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Helen Bennett

I’ve been an artist since childhood and never been happier than when I’m creating pictures or sculptures. I work with traditional media, mostly in 2D. I studied A level and specialised in Art for my BA(QTS) degree.  I’ve always had a fascination for the human face in all its beauty and variety so I’ve done a lot of portrait work over the years. I also love spending time in the great outdoors, in the British Isles and further afield, and taking inspiration from the world around me for landscape projects.

Having left teaching last year, I’ve been able to devote more time to my art with the aim of making it my career and I’ve completed many commissions over recent months and had my work exhibited in local and international online exhibitions. My style is realistic; I like to create pieces that mean something – that evoke memories or portray special people and places. I work with graphite and coloured pencil, charcoal, paper-crafting, pastels, pen, acrylic paint and mixed media.

Angel Tears
Angel Tears

“Angel Tears” represents my ideas on the feelings of isolation, frustration and the sense of wasted opportunities that so many of us have felt through the pandemic lockdowns.  I recently discovered the painting “Fallen Angel” by Alexandre Cabanel which features in an important scene in the second book (urban fantasy series) by an emerging author friend of mine.  I find the links between the biblical Lucifer and literary/popular culture characters to be very interesting.  I have an amateur interest in psychology as well and a fascination in the nature/nurture argument and what might be the circumstances which cause a person to go “off the rails” or to turn to toxic or destructive behaviour – even to pure evil. 

My memories of college trips to The National Gallery and many others around the country, admiring great renaissance works and the beauty and drama of so many great paintings, have stayed precious to me through my life.  The thing I admire most about the Cabanel painting is the way the artist captured such anger and resentment in the eyes of the angel.  Anakin Skywalker in “Revenge of the Sith” has scenes where his anger and grief is painfully evident in his eyes.  I’m intrigued by the idea of the anti-hero, the rejected and misunderstood.  I’ve had images of Paul Bettany’s startling albino eyes as Silas in “The Da Vinci Code” floating around in my head for many years.  I wonder if Tolkien’s Morgoth or Sauron had moments like this – of sheer rage and frustration at their situation.  How hotly does the need for retaliation or vengeance burn inside these figures? 

I hoped to capture these ideas and emotions with intensity, colour and good composition and I’m really proud of what I achieved.  Angel Tears is 16” x 20”, acrylic on canvas board.  He was created using all of the above, plus a wooden mannequin, stock and personal photographs, obliging family members and several preparatory sketches.


Sasha Velour was the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9.  She is an entrepreneur, designer and drag queen based in New York City.  An inspirational artist with a unique style, Sasha draws on vintage fashions, iconic looks and quirky concepts.  I’m a big admirer of the photograph of her by Boston photographer Eric Magnussen, Sasha Velour in Red, and he kindly gave permission for me to put my spin on his photograph.

Sasha loves to wear crowns and compares her look to the evil queen in snow white.  I love the vibrant red of the picture and the diagonal composition and I wanted to give her a slightly more comic book/gothic look by changing the background and glasses to black.

Bride in Red
Bride in Red

A commissioned portrait of a beautiful bride in her wedding outfit. 

Bon Sejour La Plage
Bon Sejour La Plage

As a teacher, I’ve visited Normandy on school residential trips twice and found it to be very moving and poignant.  It’s a beautiful part of France, steeped in history, and introducing the children to the area and experiencing what is, for some, their first time away from home has been very meaningful.

On my most recent visit, the weather had been poor but it brightened up on our last afternoon and we took 50+ excited eleven-year-olds onto the beach to watch the sun set.  The tide was way out.  It was perfectly still and calm and the light was absolutely breath-taking.

I took a series of photographs.  With the whole pandemic situation and lockdown, I’ve had lots of time to practise my art and it really helped me to paint this scene and remember fun times in the great outdoors with special kids and adults.  It lightened my heart to immerse myself in happy memories.

Edward Van Halen
Edward Van Halen

My tribute to the legendary rock guitarist.  Quite simply, the most inventive and influential rock guitarist of our generation.  His death shook me and many millions of other rock fans around the world.

I wanted to show Ed playing his iconic “Frankenstrat” guitar.

Graphite and coloured pencil on A3 paper.


Website: https://helenbenjeetlk.wixsite.com/helenbennettartandil

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