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Helle Johansen-Baker

I'm a UK based artist, originally from Denmark and I’ve lived in Leigh on Sea by the Thames Estuary since 2010 where my passion for painting really started when I enrolled on a local painting course in 2018. It was soon clear to me that I had found something special that totally resonated.

Creativity has always been the thing pulling me - working in a graphic design studio, portrait/wedding photographer, designing and making silk bandanas for dogs and pet photographer, all met with interest from the buying public. 


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.


Most of my work is created on cradled plywood panels (with wood batons) making them stand out nicely from the wall and easy to hang and I use a mixture of oil and coldwax, which I find works well to achieve the desired aesthetics. 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. Recently I've been exploring more defined shapes, using acrylics, 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 of faded frescos, ancient walls, graffiti and street art, but also nature's palette and the outdoors. Working with oil and wax takes patience, as each layer takes at least a day to achieve a semi-dryness, ready for the next layer. 

On a more personal level, I feel that my paintings are a metaphor for life, with all its imperfections and the scarring a lot of us carry around with us. When you scrape back the layers, you reveal a past, laying yourself bare. 

Parallels can be drawn to the Japanese art of Wabi Sabi, a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection, giving you permission to be yourself. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is ‘imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete’.

Thank you for browsing :)

My studio/gallery is at Grainger Road industrial estate, unit 21A, Southend and you can contact me for a private viewing of my work.


If you’d like to discuss a creative project or would like me to do a commission, please feel free to get in touch - just click on the email address below :)

Helle in Leigh Marina studio.jpg

In the studio

Making the plywood panels before

painting can begin.

Helle with painting background.jpg

‘I must find a truth that is true for me’

Søren Kierkegaard

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Exhibitions and upcoming events

2023 -   ROY'S ART FAIR - Barge House, Southbank, Oxo Tower Wharf, London               28th Sept - 1st Oct 2023                           

2022 -    70thebroadway Gallery - The Broadway, Leigh on Sea            
             Artist Collective from 1st Aug 2022 - 1st Aug 2023

                Guest artist at the Leigh Art Trail Sept 2022 and July 2023

2021 -  ROY'S ART FAIR - Barge House, Southbank, Oxo Tower Wharf, London
             SE1 9PH
 ,  12-15th August 2021     Roy's Art Fair

2020 - 2021 

            Teamed up with local pop-up shop MAN CAVE Antiques UK in
            Leigh on Sea, 96 The Broadway @mancaveantiquesuk

            Part of the shop is a GALLERY throughout December until mid
            January with various of my work on display, including paintings, 
            fine art prints and greeting cards.


2020 -  ROY'S ART FAIR - The Boiler House, Truman Brewery, London
             8 - 11th October 2020     
Roy's Art Fair

2020 - 'The Summer Show 2020' /  16th July - 30 July.

            A group show, organised and curated by La Galleria Pall Mall, located
            in the Royal Opera Arcade on Pall Mall, London

2020 -  Displaying artwork with Hansford & Sons Emerging Artist Platform


2019 - 'Nordic Echoes'@70thebroadway Gallery, Leigh on Sea, Essex
            Solo exhibition.

2019 - 70TheBroadway Gallery, part of a Christmas pop-up collective with
            other local artists.

2018 - Essex Open, Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend on Sea.

2012 - Leigh Art Trail (abstract photography/collaboration with handbag
           designer Carmen Woods).

2011 - Leigh Art Trail (abstract photography)


2019 - Article/review in The Leigh Times

2019 - Article in the Echo Newspaper, Southend

Leigh Times, Oct 2019.jpg
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