Creating my artwork helped me to stay positive – Helen Greaves Warren, local artist


At school drawing was the one thing that I was good at! As a small girl I would make my own paper dolls with a whole wardrobe of dresses, when older I designed clothes and drew illustrations for the stories I wrote.

My dream was to teach art so I enrolled at Loughborough College Art. This meant moving away from my rather strict parents, making life both exciting and scary but I loved it. After doing a foundation course I went on to complete my degree in textiles followed by moving to North London to study for a teaching certificate at Hornsey College.

As soon as I finished my teaching degree, I married John, who I had met at college, and started teaching at Redditch County High School, Worcestershire. Stopping work to bring up a growing family I went back to teaching again when the last son went to school, although I had always continued to create artwork during this time including sewing projects, an illustration type painting of nursery rhymes, posters for local charities, and greetings cards, including the Warren Christmas card!

When I had officially retired after a lifetime of teaching, I was able to truly pursue my own interest in art. I started by making acrylic paintings of plump, dancing girls, Sussex landscapes and flower subjects; just colourful pictures to make me feel happy!

With the Downs and local beauty spots as my inspiration, I tried out new techniques, including adding montage to my paintings. Silk painting was another medium I explored, painting silk pictures together with decorating silk scarves.  I did a Zen ink painting course with Elda Abramson, this I really loved although I found the Zen part extremely hard. While at college I had done quite a bit of plant drawing with Bryan Organ (famous later for his portrait of Princess Di!) this helped a great deal when drawing the plant life for the ink paintings.

In normal times John and I take part in the Eastbourne Artists Open Houses. We are the Big House with a crowd of invited exhibitors together with John’s ceramics and my paintings and textiles, but sadly this year that was all cancelled. However, during these times of Corvid I have been busier than ever. Creating my artwork has helped me to stay positive. It is also a great uplift when your work is well received and especially when someone wants to buy it. In spring and early summer, the purple, bearded iris’ in our garden were magnificent. I did some drawing and made one ink painting of them, it sold immediately when I posted it on Facebook and Instagram, and soon I had orders for three more!

My paintings are not “great art”, just my take on what I see around me. I hope that my work helps folk feel happy and maybe have a go at being creative too.

E:     F: Helen Greaves Warren    Insta: Helen-in-Eastbourne