The winner of Jackson’s Early Entry Award for Watercolour has been chosen! With over 1000 entries to Jackson’s Open Art Prize so far it was decided that Helga Powell’s ‘Autumn Light’ was the winner of £100 worth of Winsor & Newton Watercolour products.
‘Autumn Light’ by Helga Powell. Watercolour, Gouache and Pastel on Fabriano Artistico paper.
Helga Powell, a primarily self-taught artist based in North Herefordshire defines her style as “a twist on traditional botanical illustration.”
‘Autumn Light’ has intense colour and definition, this is how Helga describes the piece:
“Working from observation and my own photography, this is a large scale work that monumentalises the small and humble hedgerow blackberry. By magnifying the fruit, its incredible structure is revealed and it takes on an almost planet like presence. The play of light that bounces off the fruit’s surface – the beautiful reds and blue, is staggering. The blackberry epitomises for me all the juicy fruitfulness of Autumn – its beauty and structure deserves to be celebrated!”
We asked Helga some questions to find out more about her inspiration and fascination with the natural world:
What inspired you to start painting?
“I have always had a strong drive to paint and draw, from a very early age – in fact my first major work was a series of three foot high fairies in black crayon, drawn on every wall of my parent’s freshly painted living room!
Although I have a love of literature and music now, it was the language of art that I connected with first. I drew far more than I read in my early years and the urge to ‘make marks’ has never left me. I went on to study Art History at UCL – something I will always treasure as it fundamentally taught me how to look at and read visual culture.
I finally took up painting professionally after having children and leaving London in 2006. I set up a studio in my garden in 2010. I still feel very much that I am at the early stages of this endeavour and look forward to how it might develop.”
All of your paintings and illustrations seem to be inspired by the natural world, is there a particular reason for this?
“I grew up in beautiful rural West Wales and after fifteen years of studying and working in London, I now live with my husband and children in equally beautiful rural North Herefordshire. I had a lot of freedom as a child to wander beaches, rivers, farmland and lanes. I was able to indulge my imagination and lose myself in the magical worlds of hedgerows and rock pools and spend hours watching birds and insects. On the one hand there is a harmonious logic and balance to the pattern, structure and colour found in nature, yet on the other hand it can shock and excite with unexpected contrasts and clashes. I can’t imagine ever tiring of it as a source of inspiration.”
Can we see your work exhibited anywhere at the moment or in the future?
“Yes, I exhibit locally and regularly at the Lion Gallery, Broad St, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 8BT
I will be their featured artist in June 2016 with an exhibition entitled ‘Dawn Chorus’, a series of mono-prints celebrating the birds that take part in the British dawn chorus.
I will be having an exhibition of my floral watercolour work in the second half of July at the ‘Leg of Mutton’, Kington, Herefordshire, HR5 3BL
From September 10th-18th I will be opening my studio to the public for h.Art week, (Herefordshire Art week), where I will be exhibiting new work which explores the incredible structure and colour of leaves and lichen, alongside my floral work and bird mono-prints.
Helga would love the opportunity to exhibit further afield, for commissions, enquiries or for any other information contact her via her website
Coming up next: Soft Pastel Week
An entry using soft pastel will be chosen from the entries submitted by 13th March. The winner selected will be announced on 18th March and Schmincke will provide a Schmincke Handmade Soft Pastels set of 45 assorted pastels in a wooden box (value £160).