Helen Carter is a painter and printmaker currently based in Bristol. She graduated from Falmouth University in 2014.

“I have to be emotionally and mentally taken over by my paintings.” – Shani Rhys Jones

I am drawn to the vast range of scenery the word ‘landscape’ encompasses, finding it to be a continuing source of inspiration and intrigue. In reading Alain de Botton’s ‘The Art of Travel’, I have come to appreciate that ways of thinking that are not necessarily permitted in our everyday lives are accessible when we are travelling. I have recognised a yearning within me to travel to landscapes that can only be reached through painting. These landscapes are where my thoughts are at once free to wander and free to be utterly still. Something seems to happen during the act of painting, a new way of thinking, a different vantage point, a switching over to another kind of consciousness.

I am interested in finding something from nothing, gently teasing the painting out from the board, as an act of discovery rather than description. Experimentation with the relationship between turpentine and oil paint is therefore integral to my painting process. I am fascinated by the range of textures and effects that can be created by washing and dripping turpentine onto layers of paint, and by rubbing back into the paint. The unpredictable reactions between the turpentine and oil paint results in a lessening of control, allowing me to see visual possibilities that I had not previously considered. It is during the repetitive process of mark making, rubbing out and observation that an intuitive response to the paint takes over. The combination of control and spontaneity is essential in communicating a sense of both familiarity and mystery.

Through painting I am trying to develop a visual language to explore my own moments of escapism and self-reflection. My paintings are not simply landscapes; they are meditations on what could be or what might be. Similarly, I hope that my paintings can provide a contemplative space for the viewer, encouraging stillness and inviting their own quiet journeys through the pieces. – Helen Carter


2011-14 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Falmouth University
2010-11 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Falmouth University