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  • Writer's picturePaul Abraham

The day I met the Perky Painter!

Within minutes of being in the company of Leeds artist Helen Gibson it is easy to see why she is known as “The Perky Painter” as she exudes happiness and joy as soon as you meet her. Helen reveals “I’m not really sure when the name appeared, it just happened and seems to sum me up perfectly”.

Her passion for art started as soon as she could hold a paintbrush, she recalls “I always loved painting, at primary school all the different colours used to fire my imagination, the brighter and bolder the better and it’s something that I’ve carried on to this day”

Being in an educational surrounding which encouraged its pupils/students helped Helen “Oh undoubtbly, my art teachers were fantastic, they could resonate with my passion for creating my own style and gave me the confidence to create art as I saw art.

Helen’s preferred choice of materials is acrylic as she states “with watercolours once you’ve started it’s difficult to change the shades if you’re not happy with them, but with acrylic it allows you more freedom to express yourself, it allows you to add layers until you’ve got on the canvas what you have envisaged in your mind and imagination”.

Her inspirations again reflect Helens love of the abstract and bold paintings with Salvador Dali, the figurehead of surrealism and an iconic figure and the Russian born Wassily Kandinsky, who is generally credited as the pioneer of abstract art at the top of her lists “I just love the boldness of their art, as I’m not a straight line type of artist, I just relish the richness of their art. I’m so passionate about colours that it can take me an hour just to get the right colours on my palette before I touch the canvas for the first time”.

As stress levels rise throughout society, anything that can help reduce those levels is to be welcomed and supported and art can have a major role to play as Helen says “You can have had such a bad day at work and are really stressed out and then you go to your easel and palette and all the frustration you’ve had during the day, all the steam you’ve wanted to let off can be released and conquered with a few brush strokes, especially if you include mindfulness as you paint, it’s a win-win situation”.

Helen points out that as a painter it’s very much a spontaneous art “Unless you’re doing commission work then being an artist is very much in the moment and “let’s do it” scenario, whereas authors have a specific number of words to write within deadlines, painting gives you more flexibility to create what you feel when you feel it”.

The Perky Painter now has an amazing website showcasing her talents in many different avenues of her art and has been running art workshops for a number of years and as she explains in her inimitable joyous persona “Love the workshops, I actually started out by doing a workshop on creating your own Christmas cards and it’s now evolved in to family art workshops. It makes everything I do so worthwhile when I see children so happy and engrossed when doing their own little masterpieces. If they’re not happy with their first attempt, we don’t start again, we move on to the next one so everything about the workshop is positive”

After being in the company of the Perky Painter for 45 minutes, I want to go to the nearest art shop and buy canvases, paints and brushes and start painting. The passion, joy and happiness that she portrays is like having an injection of feel good vibes. If we had a Perky Painter available on the NHS in every city, what a different and wonderful country we would be living in.

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