A 25 year resident of rural Morton County, North Dakota, Helen has resumed full time art-making with a foray into paintings that are in many cases expressionistic in their portrayal of sky dominated western North Dakota. Helen often works on location, without use of photos, and with minimal studio touch-ups. She has always loved the relation of art and a life lived close to the land and chooses to use plein air painting, or open air painting, as a way to emphasize strong connection with the land. Art and life can be as close as a painting needing to be executed quickly because of wind, or cold, or heat, or insect bites, or just the sun's movement changing the shape and color of shadows and lit areas. She feels a work is most successful when the colors, textures, and composition fit the overall mood and subject. Working in acrylic with layering and gestural brush strokes, using her palette knife to apply paint or scrape and scratch, and sometimes incorporating objects she attaches to the canvas, Helen's goal is that a painting may reflect a little of the character of the northern great plains, and by implication, the stamina and grit needed by those who reside here. This is a country of beauty, of big skies, of rolling fields, buttes and coulees, familiar and dear to many of us, but changing. Hydraulic fracturing technology and the rapid expansion of oil drilling in this region means that these landscapes can't escape an implied oil rig, if not an actual one. A few of Helen's works include allusions to the oil boom such as 'Lines Crossed' and 'The Story's Not Yet Written'. 'The Land Gives' implies the readiness of our land to give of itself for our benefit, both agriculturally and from its very depths.
Helen presently has a show at the Conference Room of the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association at 422 E. Front Ave. Bismarck, ND, running through March 22nd. Helen has shown her work in various states and the province of Ontario. She received a BFA in 1980 from Calvin College, Grand Rapids MI. In 1987 Helen and her husband moved from New York to North Dakota where they have since lived and enjoyed raising their 5 children.