With their bright, bold and sunlit colors, Hawaii-based artist Helen Turner shares her love of that tropical paradise through her stunning pastel paintings. To see more of her artwork, please visit her website.
I live on the northernmost island of the Hawaiian Island chain, where temperatures are always pleasing and trade winds blow away all worries like magic… well, most of the time! This is my place of art making, and I am inspired every day by the rich colors and changing skies that surround me. I was born a New Yorker. I moved here in my early twenties to follow my wild adventurous spirit, and never left.
There is much to paint here, so my subjects have evolved from florals and landscapes to people in the landscape and even beyond to still life and abstract when the mood strikes. I work in pastel and oil, pastel being my medium of choice for most of my career in the islands.
Field painting, or “plein air,” as the French call it, is a passion of mine. It is a direct approach to painting light, color and shadow with passing time the only constraint. For more complex subjects, I take my own reference photos and work in my home studio. I choose from my sizeable pastel palette, and various papers that are made to support layers of color. Everything I work with comes in the mail! When you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific, you have to order often and have choices available.
Lately I have been painting in oil again. I am loving painting huge canvases, stretching my whole being into each brushstroke. There is nothing as fulfilling as creating a beautiful scene of a beloved place and then having a client fall in love with it!
In between studio and field work I teach painting to visitors to my island. I teach one on one or two at a time, and have found this to be very enjoyable. I share my technique of blocking in and seeing color to beginners and experienced painters alike and we all have fun!
I belong to several art societies: a signature member of the Pastel Artists of Hawaii, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and the Kauai society of Artists and the Women artists of Kauai. I exhibit with them all, and also ship my works to the mainland for juried shows. My pastels and oils will be featured in a book coming out in 2016 called “Aloha Expressionism,” and I am working on a collaborative book with a watercolorist friend, Emily Miller, on “Sacred Places of Kauai.”
Painting for me is therapy–calming and soothing. That is what draws clients to my work; a peaceful shore, a quiet stream, and the play of light on water. Aloha!