Helen's painterly works are foci of emotion and colourist expression.
Often vast tracts of wooden board or paper are blocked out in background colour, building the composition; then playing with concepts of contrast and association, Helen applies thinner veils of colour with brush and sponge. Increasingly finer detail is drawn on in conté or pastels, or incised using metal tools.
Gloss is effected using polymer varnish and heightened texture through the application of tissue paper. This is a quick and effective way of achieving a thickness of paint usually reserved for oils; as Helen creates each work in a single sitting. This is evident in the final product. A sense of immediacy of expression is apparent, giving Helen’s work a certain excitement: the electric appeal of a storm can be seen in her weather series. A calm afternoon’s skein of clouds is also felt in larger works of the series.
A fundamental aspect of Helen’s work is her use of “raw mark-making,” the final phase in the creation of each work. Helen draws and incises “in the moment,” in a semi-unplanned manner; each mark is inspired by the one before it. This creates an experience of intricacy in the close-up view, not anticipated in the painterly, broad brushstrokes first encountered from a distance.
Helen is inspired by the world around her. This is reflected in her chosen themes and in her desire to keep her practice fresh and immediate. Helen teaches art classes for children in various locations around Sydney, and says that her students’ liberated approach to artistic expression is truly inspirational.
Colour is the other prominent inspiration reflected. Helen logs mental images of captivating colours to use in her work. She also has an excellent collection of colour swatches, gleaned over her years of practice. These spark her imagination for colour combinations, and are often the starting point for her work.
Helen’s weather pattern series, exhibited here, explore the idea of human emotion as unique personal weather patterns portrayed through expressive painting and mark-making.
Helen studied Art History and Fine Arts at the Riverina Institute (TAFE NSW) and Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. In 2011 Helen graduated from the College of Fine Art (UNSW, Sydney) with a BA Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Drawing.