Rich portraits and life scenes reveal a powerful colouring technique and an eye for detail from this contemporary Australian artist.
From an early age, Helen Peel had an unstoppable need to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush and express how she sees the world - a world rich with colour and radiant light. Throughout her careers as first a hairdresser and then interior designer, Helen was drawn to colour, but work commitments kept her from using her artistic talent as little more than a hobby, dabbling in different techniques and subjects, including sculpture, life drawing, pottery and oil painting.
On retiring to Noosa, Helen travelled extensively and found the time for her passion to paint. Starting with pencil sketches in the streets of Florence, she discovered her strength in portraiture and village scenes from the people and places she saw throughout Europe, each painting inviting us into the life of its subject.
Working exclusively with oils, Helen is an accomplished realist, bringing stories to life with light, shade and movement, in exquisitely delicate brushwork and luminous, vibrant colours.
On each canvas she lays the foundation of a pencil drawing, likening her technique to building a house - layering for perspective depth - that leads to works of detailed architecture, vivid florals and luxurious fabrics, all conjured with a variety of brushes, palette knife or rags.
Helenís love of portraiture reveals a talent for expressing a light in the eyes; a life in the lines, as each canvas conveys true character. But it is her use of the difficult rub-off technique that shows her intimate knowledge of light and detail at its best.
Already in private collections throughout Australia, Helen Peel had her first solo exhibition in 2010.
The Rub-Off technique by Helen Peel
This is a very old technique, used a lot around the Renaissance times.
It is a very fascinating technique, as you work backwards in a sense. Starting with painting your board with the desired colour and remembering that the overtone you use in the back base colour, will be your highlight colour.
After your choice of subject, commence with drawing the subject by rubbing and drawing off, to achieve the technique that you require to get the look your want to finish up with.
I specialise in portraiture, as I am very fascinated by faces, expressions and caricatures.
I love doing this work, that my art teacher, Bill McKay, showed me some years ago.
I also like creating a very mystical type of finish as well, as it all adds to the excitement of seeing the finished piece.
Please visit my Rub Off section on this website.