Self-taught in the use of oils, the paints found me when they fell out of a cupboard in 2006 and using them came naturally from the start…which I did at every oportunity, as a therapy of sorts. Within two years, following an entirely chance conversation, I was invited to exhibit a collection of work in a prestigious Hampshire gallery and so began a full-time art career.
My paintings have now been exhibited in galleries across the UK, in London and New York, plus many group exhibitions, art trails and charity events. They are held in private collections all around the world and hung on the walls of the kind of places that people go to be healed due to the “healing energy” and “sense of peace” they have been found to contain. Dealing direct with my growing customer base is something I particularly relish since I enjoy watching my paintings “accidentally” find their way home with exactly the right person which is something they have a knack of doing. With that in mind, I encourage you to contact me directly as a starting point to owning a piece of my art.
It’s fair to say that art has transformed my life and, in 2013, I accepted an invitation to publish an account of my art-and health-recovery journey in a collection of autobiographical stories as part of a best-selling series of inspirational books that includes contributions from the likes of Marianne Williamson and other self-help veterans. In 2014 and 2015, I received no less than four American Art Awards in this annual event juried by a selection of top US galleries and which receives many hundred of entries from over 50 countries. I have been represented by Bridgeman Images for a number of years via whom my artworks are available to license. Since 2017, I have been putting together an exclusive collection of fabric designs for VIDA who create stunning art-inspired fashion accessories and clothing using silk, cashmere and other so-beautiful fabrics whilst empowering their employees with education programs related to literacy, women’s right, personal finance and so much more. You can watch a video about their inspiring efforts to support both artists and manufacturers here.
My work is diverse but my core subject is “light” or, more particularly, those moments of intense radiance that are as transformative as they are fleeting. Colours are vibrant and bold yet there is a subtle energetic quality (beyond the visual) that has been commented upon numerous times. People have described my work as ‘healing’, ‘mesmerizing’ and ‘like a portal into another dimension’. The latter statement was made by renowned energy intuitive Lee Harris who purchased one of my paintings.
For over a decade now, I have been based in Berkshire UK, in that little patch of rusticity that lies between Reading and Wokingham, sharing my topsy-turvey home-come-studio with my unfailingly patient husband, daughter and Rhodesian Ridgeback dog (who, if I am in “the zone” sometimes has to wait a little longer for his walk than he would like).
Now for the slightly longer bio…
Out of the cupboard
It was as though the oil paints found me as they fell out of the back of a cupboard one day during a period of my life defined by complete overwhelm and the cascading health issues that are known as fibromyalgia. For years, I’d followed a winding path with no particular career objective: I obtained an English Literature degree, which was followed by various different jobs, many years of self-employment doing a variety of things and then switched through necessity to all the high-octane pressure of a stressful corporate role whilst still freelancing by evening to make ends meet. So, you could say, none of those years felt anything like I was following my bliss and, combined with a divorce and raising a young child single-handedly, I was steadily feeling more and more overwhelmed by life. As if I needed anything else to “go wrong” as I began to question where this was all heading, my health started to fail me in the most bizarre and alarming ways and I found myself increasingly unable to cope with my job or, indeed life itself as my physical condition unravelled. The jumbled mess that came tumbling out of the cupboard looked exactly like my life and the unused paints that had been forgotten about at the back of all this mess felt like a metaphor for the colourful and promising daydreams of my youth that I’d put down prematurely and mislaid many years before. When had I lost my way so badly; to the point that I could hardly recognise my life as the one I had imagined when I was growing up?
Yet something told me to unscrew the lids on those tubes, to make those first tentative marks on a blank white surface – that was in the Spring of 2006. Painting in oils came naturally and these paints smelt strangely familiar, behaved predictably and seemed like old friends. In a sense, I had arrived home.
Six months later, circumstances orchestrated around me in a way that allowed me to give up conventional work to reclaim my health and I found myself painting as often as I could. My first impulse was to assume I needed to “acquire” technique and so I enrolled on a day’s mentorship with internationally renowned artist Caroline Hulse FRSA with a view to going on to one of her longer courses. At the end of that day, Caroline told me I was a “complete natural” and should just go off and experiment, so I did. A chance conversation led to a very smart gallery, one that I would have assumed was well out of my league (though they apparently didn’t think so), inviting me to exhibit a collection of my work in their next exhibition and I never looked back.
Alongside my eventful journey as a self-taught artist, I have been on a parallel one – towards health or “wholeness”, as a recoveree from fibromyalgia, CFS and myofascial pain syndrome. At the same time as pursuing this return to health, I also started to spend much more time walking in nature, noticing how being outside, where my preoccupation became photographing moments of intense light, accelerated my recovery process, however lousy my body happened to be feeling when I set off on these daily jaunts. I became increasingly drawn to bringing these experiences home with me and expressing them on canvas, which prolonged the feeling of being expanded far beyond how my body was actually feeling.
As I travelled further along this road, sampling various healing modalities and learning how to expand my own awareness in order to assist my own recovery, I became increasingly conscious that energy is absolutely everything. That is, thoughts and intentions are energy, objects are (slower moving) energy, we all exist as part of an energetic universe in which all things are intricately connected by energy; something my journey towards health and wholeness demonstrated to me, over and over again, in so many countless ways. When we “see” something, there is so much more going on that what our eyes take in at surface level and, when an artist paints their intention, they energetically connect with the viewer as well as connecting that viewer with an aspect of whatever it is that inspired them to create. I discovered that when that inspiration came in the form of a light-infused subject or a moment of intense radiance where time seems to stand still in the glow of its own serenity, those experiences could be felt through the artwork and could be transformative or even healing.
I discovered also that subjects such as these hold a particular vibration, a frequency, that can be felt by others and which can uplift them or even activate their own positive experience; as though they were there at the moment of inspiration. This is conveyed through a visual language that relies on balance, beauty and light; visual cues that we all know how to read because they are already ‘out there’ in nature, instinctively read by us from the moment we are born and capable of lifting our souls whenever we choose to tune into them. As such, the visual arts are able to tap into the broadest “unseen” realms of experience using what is visible as a prompt to the eyes; a reminder that activates memory and healing. If my own experiences are to be believed then, at the very core of this shared universal “language” of wellbeing and healing is “light”; the most central preoccupation of my art.
Fragmented into wholeness
If my crashing health had felt like an experience of fragmentation, of profound disintegration, then moments of light intensity seemed to serve as a reminder of the very return to “wholeness” that I sought. Even before I noticed the theme, my work started to look like an unconscious exploration of this motif of a journey back towards unity, typically conveyed as moments of supreme intensity and radiance (my earliest subjects were mist, fog and rather moody landscapes but, in parallel with my healing process, I moved on to where I was suddenly painting explosive sunsets and then moments of gentle radiance “being let in” through windows…). It began to occur to me, through my painting meditation, that sunsets represented to me that singular moment when all the diverse colour and contrast, the hard lines and structure of physicality begin to soften and fragment, drawing back together into their co-creation of the full-spectrum white light that is at the source of everything. In those fleeting moments of intensity, it is as though the oneness, or “one source”, that underlies everything in creation is made overtly – if temporarily – visible to the eye. This is something that I found I loved to play with, not least through the theme of light streaming in through the ‘hard edged, man-made boundaries’ that are window frames, dissolving those structures away in the dazzle of light until the separation between inside and out is no longer so apparent (something which also seemed to be taking place in me as I healed). It taught me something else that proved to be so important to my own recovery; that, in order to return to this state of completeness, wholeness, unity and light, it had been entirely necessary to, first, soften and fragment or break apart until I felt scattered in pieces…just as I had watched happen in nature, time and time again. In other words, my own health ‘crash’ had been the gift that had broken me down in order to help me reformat myself in an altogether more cohesive and inclusive way, leading to a new kind of wholeness which is so much more than, though inclusive of, physical health.
Beyond the canvas
My journey from a place of “crashed” health towards a state of profound wellbeing fuelled such enthusiasm to share my journey with others that my first blog, Spinning the Light, was born in March 2011. On the back of that, I was then invited to publish my art-journey as an autobiographical story to be included in a best-selling series of books entitled “Adventures in Manifesting” which was published and released internationally by Älska Publishing at the end of 2013.
Two further blog-spaces – Light on Art and Living Whole – were created in 2015 to further specialise in the two main topics that remain closest to my heart, being “art” and “healthy and hollistic living”.
Meanwhile, the photography that underlies my painting, which can be explored at Helen White Photography, has attracted its own audience, with images published and available for licensing and prints. My digital design work has grown out of that niche; which, in turn, has turned into the prolific fabric design collections I have created. You can explore my art on luxury cashmere and silk clothing (such as this cashmere silk scarf, left) in my exclusive collection for VIDA and home products and more in my designer store for London-based Bags of Love.
For well over a decade now, I have been based in Berkshire UK, in that little patch of rusticity that lies between Reading and Wokingham where I live in a somewhat topsy-turvey house-come-studio with my husband, daughter and Rhodesian Ridgeback, all of whom are (thankfully) tolerant of, and hugely entertained by, the many eccentricities that fuel my creativity.
Exhibitions and other art-related events are generally announced in the blog on this page, on social media and via my newsletter, which you can sign up for on the left of this page. However, I do heartily encourage anyone who trips upon my work via this website to contact me direct if purchasing originals is of interest. You can also purchase originals from Artfinder.
Canvas and paper prints plus customisable cards and other printed products can be ordered via my storefront on Fine Art America for dispatch from two fulfilment centres – one in the UK and another in the US. Orders are sent within one business day to same-country addresses and 2-5 days to the rest of the world. I also accept custom orders to supply archival quality prints to photo rag or canvas direct to UK customers – please contact me to discuss sizes and quantity.
Much of my energy and enthusiasm is going into digital art and fabric design these days. Prints can, again, be purchased on Artfinder or via my photography website. My collection of luxury clothing for VIDA is an ever-growing shop front and these beautifully made items of wearable art can be purchased at VIDA – and please contact me if you wish to subscribe to my VIDA mailing list to recieve regular bonuses and discounts on these beautiful products.