Demonstration at Berwick Artists Society
Topic: Painting Horses in Oils
I have seen Helene demonstrate several times before at various venues. She is a very experienced artist with a great interest in painting animals.
Born in the United Kingdom in 1942, Helene arrived with her family in Melbourne in 1948. Drawing from early childhood, she studied life drawing and fashion drawing at the Caulfield Institute of Technology during the 1960s.
After marrying and raising four children she returned to full-time painting, and has won many awards and High Commendations which include the Victorian Artist’s Society ‘Artist of the Year’ Award in 1997. Judges have included-Sir William Dargie O.B.E. Alan McCulloch and Geoffrey Smith, then curator of 20th Century Australian Contempory Art, National Gallery of Victoria.
Helene’s work is widely represented in private and public collections throughout Australia and overseas, including Canada, Greece, England, Saudi Arabia, Jersey, India, Ireland and the U.S.A. She has accepted many commissions (although not her preferred method of operating, as she much prefers to paint as she feels rather than to the restrictions of a more realist brief from a client), and is to be found in various publications.
The background for the painting for this demonstration had already been painted in and the outline of the horse drawn up to save time and give a hint of the final look. Although originally intending to paint a black horse, it quickly became apparent that Helene was being drown by the call of her colours as she applied darks and then mids and lights of varying warm and cool colours to create the form of the horse’s body.
Over the space of only a couple of hours the outline became the spirit and movement of a horse as it burst across the canvas. Helene worked broadly and loosely with the brushes and paint to maintain a semi-abstract style to the painting. Proof that you do not have to copy nature to make an identifiable figure. We all know what a horse looks like, so as artists we can take the spirit and movement of the animal and make it into art and not just a copy of a photo.
The direction of the light was used to help give form to the legs as highlights and shadows were applied in various colours and the colour in the background was adjusted in a couple of spots to help the form of the animal pop off the surface.
Overall, another interesting session from Helene, who can always take interested students on a journey away from total realism and into the land of imagination and creativity.
It is with sadness that I report that Helene passed away on Feb. 20, 2014, very suddenly. A creative mind lost to the art world.