Artistic inspiration comes from action

Sometimes artistic inspiration doesn’t come to me. Sometimes the blank page feels like a reflection of my mind – just a bit blank. It’s part of the ebb and flow of a creative life. Over time I’ve learnt not to worry or fret about this feeling.  I know it will pass and that I need to play an active role in helping it to pass.

Instead of being anxious or fretting about feeling uninspired, I know I have to take some action. Even small actions can magically unlock ideas, and lead to new paintings and artworks. Rather than waiting for inspiration to arrive – I like to go out and find it!

As you know, I am a lover of colour and pattern, in fact I am obsessed by colour and pattern! So if I am feeling a little stuck or under-inspired I take myself off for a walk with my camera.  I set a very clear intention to find something interesting and inspiring. And because I’m looking and seeking, I always find it.

These walks are like  mini colour and pattern field trips… I just grab  my camera and go.

And even on the shortest of walks, just a small stroll around the block or park I always find a little magical morsel of something interesting, a texture, an unusual pattern or a great colour combination that ignites a creative spark….

I did this exact thing last week. I went for a little walk on a grey and uninspiring kind of day and I found so many colours and patterns and little moments of beauty. This one short walk actually inspired three new paintings.. I kept spotting pops of bright yellow and bright pink, which ended up being reflected in these paintings… I spotted tangles of foliage and leaves upon leaves….

Here are some of the snaps I took and then the paintings that were inspired by my little fieldtrip:

Paintings in progress:

contemporary watercolour helen wells

And the finished paintings, which were inspired by my little creative adventure:

Three brand new abstract watercolour paintings, part of series called Our Colourful Garden. They are visually rich, illusionary organic landscapes. Inspired by a tangle of leaves and new flora and foliage growth. They are bright and positive.

I painted them by adding multiple layers of watercolour paint and adding hand drawn pen and ink detailing. Painted on beautiful 100% pure cotton watercolour paper. A set of unique, original paintings, colourful and striking.

These paintings are available to buy here.

Dimensions 26 x 36 x 0.01 cm (unframed)

These artwork are sold unframed cost £115 each or £300 for all three.
Shipping: Free  signed for postage

Our Colourful Garden Two by Helen Wells

 

Our Colourful Garden One by Helen Wells

 

 

Our Colourful Garden Three by Helen Wells

If you are interested in owning these unique paintings please visit here for more information

Autumn abstract paintings

leaves on water in Hastings park

Autumn inspiration for abstract paintings:

It’s Autumn here in the UK. The leaves are turning golden, russet red and floating from the trees. I love the colours of the new season and the changing landscape. The cold, crisp mornings and the frost on the ground.

I’m lucky to have a lovely local park a few minutes walk from my home/studio. It’s a super special place full of unusual  ponds, plants, foliage, flora and fauna.

It’s a constant source of inspiration and ideas. Even if I’m feeling stuck or particularly lacking in inspiration, I take myself and my camera off for a stroll. Somehow, wandering around the park always fills up my creative well. It can easily move me from stuck to inspired.

I really try and hunt for interesting shapes and colours, making a concerted effort to stop and look, to see, to take it all in and notice the small yet brilliant details.

 

The pond in Alexandra Park Hastings

By taking my time to look at the patterns on the leaves, the forms and textures of the plants and trees, I always find something that fascinates me.

I took myself off on one of these “inspiration safaris” recently. I was feeling anxious, worried and overwhelmed by what’s happening in the wider world. Sometimes the drum beat of fear can drown out the song of joy. So rather than worrying about the macro, I went looking for the micro. I found that I was particularly attracted to the way the leaves had fallen on the pond. The way they collected, danced and moved on the water’s surface. In fact it inspired a whole new set of abstract paintings.

autumn leaves on the floor top technique for seeking inspiration

How I paint:

To make my paintings I start with a gummed block of paper from Arches. This Aquarelle watercolour paper is super luxurious and just makes me so happy. It’s 100% pure cotton and because it is gummed on all four sides, you can throw a lot of water and paint at it and it never crinkles or wrinkles. It always stays perfectly flat.

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The paint I always use is Winsor and Newton Artist grade watercolour paint. I have four or five different pallets and arrange these in vague colour order. On these paintings I also added a little pop of Rose Fluorescent Pink Acrylic paint to achieve the bright pink colour. I also occasionally mix in some Daniel Smith paint  as they have a great range of unusual  and vivid colours.

Each painting is built up with layer upon layer of paint. I like to keep coming back and adding a little more detail or a different colour here and there. They were really fun to paint. I hope you love them… They will be available to buy soon.

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Contemporary Watercolour painting by Helne Wells bright colours and abstract image

contemporary watercolour by Helen Wells, abstract, colours, autumn, organicContemporary Watercolour, colour, abstract painting, organic, colourful

Leaves on Water by Helen Wells

Win an original painting

flower, contemporary watercolour, colour, pattern, licensing art,

As you are all so awesome, I thought it was about time I did another one of my giveaways. Would you like to win an original painting? Yay.

It is called Golden Bloom and is a stylised contemporary watercolour painting of a beautiful flower coming into bloom. Inspired by a Rhododendron flower about to burst into full bloom. I live near a stunning park in Hastings called Alexandra Park. I often go for a wander there to find inspiration. This flower caught my eye and  inspired this painting.

It is painted on the finest 100% cotton paper with artists watercolour paint. It is 23cm x 31cm.

Win an original painting by Helen Wells colourful contemporary watercolour

Golden Bloom by Helen Wells win an original painting by helen wells
Intricate pencil patterns have been added. It also features gold iridescent watercolour paint on the leaves so that they shine when they catch the light. It would usually sell for over £100. But one of you can win it.

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So let’s make this competition super simple. To win this original painting just leave a comment below. I will pick a winner at random on 24th July. I will email you to ask for your address and will then pop the unframed painting in the post to the winner. Oh yes I will.. Good luck lovely ones.

 

Inspiration for a painting

licensing art, contemporary watercolour abstract

I thought I’d make a little video showing how where I live influences my work. And try and capture the inspiration for a painting. I’m really lucky to live in lovely Hastings. Living by the sea is a constant source of inspiration. I love walking on the shoreline looking at the colours and patterns. Looking at the way the water laps on the sand or stones. I always come back from a walk on the beach full of inspiration. For me there is a real connection between my surroundings and my art medium. I flipping love watercolour paint. There is something quite wonderful about the way the water and paint mix on the page. The unpredictable and beautiful effects the paint and water make in combination.

Inspiration for a painting from Helen wells on Vimeo.

This is the first time I’ve ever shot any video or film. I really enjoyed the process and would like to make more little films about my art. I’m sure my camera skills will improve! I learnt two crucial lessons in the process of making this film. 1. Don’t wear suede shoes to the beach and 2. it is really really hard to film yourself painting…

The painting is available to buy in my Artfinder Shop

Let me know what you think about the video and what you might like to see in my next one…

Abstract watercolour paintings set sail

contemporary watercolour, colour, pattern, abstract painting, licensing art,

This week I packed up these six abstract watercolour paintings. They are off to live on a new cruise ship. I love that there is a wonderful synchronicity at play.  These paintings were inspired by water, made with water and will soon be living on water. They are all 46cm x 61cm and made with multiple layers of watercolour paint, with gold and pencil detailing in places. Bon Voyage…

IMG_0444 abstract watercolour joy and Wonder abstract watercolour abstract watercolour

Inspiration captured and curated on instagram

I love getting inspired by what I see in the world and capturing those small ideas and tiny inspirations to use in my artworks.

 

I do often take my proper grown up camera out looking for interesting patterns, colour combinations and textures. But my actual camera is large and bulky and I often don’t have it when I see something that I find lovely.

So I am increasingly using my phone camera and Instagram to record inspiration and ideas.

I’m obsessed by colour and patterns and that shows in my Instagram gallery. It’s my visual scrapbook and journal. It’s a way of easily capturing and curating inspiration. I tend to take photographs of:

  • Textures, colour and patterns from nature. When I’m feeling stuck or lacking in inspiration I take myself for a nice walk in the park or on the beach and I always seem to find something to inspire. My latest love affair is with tree silhouettes, see below.artists on instagramPainting inspired by trees in the park on instagram
  • I also like to take shots of small details of my artworks as they progress.
  • And I take shots around the house. I have magpie tendencies and love old ceramics, colourful rugs, pretty painted boxes and all manor of other curios. My collection of crazy and colourful objects  are a source of great inspiration.

Do you use Instagram? What do you take photographs of? How does it inspire you?

Inside my sketchbook, pen drawings

This week I have not been in my studio once. I have been stuck in bed with a boring cold/chest infection combination. But there has been a silver lining, in-between the sneezing and the sleeping I’ve had plenty of time to play around in my sketchbook.Inside the sketchbook of Helen Wells pen drawing

Inspiration

In terms of subject matter, I didn’t really plan anything out, just started doodling and went with the flow.  Responding to what was on the page.  As usual there are quite a lot of dots, repetitive patterns and intuitive marks.   The same types of line, marks and gestures always seem to appear, in whatever I’m drawing, I guess it’s just the way my hand and eye work together.

When I am out and about I’m always taking photos of leaves, flowers, pebbles, and all the amazing patterns and textures that I see around me and these definitely influence and permeate my work.

Materials

As I was in bed, my choice of materials was rather limited! I used a Rotring Tikky Graphic technical drawing pen. I have lots of these in different thicknesses. They are cheap, have good light fastness and I like the way the ink flows. I have used lots of sketchbooks over the years and my current favourite is this Notebook. It has beautifully thick paper which can cope with watercolour overload. I have the same one in all the sizes available.

Next steps

I really enjoyed the detailed pen work and might use these sketches as the starting point for some large scale black and white intricate and detailed pieces. My paintings are usually a riot of colour, but being stuck in bed has reminded me that I love monochrome as much as I love maxi-chrome.

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Inside the sketchbook of Helen Wells Artist pen and ink drawings

Here’s another blog post about my use of a sketchbook Inside the sketchbook of Helen Wells Artist pen and ink drawings

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My reflections on 2015

I’ve always loved this time of year. The promise of a shiny new year, brimming with possibilities and a time to reflect on the year just gone. Here are some of my reflections on 2015:

1. Creating a home

The day we picked up the keys to our new house

The day we picked up the keys to our new house

My husband, Mark and I, bought and moved into a new house in need of a lot of love. So this year has involved quite a lot of painting (of the wall variety.) It was also the year when my lovely folks moved out of their home and into assisted living.  So a year which involved far too much packing and unpacking, brown boxes, disruption and chaos. But also a year of new beginnings and turning new abodes into warm and wonderful homes.

2. Art-filled adventure

Being an artist, is as exciting as it is daunting. Finding inspiration and creating art work I am proud of is where it all starts. Then there is the business side of things, marketing, creating new opportunities and having faith that you are doing the right thing and steering your ship in the right direction.

Bursting with Love 2

This time of year is a great time to look back and recognise and remember even small achievements. I find that this taking-stock allows me to see how I have developed. To see how I have grown  as an artist and gives me the confidence to keep riding on this wonderful, unpredictable, roller-coaster of an art-filled adventure. So here are some of the small things I am proud of:

Artfinder pop up exhibition

Artfinder pop up exhibition

  • Being featured in Inside Artists Magazine
  • Having one of my paintings on the back page of our lovely local paper

3. Amazing support and encouragement

One of the most amazing things about 2015 is the support and encouragement I have received. I am quite frankly humbled and blown away by the kindness and generosity of people who read my blog or follow me on social media. The loveliness of all the people who comment, share and buy my artwork has been mind-blowing. It means such a lot to me, so a huge thank you to you for being inspiring and wonderful!

The Underwater Garden by Helen Wells

The Underwater Garden by Helen Wells

The Holiday by Helen Wells

The Holiday by Helen Wells

Joy in the Moment Four by Helen Wells

 

My love of shiny things and gold paint

gold paint detailing on abstract watercolour painting

I’ve always had magpie tendencies, a love of the shiny, the glittering and the golden. My eye is always drawn to shiny objects, mirrors, mosaics, marbles, semi precious stones, sweet wrappers, tiny pieces of sea-worn glass. I love the way these tiny beautiful objects shine and sparkle.

abstract watercolour painting gold paint

Our Blanket of Stars by Helen Wells

This love of all things shiny shows up in my art work. I often use gold paint and iridescent paint in my paintings. I really like its luminescent quality and the way it reflects the light and adds an extra layer of complexity. It also adds a touch of richness and warmth.

painting by Helne wells with Gold paint

I use several  makes of paint. I really like Daniel Smith Watercolours, in Iridescent Gold. It is a beautiful paint, very shiny and really reflects the light. I also often use Golden Paint in Iridescent Bright Gold Fine.

Thw Winter Kiss by Helen Wells gold paint

The Winter Kiss by Helen Wells

There is something a little showy-offy about gold paint that I really like. It draws attention to itself in a way that other colours don’t. It makes its precence felt!

work in progres gold paintwatercolour painting by Helne Wells Wonder of Winter Gold Paintwatercolour by Helen Wells Gold Paint

Paintings can be purchased at my Artfinder shop or via dropping me a line.

Win an original painting by Helen Wells

Abstracted watercolour painting of an ornamental pond

This competition is now closed and the WINNER is Kate Lyon. 

Win an original painting! Yay.

Yes lovely people, to say a massive thank you for all your amazing support and utter brilliance I am giving away this little painting. It would usually sell for over £100 but one of you will get it for free.

It is an abstracted watercolour painting of an ornamental pond in St Leonards on Sea. The piece describes the reflections on the water and how the light danced on the pond’s surface festooned with lilypads. Painted with watercolour paint and gold iridescent paint detailing on beautiful 100% pure cotton paper.
It is  23cm × 31cm × 0.01 cm (unframed) and signed on the back.

Be in it, to win it.

For a chance to win it please just leave a comment below. That’s it. I will draw a random winner on January 7th 2016. I will then contact you for a postal address and send you out your painting. Bingo. Tra la la la.