Helen White

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. Within two years, I was invited into a prestigious Hampshire gallery and so began a full-time art career. 


My paintings have now been exhibited in galleries across the UK and at events such as The Affordable Art Fair, London and the Story of the Creative, New York, plus many group exhibitions, art trails and charity events. They are held in private collections internationally and hung on the walls of several clinics due to the calm, healing energy they are found to contain. ‘Dealing direct' with my growing customer base is something I particularly relish since I enjoy watching my paintings find their way 'home' to exactly the right wall. With that in mind, I encourage you to contact me here as a starting point to owning 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, I received an American Art Award for The Yellow Window; an annual event, juried by a selection of top US galleries, that receives many hundred of entries from over 50 countries. 

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 proudly displays one of my paintings on the walls of his US home. 

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 wending path of English Literature degree, various different jobs, many years of self-employment and then, as the single parent of a very young daughter, a sudden switch to corporate stress whilst still freelancing by evening; none of the more recent years felt anything like following my bliss. The jumbled mess that came tumbling out of the cupboard looked exactly like my life and the unused paints felt like a metaphor for something colourful and promising that I’d put down prematurely, then completely mislaid and even forgotten about, many years before.


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  and I’ve never looked back. Painting in oils came naturally and these paints smelt strangely familiar, behaved predictably and seemed like old friends. 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.


 

Painting energy

 

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 and myofascial pain syndrome. At the same time as pursuing this return to health from 2006 onwards, 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 seeable 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 felt like an experience of fragmentation or 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 how this theme was preoccupying me, my work started to look like a deliberate exploration of this motif of a journey back towards unity, typically conveyed as those moments of supreme intensity and radiance (my subjects began as mist and shadow and then burst into a preoccupation with sunsets and radiance as my health began to improve). I found I was repeatedly drawn to paint scenes where all the diverse and 'busy' details and structure, all the hard lines and edges of form, begin to soften and fragment, then to draw back into their co-creation of the full-spectrum white light that is at the source of everything. Without even knowing it at first, I was trying to convey the source of life itself; and to find myself there...already whole and well.


In those fleeting moments of intensity, it is as though the oneness, the 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 until the separation between inside and out is no longer so apparent. 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…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. I began to see how everything that had happened to me, even what had looked like a breakdown, was in fact the biggest gift I had ever received and at the centre of it all was the discovery that I was an artist!

 

Art for sale 

 

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. More on the benefits of that here. You can also purchase originals from Artfinder, with a link to that on the front page of this website, the advantage being that every painting comes with a satisfaction guarantee and an established returns proceedure.


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. You can go directly to my printing storefront here. 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.

 

 

Spinning light – in paint and then words 

 

As I set about pursuing this subject with my paint, which felt like spinning ordinary, everyday experiences into pure gold, I found that light began to flood ALL aspects of my life, bringing renewed health, wellbeing and a sense of connection with all things. Life was transformed and what art taught me permeated every aspect of my experience in ways that started to cry out to be shared.

 

Newly fuelled with enthusiasm to to do this I created my first blog Spinning the Light in 2011. As a result of this, I was 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 at the end of 2013. Since that time, two further blog-spaces have been added to the mix - Light on Art and Living Whole, allowing me to specialise a little more under these headings and I have recently set to work on writing my long-anticipated book. I also maintain a curated gallery at Painting Light.

 

Meanwhile, even the photography that underlies my painting, which can be found at Helen White Photography, has attracted its own audience, with art-photography prints for sale and my images used for numerous commercial and charitable applications including a growing handful of books. More recently, I have begun mophing photography and painting with digital processing to create designs that I envision being used in a multitude of ways, including fabric and product design. The posibilities are endless and my desire to extend what I do in brand new directions never loses energy.

 

Both painting and writing form the very core of my life these days and, beneath these twin umbrellas, my preoccupations and delivery remain open to continuous evolution on a marvellous life-journey that never gets the chance to grow stale.

 

 

 Helen White, 2017