South African visual artist Helen van Stolk

Helen van Stolk

South Africa | 2 artworks for sale

  • A New Spirit - Painting by Helen van Stolk A New Spirit
    Painting / 115 x 145 cm
    R54 000
  • A Sparkling Affair - Painting by Helen van Stolk A Sparkling Affair
    Painting / 115 x 145 cm
    R54 000
  • Falling Into You - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Falling Into You
    Painting / 115 x 115 cm
  • Bearing Fruit - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Bearing Fruit
    Painting / 100 x 100 cm
  • Diving Deep & Flying High - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Diving Deep & Flying High
    Painting / 130 x 150 cm
  • Blue Bird Calling - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Blue Bird Calling
    Painting / 125 x 100 cm
  • Yes Moments - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Yes Moments
    Painting / 100 x 100 cm
  • I Danced With You - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    I Danced With You
    Painting / 145 x 100 cm
  • Connectedness - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Painting / 125 x 100 cm
  • Turquoise And A Tiara - Painting by Helen van Stolk
    Turquoise And A Tiara
    Painting / 100 x 100 cm
Picture books are what I read…. I did as a child and still do as an adult. I feel and think through images, far more so than with sound and words. So I guess it is not surprising that it is through art that I express myself.

My work focuses on provoking a feeling, an emotion – be it in the figure or the landscape. So much can be “said” with colour, line and shape. I use a variety of materials – acrylic, oil and collage, to get in touch with my subject matter, allowing the process of working and playing to intuitively guide me. Colour, light, my surroundings and thoughts play themselves out onto the canvas. The question of how to portray energy within a figure and that deep connection with the subject matter, without being literal, is what guides my explorations. A physical expression of the spirit. Conversations on the canvas unfold creating a bridge between the mundane and an inspired space, expressing thoughts and how it feels to me, not just how it looks. The connectedness of what is visual and what is thought.

Light and positivity has always been important in my work, which is why there are visible traces of embracing these elements in the work I do.
Helen transitioned into a full time artist in 2008 after a high flying corporate career in Retail Property.  A decade later her career has launched into a whole new trajectory as she explores the magic of creating without boundaries – the art of playing, using more colour and working intuitively from within. Committed to studying and learning from her highly talented contemporaries, Helen shared a studio with Margie Johnson for four years and then with Lesley Charnock for a number of years. She has workshopped with Mary Visser, Jenny Parsons, American artists Martin Campos and Melinda Cootsona and immersed herself in the studio focusing on the figure and abstraction.

Her work has been exhibited at StateoftheART, Art In The Yard and the Cape Gallery as well as numerous exhibitions at Kirstenbosch.   She has been featured in magazine publications, was selected as a Veluka finalist at ArtB, has been awarded Fellowship of the South African Society of Artists and has won numerous awards.

Her work is in homes and collections all over the world.

Selected Exhibitions:

Solo exhibition - Bursting Into Life, Art In The Yard, Franschhoek

Solo exhibition - When The Birds Come at Art In The Yard, Franschhoek

Solo exhibition - The Gold That Binds Us, Cape Gallery, Cape Town

Review, a group exhibition at The Cape Gallery

Cities In Motion, a group exhibition at The Cape Gallery

Joint exhibition at Eclectica Modern, painting commissioned for use on Maanskynkop wine label, winner of the Eleanor Palmer Award

Summertime; a group exhibition at The Cape Gallery
A Point Of View; a group exhibition at The Cape Gallery
Awarded fellowship of the South African Society of Artists
Selected as Veluka finalist at ArtB
Featured in the Fair Lady magazine

Group exhibiton at The Cape Gallery
Selected as runner up in the SA Artist Magazine 2013 cover page competition and featured in the magazine

Invited to exhibit at the prestigious SASA Merit exhibition

Joined the South African Society of Artists and has taken part in their annual exhibitions at Kirstenbosch, winning an award in 2010 and two in 2011.
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
Sculpture exhibited as it should be – in open big spaces, industrial or in a garden setting.   Angus Taylor, Wilma Cruise, Adriaan Diedericks – to name a few…. Exploring how form interacts with nature.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
Irma Stern, not for her work as much as for her bravery, how she explored the world and her art, her use of color. Her courage.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
A difficult question … Love my childrens art….
I cried seeing the Almond Blossoms at the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.  I was lucky to be alone as I arrived early and headed straight to the top floor where all the masterpieces were. So simple really, but so beautiful. And Monets Waterlillies at Musee de l’Orangerie were breathtaking. Sorry you asked for one piece of art….There are many more on my love list.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist? 
I started with art classes, workshops, mixing with other artists…. No, I had no idea I wanted to be an artist, I just got hooked. I always dabbled in art and creativity but never thought I could actually be an artist.  It wasn’t something I thought I could be, I thought it was out of my grasp. For the talented. When my second child was born I started spending more time with the paintbrush – it then become something I couldn’t do without, I thought about art every day (and still do). Gradually the pull was such that it became something I had to do, and had to do full time. Lucky me!

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
Interaction with the figure and the intimate landscape. Expressing how things feel rather than just look.

What inspired your latest body of work?   
Our new house near the river, my trip to India and time with my beautiful model who embraces the story… Fiona is not just a model, she is a beautiful expressive soul.

Tell us more about your creative process.
I set aside space and time for my work. I show up, but try to without huge demands. I play (with colour, collage, paint, drawing, ideas, writing, a story and where it takes me). I find having my model in the studio or out in nature is essential to my work. I have learnt to be kinder to myself... over the years… and I am blessed to have my work surprise me at times.

What drives you as an artist?   
Growth and the continual journey that helps me understand me. I am also uplifted when people are moved by my work.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?  
Usually the most current body of work I am working on is my favorite.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?  

The sale of my very first painting. That was a big milestone in my life.

What are your aspirations for the future? 
I would like to exhibit on the international stage. I have dreams of painting much bigger works that move and uplift the viewer. I would also like to play with installations and 3 dimensional works.


Read more about Helen van Stolk in our interview and studio film here