Helen Trevisiol Duff
Helen is a figurative painter and printmaker living in a rural location in West Yorkshire. She studied foundation art in Bristol, life drawing at RWA and graduated in Fashion textiles BA(hons)with a subsidiary in archaeology. After a successful career in London as a designer and colourist plus running her own shops and gallery called Darch and Duff for 18 years, She now paints from her Yorkshire studio near Bradford which is near to her family.
She has been commissioned to work on illustration projects all her working life and exhibits with Skylark Galleries London Southbank.
She creates watercolours and oils from her studio on a commission basis and towards exhibitions.
She says “I admire the work of Japanese artists including Hokusai and printmakers of the Edo period. I was taught Japanese painting in Tokyo and love the simplicity and economy of line and mark making.”
Her eye for colour and texture reflects her early career as a fashion /textile designer and colourist for many large UK retailers and fabric mills all over the world.
It was during her time living in India and visiting the far East that she established her love for the orient and japanese painting methods which She uses in her practice.
Now the British landscape and wildlife inform her work. In particular, She is drawn to light, colour and pattern. How a painting feels is integral to its development.
She says “I’m intrigued by the interaction of wildlife and habitat. I aim to capture atmosphere, mood, pattern, movement, heightened colour and light. Inspired by the elements, big skies and seas, swooping birds, receding horizons and texture come together in her practice.
“I’m an emotional painter and convey my feelings within my movements with the brush. What I feel is as important as how I explore the paint. I often get lost in the process within a flow of freedom and serenity which helps me deal with my disability which can be very painful. I look at symbolism in nature and use this as an inspiration and backdrop in all my work”
Helen has lived with acute chronic arthritis since her early 20’s when She had malaria and dengue fever resulting in an autoimmune response. She has lived many times painting from her bed for months following surgery. She keeps positive and focused on what she can do, not what she can’t. There have been some very dark times where life has been very challenging but Helen has a zest for life and always seeks a focus and meaning in the day.
Helen has dealt with pain using meditation, mindfulness and visualisation techniques. She also teaches mindfulness and art. Often taking her mind to far away places, She uses her imagination to transform her thoughts..My interest in fashion, geology, ecology and natural history make for a wide range of inspiration.
My aim is to create an emotional response to my surroundings and express myself through the balance between representation and abstraction. My paintings and prints are about my feelings and response to a scene, often in my imagination and not always accurate representations, working outside and from memory and in the studio.
I do refer to the drawings I make in sketchbooks and photos I take when I explore the landscape. As I’m restricted by my disability and can’t walk far, I often work from the side of my car in all weathers. My work draws on imagination , memory and the close contact I feel with the landscape through years of looking, absorbing and being in touch with how I feel.
By applying paint in spontaneous ways, coming originally from a classical fine art training and deviating into my own style, I aim to create energy in the image whilst still maintaining strong compositional balance. I work mainly in water based paints on paper and canvas and oils in printmaking. I work energetically using Japanese brushes, sponges and mark making tools.I often work on several pieces at once responding to the emerging image and the physical process of painting itself.
I have always loved Turner’s watercolours, Downtons’ and Erte’s fashion illustrations and Egon Schieles’ use of line.
Helen has exhibited in her own award winning retail outlets/gallery at Darch and Duff London as well as OXO gallery London,Aldeburgh gallery, W3 gallery, Skylark galleries london, Gunnersbury mansion, London and Ealing BEAT open studios.
Her work can be found in private collections worldwide. Helen has painted a public artwork in Hanwell zoo in London 2019 of the endangered red crowned cranes and is an avid supporter of the charity Explorers Against Extinction.
Helens work can be seen www.helentrevisiolduff.com
Helen has facilitated workshops over the last 5 years in drawing, painting and mindfulness with Ealing council,OPEN Ealing and Leeds Libraries. She has an adult learning teaching qualification. She likes to inspire others, challenge and stretch their skills and imagination.