A bit about me
I'm Helle Johansen-Baker, a UK based artist, originally from Denmark and I’ve lived in Leigh on Sea by the Thames Estuary since 2010.
Creativity has always been a constant in my life and the thing pulling me. With a career background in graphic design, portrait/wedding photographer, designing and making silk bandanas for dogs and pet photographer, I took a deep dive into the world of art in 2018 and have never looked back.
Mostly self-taught as an artist, each stage of my journey has been a valuable, creative building block that has led to developing my unique approach in expressing my inner sensitivities. It has taught me the importance of value, form, colour and composition, further helped by art teacher Nicholas Wilton and his invaluable, online course with the Art2Life Creative Visionary Programme, which I attended in 2023.
My art practice constantly teaches me about life and about myself, which is why I paint. It brings me alive. I hope to convey something about myself, who I am and what inspires me and that you, the observer, will find something in this body of work that touches and stimulates some deep-seeded memory or longing.
I am a process-based artist and the “not knowing” of the creative process inspires me. Colour and shape is the foundation for my work and mark-making is very important to me, so I scrape back the paint to reveal the layers beneath and gouge into the surfaces with various tools. I paint mostly abstract and in multi layers, which adds complexity, contrast and texture. Part of my work is created on cradled plywood panels. I use a mixture of oil and coldwax medium, which I find works well to achieve the desired aesthetics. Recently I've been exploring more defined shapes, using acrylics and painting on both canvas and panels, which gives the work another expression, but still retains the abstract form.
I take my inspiration from weathered surfaces that show the passage of time; I’m drawn to the decay and peeling paint on walls, a bit of newspaper print peeking through, texture found in nature, shapes and how colours 'sit' next to each other, to make them 'come alive'.
In my studio
Making the plywood panels before
painting can begin.