Featured Artist: Helen Dixon
I have loved drawing and making things for as long as I can remember! I come from a large, creative family full of people with a love of creating and appreciating visual art, performing art, graphic design, writing and music over a number of generations. I feel very fortunate that my mother (a teacher and fellow creative soul) always encouraged me and my siblings to draw and paint our own pictures (rather than use colouring books with other people's line illustrations). She was also patient with creative, messy play which fostered our art activities. We lived on a small farm in the Dandenong Ranges and my dad always enlisted us kids in rural labour, which gave me confidence in making things myself and using tools. The beautiful rainforest and rural landscape I grew up in also gave me a love of nature, that inspires my art. (Incidentally, I had Gaye as a teacher at Monbulk High School!) I am so grateful for the wonderful art teachers I had throughout my primary and secondary schooling, who encouraged & supported my artistic development. Similarly, the coastal setting I now live in (near Point Gellibrand) provides continual inspiration! I particularly enjoy drawing and painting plants, birds and people, in a semi-abstract manner. I love the colours, shapes and forms of natural objects. I try to move beyond just illustrating these objects as they appear, but capturing the feelings they evoke, through altering forms, heightening colour or repeating and exaggerating certain design elements. I most often paint with acrylics and enjoy including some collage too. (My choice of materials is partly dictated by being a time-poor mother of three, with a day job as a researcher!) In terms of art studies, I did a Diploma of Arts (Visual Arts) majoring in painting many years ago at RMIT. In my early twenties, I worked doing calligraphy and illustrations for point-of-sale displays for The Chocolate Box stores for many years (dream student job - tasting chocolates & doing artwork!). I also did some finished art for fabric prints, and illustrated some text books. The techniques I used back then (colour separations painted on transparent sheets) have now all been superseded by computerised graphic design (Adobe Illustrator etc)! Nowadays, my main creative endeavours involve painting, drawing, collage, mosaic and sewing. Below are a few examples of my most recent projects....I hope you enjoy them!