Paintings by Hellen
~~ Fine Art Gourds & More ~~
Southwest ~ Native American Indian Inspired ~ Wildlife ~ Western
Faux Leather Tooling ~ Pyrography Woodburning ~ Power Carving
Pine Needle Coiling ~ Closed Coiling ~ Antlers ~ Acrylic Painting
Colored Pencil Painting ~ Metal Coating & Patinas
Instructional Gourd Books ~ Gourd Classes ~ Gourd Retreats
The above photo is of me at the Santa Fe gallery during the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market. If that piece looks big, it's because it is BIG!
I'm a born Texas girl!! I've been married to Barry for 46 years lovely years. Don't ask him because he may have a different opinion. We have three children (two girls and one boy). Our son gave us our one and only grandson in September 2005. He is a wonderful, smart boy who is my "heart beat." He loves being in the studio with me working on his own gourd.
Barry and I have done a great deal of traveling during our married life (Navy and corporate moves). We've lived in Texas, California, Washington, Oklahoma, and even Holland. While in Holland, I taught ladies from Holland, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium and the United States. Our children have traveled with us, but only the youngest went to Holland. The older two were in college. They visited during the Christmas holidays.
I've juggled working, family, and my love for art most of my married life. I left my VP position with a bank in January 2002 because it was literally killing me .... long, long hours. I decided to give myself five years to get my business going and actually accomplished my goals within two years. I was having way too much fun to return to the corporate world. It was a challenge to take care of all the paperwork, art, taxes, shows, house, yard, etc., but I have a background in finance, business, taxes, budgeting, accounting and marketing so was able to make some good business decisions .... 90% of the time.
I started teaching again in 2009 at gourd festivals, retreats, and continue giving private lessons in my home. I also started writing gourd instructional books in 2009 because not everyone can attend classes. I've learned so much since I started working on gourds that I wanted to share my knowledge with everyone and, hopefully, make their gourd experience easier.
Barry and I both love Native American art. Maybe it's because we have an Indian heritage .... Barry is part Cherokee, and I'm part Comanche and Blackfoot. One of my distant grandfathers was with Quanah Parker, last fighting Comanche chief, when he and his fighting comrades finally decided to make peace. A distant grandmother was married in the Oklahoma Territory in 1893.
I love working with gourds, painting, pine needle and closed coiling, carving, and wooodburning. I've been painting for 30+ years. While in college, I studied art 'briefly', but it seems all I learned was how to take black and white and make lots of gray colors. Another class just wanted us to collect twigs, leaves, paper, etc. and create "art." That wasn't what I wanted to learn so changed majors. You might say I'm a self-taught artist. I've read and practiced a great deal. Since 2004, I've mainly been doing Southwest, American Indian Inspired, wildlife, and western pieces. I studied western tooling with leather toolers for 6 months to learn their techniques and designing before I came up with my style of doing the tooling on gourds, teaching classes, and writing several books. It just took off and many gourders started doing their own styles and teaching.
I was fortunate to be able to pursue my dream even though I was in my early 50s. Don't you ever give up on your dreams because it just might happen.
Barry and I retired early and now live in East Texas. We WERE two hours from our kids and grandson. Our youngest daughter moved to Colorado so now we have to travel 12 hours to see her. That's okay because she is worth it. You would have thought it was a day drive the way they acted when we moved. We never wanted to retire in Grapevine, TX, because of all the traffic. We wanted to live in the country, have peace and quiet, and just relax. Relax? I work ongoing, and it seems like I never have a day off. But, I'm happy with what I'm doing. I'm very, very blessed.