The inspiration for Helen’s work often comes from a variety of sources: the countryside where she lives, in the Scottish Borders, trees, birdsong and animals or views of the garden through a window or from a location she recently visited (coastal landscapes, for instance, after holidays on the island of Bara, Lewis, Skye and North Uist).
Helen’s paintings are in water based oils, either on board or canvas, which are very malleable and can be applied thinly like a wash, diluted only with water, or straight from the tube to create texture or an impasto finish. She also uses a variety of different sized brushes from very tiny up to a two or three inch decorating brush as well as using palette knives and small printing rollers.
In every painting Helen starts off with a layer of torn up pieces of Chinese paper followed by a wash of raw sienna. This gives a broken, slightly patterned, warm gold background on which to begin work. In her landscapes and seascapes she often rubs back with a cloth to allow the gold, textured ground to show through especially at the edge of clouds or to bring a horizon alive.
Helen has held numerous solo exhibitions between 2002 and 2020 across the UK, alongside group exhibitions. She has also been the recipient of several prizes, including the Lily McDougal Award, Visual Arts Scotland , RSA; the Gullane Gallery award – Royal Society Scottish Watercolourists, RSA and more recently was selected for the Gordon Smith Memorial Exhibition, Dovecote Gallery, Edinburgh.
Helen lives and works near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.