A bit more about me…

I’m so lucky to live in this stunning part of the world – perched on the border between England and Wales. The remote Olchon Valley sees all the weather, and the seasons here feel extreme. This works on my creativity in a profound way – it’s as if the drama takes over my materials.

I hope I’m successful in sharing this awe and raw energy so you find a piece of wilderness-inspired art to reflect your love of landscape too.

How it all began…

My family like to tell this anecdote (of which I have no memory) – when I was 11 years old someone asked what I wanted to do when I grew up? My unswerving response – “become a local artist” (not just an “artist”, note, a “local artist”). What a little oddball I was. Instead, I went to Cambridge Uni’ to study literature and put my love of art on hold.

After a two-decade career as a copywriter, editor and digital consultant, I have finally returned to my love of art-making, driven and inspired by the “local”, specifically the gloriously moody Welsh Marches landscape surrounding my home. Don’t you think it’s amazing how the clues to living our “best life” are often right there from childhood?

Printmaking and life drawing first

I started out with printmaking in 2016. The trigger was an abandoned etching press, rusting in a garage. For two years, I nagged a relative to pass this on and finally got my wish. But could I even draw and design after a gap of nearly 30 years? No pressure then…

I attended life-drawing classes the minute my young kids were in full-time school. This was the first teaching I’d had since GCSE art. It was challenging and often made me grit my teeth, but “no pain, no gain”, as they say. I learned to really look in a way I never had before.

My art practice was gathering pace, so I organised a small home studio that sufficed for the two years before I moved here: I renovated a two-storey annexe to our house in 2019. With so much dedicated space, I decided to open to the public and started teaching linocut and etching with almost instant take-up: over 60 people joined me for workshops in the first 6 months of opening the studio.

Artwork showing Helen Arthur's lifedrawing
Artwork showing Helen Arthur’s lifedrawing

Then in September 2020 I opened a gallery room in our home. This is because I now paint much more than I teach printmaking. The Covid-19 pandemic led to a shift in mindset for me (and many other artists, I’m sure): suddenly, I was exploring mixed media and taking risks to access a much more personal and expressive way of working. Finding solace in place, I started to work outside and the sketches developed into abstracted, gestural landscapes back in the studio.

It’s been a joy to welcome visitors here, starting with viewings by appointment and a whole 10 days of open studio viewings with Herefordshire Artwork (H.Art) in September 2021.

Events and exhibitions

My work is now available from Bluestone Gallery in Hay on Wye and I will be visiting exhibitor at Court Cupboard Gallery in July 2022. As co-curator of the Mappa Marches touring exhibition, I aim to support other artists in the marches region. I’ll be showing work around the Marches counties for a year, starting from January 2022. Lastly, I was proud to be selected for the RCA open 2021, in Conwy, North Wales, where I grew up.

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