Helen Lewis works predominantly with pigmented beeswax, either in the form of encaustic or cold wax with oil. Both mediums involve building up many layers, then excavating, carving into and highlighting certain portions of the surface. “I love the luminosity, depth and textures that emerge,” she says. “These techniques allow me to capture subtle nuances of color and texture details that may reference an allusion to a place, an object, or simply a feeling. Elements and marks that speak of the passage of time — weathered aging brick, peeling paint, old script and ephemera, lichen on stone — are fascinating and beautiful to me and frequently inspire my artwork. My creative process is an extension of my contemplative nature, which is evidenced in my finished pieces. Always, I endeavor to convey a sense of peace and tranquility through my art — that same calm centeredness I find along the Maine coast.” Her paintings often appear understated and minimalistic in tone, but upon closer inspection, intriguing and quiet conversations are happening within them.
Wilmington, North Carolina Star News writer, Justin Lacey, describes Helen’s work, “the process is organic and intuitive, the results are very natural, like the embodiment of emotion.”
Helen’s art is included in the book, The Art of Expressive Collage, by Crystal Neubauer, and has been featured in several magazines and publications, including Maine Home + Design magazine’s “Ones to Watch” profile in the October 2016 issue; “Alternate Realities” art feature in April 2017; and “Notable Maine Artists” profile in their Art Maine 2019 Annual Guide. She is represented by galleries in the Midwest and on the East Coast and her art is in private collections across the United States. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.
Artist Helen Lewis creates her pieces, in part, by adding layer upon layer of molten beeswax to a panel, and scraping it away. This process creates great depth and luminosity. This practice reflects her life’s work of finding meaning from what remains after loss. Helen’s mother died suddenly when she was five-years-old. Soon after, her father brought Helen and her brothers on a trip to New Orleans that was meant to be restorative. Things did not go as planned, nor did the remainder of Helen’s childhood years. Helen’s art is clearly informed by her early heartbreaking experience and dedication to her own emotional healing. Prepare to be impacted by Helen’s compelling story, as described to Dr. Lisa Belisle, in this episode of Radio Maine.