Helen attended Concordia University in Montreal to study Fine Arts, and then continued her education working as Studio Assistant to Montreal artist, Tom Hopkins for three years.
After many years scenic painting for the film industry in Toronto, and painting in her home studio, the extraordinary beauty and magic found in the Pacific Northwest called Helen to British Columbia.
Helen made Vancouver Island her home in 2006, and really dove into her painting, making large canvases in effort to capture the big scale of expression and gesture she saw in the environment.
Creating an impression of patterns, light and movement in the forest and the many expressions on the ocean, Helen paints an emotive and personal world.
I work with fluid acrylics in a loose water coloury way and use unexpected colours to evoke the magic and mystique of the forest and Nature. I use oil paints and cold wax medium on areas in the foreground with more Impasto paint to make them stand out and create space between the two planes.
Helen Utsal is a member of CARFAC and the Federation of Canadian Artists. She is Director and co-founder of Art Alchemy Studio in Courtenay, BC, a collective of artists sharing creative workspace.
I am so lucky to spend time everyday in Nature, and living on Vancouver Island puts me right in the heart of some fantastic landscape. I live close to the ocean and am inspired to paint her many moods, as well as try to capture the feelings I have when I am in a forest of ancient mossy trees. Nature is my sanctuary and place for renewal; trying to express it in an emotive way on canvas is a happy meditation.