Helen Ballardie


Helen has been painting her new Garden Series to music, painting the subject matter that she sees before her, the landscape that surrounds her.


As the pandemic hit, it coincided with her having her first garden. Looking back over the past few years, it seemed that much what was important was out there - small flowers, birds, insects, all surviving and thriving year after year, sprouting new buds and hatching, the cycle of life happening before her eyes. Helen spent a lot of time studying them, filming and photographing them, studying behaviours of birds, listening to their calls, redirecting and rehydrating the insects, bees and birds that had run into trouble. Alone in her garden she felt truly immersed in this silent and busy world especially in the absence of people. Tiny things became very large in her life and this subject matter started to spill over into her paintings at the same time.


Helen likes working on different media - for some paintings in this series she worked on the canvas un-stretched against the wall, enjoying the hard surface beneath that allowed her to really scratch into it and be a lot less precious, introducing new materials into the paintings too, with pencils and chalks.


She even incorporates real flowers into this work which is a natural continuation from her past Spring Series where the flowers were painted in a flat form as if pressed in a book. By introducing real flowers there is this sense of preserving time, capturing a moment in time forever.


Helen obtained a first class degree in Fine Art Painting at Canterbury College of Art.  In 2014, she won the Dulwich Picture Gallery's Open Exhibition and has exhibited widely throughout the UK. Helen has recently been commissioned to create work for the Cadogan Belmond Hotel in Chelsea, The Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire and The Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.  In 2020, seven of Helen's paintings appeared on the set of the BBC Drama The Split Season 2.


See Our Feature on Helen Ballardie