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Haley Chi-Sing, for Dana Point Times
Capistrano Beach-based artist and painter Mary Carmen Calvo left her view of the world behind on her canvases when she passed early on July 8, 2019.
Born and raised in Northern Spain, Calvo’s love for art and capturing the world that encapsulated her on canvas began at a very young age. Her passion for painting and the arts were the spark that drew others toward her, said her husband, Dr. Walter Henry.
“Her intensity . . . when she started on something, there was no pulling back. She went straight head into it and did it till the end,” said Henry.
This passion was what motivated the young teenage artist to pursue her artistic career at the Academy of Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain. Calvo continued her education as the years went on, studying first in Paris and then moving to the United States as a means to focus more intensely on her artistic career.
“When she came to the United States, that’s when her energy and her capabilities and what she really wanted to do all focused, and she really took off as a painter,” said Henry.
In the 1960s, Calvo settled down in Los Angeles, where she encountered much success and demand for her one-of-a-kind impressionist paintings. The manner in which she controlled and maneuvered the light through colors and oil paints captivated artists, galleries and institutions of every caliber, including the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the gallery at UCLA.
Calvo eventually moved to Orange County with her husband, where she established her European-styled home and sanctuary, as well as her art studio.
“She really worked hard to create a place and an environment where she could paint. . . . She took a lot of inspiration from museums in Spain, and this is where she spent a lot of her time painting,” said Henry.
From the entrance gate to the back corner of the garden, Calvo carefully trimmed and combed her home into a sanctuary and world in which to paint. Calvo carefully tended to her garden of plants, vegetables, and flowers that covered her own utopia; just another outlet in which she could release her artistic energies and passions. Roses, being one of her favorite flowers, eventually became a predominant centerpiece among her garden of treasures and imaginings.
A funeral service in honor of Calvo’s memory is yet to be finalized by the family. All of her paintings, as well as her sketches, can be found on her website at calvo-studio.com and at the Laguna Beach Art Museum and Los Angeles City Hall.