Helena Wilsen - Saunders

Helena Wilsen - Saunders

What is your favourite colour?

I love grey.
The beauty of grey is that it isn’t stark, it isn’t black and it isn’t white. It is the myriad of permutations in between. Just like life. When I make the simplest stroke of graphite on a blank surface I open up a world of possibilities. Creating something wonderful, magical and hopeful out of nothingness. Grey has a thousand variations, it can be a warm grey, a prelude to sunshine, or it can be deep and cold, heavy with the threat of storms. As an artist I want to bring these subtle, exciting complexities to my work.

I have created lots of my images in the greyest, most despairing moments but my works are full of optimism, beauty and growth. Seeds, plants, cells, suns, moons, stars, babies and all manner of strange growing things come alive in my works. These forms arrive on the paper and canvas from my imagination. I nurture them with clear observation and memories and breathe life and feeling into them with colour, tone or expression. There is always a surreal quality to them, a magic realism and a hint of mystery that provokes an emotional reaction from the viewer.

My most recent works have been loosely inspired by Robert Hooke’s ‘Micrographia’. Hooke was the first person to use a microscopic lens to look at the world in close detail. In my drawings and paintings I am bringing attention to the beauty of life, nature and growth. Not by literal observations and translations but allowing my emotional responses dictate the forms and colours to reflect this loveliness. The mystery of why and how things grow, come into existence, is explained magnificently by science but the wonder of it all needs an artist’s voice. These pieces bring the viewer into the fantastic, ethereal micro-world of nature and creation.

I always hope that my images speak for themselves. But they often don’t say the same thing to everyone! Most of my images are about fecundity and the feminine creation of life.

The open flower petals are all reminiscent of the labia and show ovarian imagery. There are often small spermazoa racing around the central image looking for a resting place but the main emphasis is the feminine, the flower, the vessel, the womb.

As I start drawing I feel a growing excitement as a simple pencil mark becomes a seed, which in turn becomes fully formed as a plant or human. The creative act celebrates creation. The pencil marks or brushstrokes dictating the flow or pattern within the forms. I marvel at bringing something new to life each day through my artwork. I love the process and the promise of something good to come.

I create what I do because it is as important as sleeping and breathing to me. But most importantly I try to surround myself with a beauty and optimism that celebrates life, no matter how grey it gets at times and that is what I hope the viewer sees and feels when looking at my works.

All works by Helena Wilsen - Saunders (21 pictures)

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