Australian Artist & Illustrator
Helen Leach

Biography


Helen Leach - Grampians Artist

I am a self-taught, instinctive painter. I have a quick, direct style and seldom do more than a quick sketch prior to ploughing straight into a board or canvas. I have been influenced in a very broad way by numerous painters. Impressionists, Post-Impressionists (particularly Cezanne), Australian painters such as Nolan, Pugh, Williams, Boyd, Cossington-Smith – an endless list.

I seldom paint outdoors as I find all the details of the bush distracting. I make brief “shorthand” sketches of the essence of the composition, with written notes on colours, forms etc. and take photos when possible to use simply as reminders while painting in the studio. This way I try to keep the strength of what attracted me to the subject, and feel free to use an abstract element in the work , to catch the atmosphere rather than reality of detail

I first tried oils while in my teens and worked in this medium until a few years ago. About ten years ago, I began to use oil/water miscible paints, which have a different texture to oils, and dry more quickly.

In the ‘70’s I was given some artists’ pastels and, despite hating the old Reeves pastels of my schooldays, I found I really liked soft artists’ pastels. I currently work in acrylics and pastels.

Originally, I couldn’t get used to acrylic; it seemed flat and dull. Combining it with oil/water miscible paint gave it more body and, used with a broad knife and brushes, it’s now my preferred medium.