Helen Brown’s watercolor technique is made even more distinctive by her usage of ginwashi rice paper. “It’s a paradox because the art looks loose, but I actually have to be quite deliberate. In watercolor once you lose the whites, they’re gone.” Helen uses a unique wax resist process to preserve the dynamic light/dark interplay in her work that she has dubbed ‘watercolor batik’.
Most inspired and excited by the process of painting itself Helen loves light and interesting perspectives. These elements draw her to paint unexpected topics and subjects as well as the natural beauty around her. She often creates paintings that carry a message. This can be seen in her Lewis & Clark series as well as her show In a Perfect World…, where she offered a vision for a compassionate and just society.
Even if she’s not trying to make a statement in a piece of art, Brown believes that art simply communicates by existing. “A beautiful scene is an emotional thing, and you’re trying to make a connection that way.”
Originally from the Portland area Helen’s career as a French high school teacher took her to Australia. After years overseas, she and her husband returned to the U.S. looking for their new home. Knowing that they wanted to end up in the Northwest, they decided on Bend, Oregon. The art and nature-surrounded town felt like home immediately. The move marked a new chapter in her life. She started to pursue art and took to watercolor almost immediately. Taking advantage of both local and national workshops she quickly found her own path. A curious and versatile artist, she stretches herself by painting any subject that catches her interest—people and animals, stacks of books, sculptures, maps, landmarks…and of course the incredible natural landscape.
Helen has been a member artist of Tumalo Art Co. since 2010. She loves being part of a supportive gallery community with other Oregon artists, working in many styles and mediums. When she’s not painting, being a gallerist at Tumalo Art Co., or taking a class, Helen can be found hiking, skiing, golfing, or otherwise getting outside in Bend. The natural beauty of Central Oregon restores her creative energy and spurs her to keep creating her luminous watercolor works.