Helen Utsal is an award winning contemporary landscape painter living and working on Vancouver Island. Spending time in Nature is a critical aspect of her inspiration and practice; a space for meditation, creation and renewal.
“I love trees, and all their diversity of shapes, moods and personalities. I don’t seek to reproduce reality, but rather reflect my impressions of the forests. Using unexpected colours to see the forest as a child, a place of wonder and possibilities.
Hiking and paddling, I cherish the quiet sounds and stillness. With my camera and my painter's mind, I mark moments; light shining bright and chartreuse on stirring leaves, dramatic light on the water, tangles of roots weaving the land together under my feet.
As an artist, it is my privilege to witness and reflect the exceptional Canadian landscape that manages to convey both an ancient power and newborn vitality.”
I grew up in a creative, nature loving family and I have been fortunate enough to have had excellent artistic mentors and teachers along the way.
After studying Fine Art at Concordia University in Montreal, I worked as a studio assistant to artists and photographers including Tom Hopkins, Graeme Metson, Donigan Cumming and Michael Flomen. I learned so much from them, and knew I also wanted to be a professional artist.
I had my first solo exhibition in 2006, “West Coast Trees”and it was well received. 2011 found me daydreaming with fellow artist Lucy Schappy. It led us to join with other artists to form Art Alchemy Studio which hosted art events, including 10 years of the Square Foot Show in Courtenay.
My love of Old Growth trees informed my solo show at Gordon Harrisons Gallery in Ottawa in 2022.
I exhibit my paintings in Solo gallery shows, group shows, art fairs, festivals,art galleries in Canada and the US, and of course my studio gallery in Tintown!
I have participated in International Exhibitions in China (Shenzhen, Hangzhou), France (Paris, Orquevaux) and the US (San Diego, Cincinatti). My artwork is in the permanent collection of the Diderot Gallery in Orquevaux, France.
I love teaching workshops in my studio and welcome the public every Saturday to visit my studio/gallery in Courtenay.