Artist Profiles » Helen F Parsons
Helen is an award winning artist residing on the Auckland coast with her husband and four children. She has always been artistic, yet only discovered her passion for painting when attending art classes expecting her second child. She has since found painting to be her ‘sanity-saver’ – a private and creative refuge in her busy life. Versatility and vibrant use of colour are the hallmarks of Helen's work as is her wide variety of subject matter.
Her preferred medium is acrylic, though she is happy to delve into oils and mixed media on occasion.
Helen’s first solo exhibition at Art Of This World, ‘A Fresh Perspective’ in November 2004 reminded us to remember the good things in life, to slow down and be open to the beauty that is all around us.
Helen’s paintings explored the incredibly diverse nature of our country, the unique flora and fauna and landscape that together help mould us into what we are.
‘Roads We’ve Travelled’ is Helen’s second exhibition at Art Of This World. In this exhibition Helen explores the idea of journeys travelled from two different perspectives in time. From journeys under-taken by New Zealander’s during the 1940’s Depression to childhood memories of travelling from countryside to coast in anticipation of family holidays.
Helen is interested in the significant events of New Zealand history that have shaped and moulded us into who we are today.
For example Helen explains her painting 'Washing Up', During the Depression in the 1930's the Government established relief camps throughout New Zealand. These provided satisfactory, useful work for the unemployed men in return for sustenance and a small wage.
Subdued colours of brown and ochre reflect the grimness of the times.
The paintings have a textural quality emphasised with a scraffito effect to define the edges of the figures and the shadows.
The heavy border outlines and defines the picture plane leading the viewers’ eye into the narrative of the painting.
In the painting 'The War has Ended - God Save the King!' school boys salute the flag during celebrations marking the victorious end of a long and relentless World War II (1945).
The painting 'Evacuation Napier' describes the scene on February the 3rd 1931, when the Hawkes Bay district was devastated by a severe earthquake. Many people were killed and thousands suffered injuries. Damage was so severe in Napier the people had to be evacuated.
In contrast the paintings drawing on Helen Parson’s memories of childhood excursions to beaches and baches are bold and colourful.
Cherry red pohutukawa line rocky coastlines and sandy beaches are dotted with kiwiana icons.
The vibrant use of vivid, contrasting primary colours gives these works a freshness of youthful vitality and evokes the magic of special places for the viewer.
'Life isn’t one-dimensional and I’ve tried to reflect that', Helen says of her work.
'My work is about roads we’ve travelled and places we’ve been, from things I’ve been told and those I have seen.'
Helen’s paintings are very popular and many of her works hang in private collections both internationally and throughout New Zealand.
Helen has won many awards including the 1st - James Chapman Award for Modern/Contempory Painting at the Franklin Arts festival 2006, 1st - Miniature Section - Franklin Arts Festival 2006, K G Fraser Art Award for the Most Outstanding Painting - Royal Easter Show 2005, Royal Agricultural Society Medal for Most Successful Artist at the Royal Easter Show 2005, 1st - "Colour of Our Country" section - Royal Easter Show 2005, 3rd - "Open Small Painting" section - Royal Easter Show 2005, Merit -"Open Small Painting" section - Royal Easter Show 2005, Merit - "Open Oil & Opaque" section - Royal Easter Show 2005, 1st - Miniature Section - Franklin arts Festival 2005 and 1st - "Colour of our Country" section - Royal Easter Show 2004.
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