The Artist Painting Nature's Patterns

Posted in In the Studio by Aimee Morris on 01st May 2018

For as long as she’s been an artist, Helen Wells has been fascinated by the patterns and motifs that exist in nature. From fossils and feathers to snowflakes and seashells, nature’s bounty is Helen’s muse and she incorporates its patterns into her ink and watercolour works with delicate precision. Helen won the Winsor and Newton Watercolour Revolution competition in 2014. She has since exhibited around the UK and her works can be found in private collections worldwide.



What themes and ideas are you exploring with your art?

My artwork is intuitive and intricate, often featuring ideas and imagery from the subconscious. I use expressive mark-making to create abstract pieces that feature repetition and rhythm, layers of complexity and organic forms. I’m fascinated by the interplay of colours, shapes and patterns.


The Garden at The Water's Edge by Helen Wells


My paintings are rarely envisioned but develop over days as I respond to the materials and the marks on the page, creating complex illusionary landscapes. I’m mesmerized by the beauty, colours and patterns in our natural world. I’ll frequently have a love affair with something where I become obsessed with it for a while; from snow flake structures to patterns on shells.



Tell us about your processes

I experiment in my sketchbooks and will sometimes take a germ of an idea from these and use it as a springboard for a larger work. Most of my work is painted in watercolour. There is something about the unpredictability of this kind of paint which I find alluring and magical.



I love the way the paint and colour mixes with the water on the page and creates unexpected patterns. I love the transparency of it, the ability to build up layer after layer of paint. There’s a slight wild-childness about watercolour - it doesn’t always do what you want it to do, and I love it all the more for that.


Sunset Waters by Helen Wells


When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

As a child I was always drawing. I loved spending hours creating elaborate and intricate patterns from my imagination. I used to get through so much paper that my dad started to buy me large rolls of wallpaper lining-paper to keep up with my insatiable demand for more paper.



So drawing and painting was something which came innately me as a child. But I only became a full-time artist later in life. I took a rather circuitous route to get here as a profession and it is perhaps all the sweeter for it.



What does being creative mean to you?

Creativity is making your ideas manifest. It’s singing your song, dancing your dance and embracing your weirdness. It’s being true to who you are and creating the things that only you can create. The hope is that someone else will see what you have created and that they will connect with it.


The Sea's Spell by Helen Wells


Tell us about your studio space - what do you love about it?

I am very lucky to have two rooms at the top of our house in Hastings. I’ve painted the walls and floor white to maximize the light. Having painted wooden floors also means I can roll back the rugs and make a real mess without any worries.



Browse Helen's Works >>