Helle Johansen-Baker 

I’m a Danish artist, who came to the UK in 1988. I’ve been living 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. 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, being a portrait/wedding photographer, designing and making silk bandanas for dogs, pet photographer (Shootmydog), designing and making silk and linen cushions with abstract images
from my photography, 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.


My work is created on cradled plywood panels (cradled by 20x33mm wood batons, making them stand out nicely from the wall and easy to hang) and I use a mixture of oil and coldwax (CWM), which I find works well to achieve the desired aesthetics. Other mediums I use is sand, soil, oil pastels, acrylics, coal, scrunched up paper with writing or newspaper cuts that relates to the image. 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. My paintings are mostly abstract and multi layered, adding complexity, contrast and texture. I work mostly intuitively and colours are a very important aspect


I take my inspiration from aged 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. The colours of the sea and the special light that you find in Denmark has been inspiring.  I’m also  a collector of things that I find in nature, especially stones, pebbles and sea-glass, which you often find repeated in my work. 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 think my paintings are also 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’.

Most days now, I can be found working in my container studio at Leigh Marina.  


Thank you for browsing my gallery. 

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 :)

Me in the studio

Making the plywood panels before

painting can begin.

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

Søren Kierkegaard

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Exhibitions and upcoming events

2021 -  ROY'S ART FAIR - Barge House, Southbank, Oxo Tower Wharf, London
             SE1 9PH
 ,  27-30th May 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'@70 The 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

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 © 2019 by Helle Johansen-Baker. 

Abstract Artist

+44 7895 607939

Leigh on sea Marina, High Street, Leigh-On-Sea Essex SS9 2ES

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