helen amyes

from the studio

23rd January 2017

Poochibald 2015How do you decide where to exhibit your work? I was totally “at sea” with this for a while after coming out from art school,learning plenty about Post Modernism but not a lot about everyday practice as an artist.Here in the West most artists seem to go in for the nearest open competition showing in a town hall or worse shopping mall, and I have done my share of that. What I did after a while, with a wish list to show work in USA,Paris,Japan etc was borrow a method from my days of investing in the share market “reverse engineering” I think it was called. You would look to see what shares the top investors where buying i.e. Warren Buffet and follow suit if you could. In applying this to Art I sift through the CV of the artists I admire and like and go through back through to see where they have been showing and with which curators etc Then if it’s a regular biennial show for example get on the mailing list to submit work. Initially I did a lot of collage work as I found the global network for collage artists more accessible than painting, but this method has served me well.Once you get to know some active curators often they will send opportunities your way, and take your artwork to places you never dreamed of. Set backs and dead ends happen a fair bit in art, but persistence certainly pays, its good to have a few “irons in the fire”.


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11th Jan 2017

working in series

ideas board and small collages

Making a body of work,is an important stage in the development of any visual artist.Firstly now I do try to “start with the end in mind” i.e. where do I envisage this work going to be seen/exhibited.In the example above, the end goal was a large painting for submission to the Glover landscape exhibition.Having said that where possible I do use material created for as many applications as I can i.e. some of the collages in the picture went on to become textile designs, home decor items,prints and cards.I used to use visual diaries a lot to build ideas and collect research, but now i take an A1 sized sheet of MDF painted white [ or several] and make an ideas board with photos,sketches,textiles,painted colour tests etc. This creates a bigger visual field and reminder, and from it I carry on to paint and collage,play ,construct and destruct, pinning up the works on a wall, until I have something I like enough to work onto canvas. I like the work to take on a life of its own, and have some ambiguity and not be too controlled i.e. tight, so working in this way with paper mostly at first keeps things free and inexpensive. Some bodies of work go straight off into the world and some remain incubating awaiting completion. The experience of making work in series is a vital part of my practice now and a way to try to keep myself on track.





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23rd June 2016

relic006A small detail of textile work titled”Relic” in progress. This has been made addressing the theme of Resurrection for this years Mandorla Art Award, to go on exhibition july 16-24th Linton and Kay Galleries Perth,Western Australia.Made entirely of used tea bags [contributed by friends across York] then dyed with rust and rose hip tea,sewn together and embellished with small prints taken from vintage silverware.Happily it has been selected as a finalist for the exhibition.

This is only my second go at a juried exhibition, as I don’t particularly go in for competitions, preferring ┬ácollaborative group shows. After visiting the Hutchinson works on paper exhibition at Salamanca, Hobart, Tasmania last year and being really impressed by the quality of ideas and work, I decided to push myself a bit and try for some of these bigger exhibitions on the Australian artistic circuit.

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11th June 1016

P1020909Art in the strangest of places? This delightful creation was snapped in the Town Hall as part of York’s annual ag show. The creativity that went into the plain biscuit decoration category was something to behold, The werewolf ones next door were also amusing and memorable, I dread ever being asked to judge these events! I also look out for the vegetable sculpture section and marvel at the creations there, often much more fun than anything found in a contemporary gallery where the same themes often seem to leave one feeling rather flat….


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27th April2016

degrowthformailart002Degrowth  Mail Art Project

You are invited to send your artistic ideas on a postcard on this subject.

Any media,all age friendly,for exhibition in a gallery setting in Western Australia.

Please include your email address for documentation of this project.

Art work to arrive by 1st August 2016. Thanks.

Send to


Helen Amyes

14 Mount Street


Western Australia




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3rd April 2016

Sometimes an art project just doesn’t “work” and goes in the bin to clear the desk and the mind to move on to other hopefully better things. This series [shown] of visual poems started with picking up some pink plastic templates from a children’s game from the ground outside the Salvos where they had been split. Working on the back of cereal packets,a ready source of cheap cardboard,for a while i played around with the shapes and mark making, just enjoying letting it go where ever, vaguely thinking it might be a series to go into KART assembling book project. Finally though, although the process was fun, something was missing or rather there was too much going on with the patterns ,the shapes and the packet text on the back also. Sometimes less is more? Accepting the still born ideas is all part of the process and self editing is an important skill for an artist. I believe that the experience of these seeming “failures” still contribute, Art is a language and making art every day in some form can only add to its fluency.P1040055

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5th October 2015


Recently I have been discovering watercolour as a medium and making small studies after Bonnard and Matisse to try to better appreciate their use of colour.On wednesdays I join other painters at the Oakine’s Community House,Dodges Ferry,Tasmania and we often “have a try” with each others “stuff”.Being in a group like this is a novel experience for me as i usually prefer to work alone or in distance collaborations via mail art and assembling books. Out of this experience i have been experimenting with the pigments in relation to wax resist and found that the Cotman’s watercolour by Windsor and Newton, best suits my method with the required transparency, yet vivid colours. Payne’s grey has also emerged as a big favourite and i am already topping up my half pans with a tube, a tip i have gleaned from other painters in the group.