallery in Germantown, MD, and at the Hill Gallery, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

In 2016 Hester and a poet friend published a book, "torches in shadows", containing 41 poems paired with 41 of her paintings. 

Hester is currently a member of the Foundry Gallery in Washington, DC.

Artist Statement

My paintings are abstract.  What comes forth when I paint serves as an antidote to personal grief and to the distress in daily news concerning the suffering of people throughout the world. My paintings offer a reprieve, another place to inhabit outside of mere endurance – a place where beauty and imagination can live.

I love using color because it has a healing influence on my state of mind.  Some days I crave yellow or the many variations of blues and greens. I pull color onto my brush, move it across the canvas, and feel its enveloping influence. Most work includes places to visually roam within a color; forms and lines provide interest, surprise, or hopefully delight. Even in my more quiet paintings I want to pay homage to the dynamic aspect of existence.

Using acrylic paint on canvas or paper I paint layer over layer creating depth and allowing glimpses of underlying passages.  These passages may allude to passing thoughts, memories, or feelings – the passing of time. Although my process is intuitive I always need to dialogue with the painting by stepping back and asking it what comes next.  Allusions to landscape and its elements of water, plants, and earth often appear. Or the paintings may become mysterious and point to our connection with the energy of our galaxy and beyond. All of the paintings want to engage with what is possible.

Hester’s website