Growing up in Scotland taught oil and acrylic painter Helen Duffy a special appreciation for the beauty of the world around her.
That appreciation has only grown as Helen started traveling from country to country, soaking up new scenes and ever-changing landscapes and making them her own through each stroke of paint on canvas.
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“Whether it is an arresting panoramic view of a mountain range, the simplest form of a flower head or an intricate pattern of trees, I immediately take endless photographs in order to capture the moment,” she said.
Looking at Helen’s first painting below, I love that there are no hard outlines of trees or a path; all of element simply exist in perfect harmony with one another, with no real focal point.
The trees weave and bleed into the background while the forest path winds its way lazily into distance, where it is overtaken with brush and foliage. The trees’ golden leaves compliment their trunks’ blue shadowing to perfection.
The second thing I absolutely adore about this painting is the vertical composition of trees and Helen’s use of white to really accentuate and brighten the painting. Without the vividness of the white tree trunks, I think the painting would be lost to the dark canopy and frenzy of the forest.
In a way, it even reminds of Alice and Wonderland. Much like Alice, I can’t help but follow the white trees (in her case it was a white rabbit) deeper into the chaotic, yet intoxicatingly beautiful forest.
I also knew immediately that I wanted to feature Roc D’Orsay (seen below) because it quickly brought back my own pleasant memories of skiing solo down a quiet mountain.
I imagine the snowboarder in this painting knows just what I mean—to be a minuscule player in such magnificent, icy terrain gives you a startling understanding of how vast and unrelenting the world is. The overwhelming silence feels more powerful than the noise of a crowded room. . . I wonder if this is how Helen felt when she first captured this setting.
Last but not least, I’m doing my best to refrain from sneezing just by looking at Fairy Days! The texture of this dandelion is fuzzy, yet what I keep coming back to are the specific, detailed etchings in the middle of the flower, which add so much life and character to the piece.
Of course, there’s also dandelion seeds taking flight, practically coming alive as they drift across the painting. . . I love their contrast with the vibrant orange background, which to me portrays the colorful essence of a dandelion at the pinnacle of its life.
I like to think that this painting is actually telling a tale of then and now, as the dandelion in the painting, on its last legs, sets free its final seeds in hopes of one day rising again.
More of Helen’s incredible paintings can be found on her website, including vast mountain scenes, crashing seascapes, compelling tree and flower compositions and much, much more—so be sure to check it out!