Artist ‘making up for lost time’ at South Shields gallery

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House
Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

An artist who is “making up for loost time” is exhibiting her work for the first time in South Tyneside.

Helen Stephenson’s work is currently being displayed at the Port of Tyne Gallery, at The Customs House, South Shields.

An example of Helen Stephenson's work

An example of Helen Stephenson's work

The 68-year-old, from Northumberland, is exhibiting her life drawing studies are part of Transition - an exhibition slot created specifically to show the work of emerging artists from region - which is now in its seventh year.

Constantly drawing and painting as a child, but failing to find the time to indulge as an adult, Helen took up drawing again six years ago after enrolling on a life drawing class.

She said: “It is retirement. I am making up for lost time.

“I think it is the only thing you can get better at as you get older. You can’t be a world-class athlete, but you can draw and, the more you draw, the better you get.”

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House. Granddaughter sketch

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House. Granddaughter sketch

Helen’s exhibition brings together a body of work exploring her love of drawing, from rapid three-minute poses to 30-minute detailed studies.

She has drawn the human form in charcoal, ink, pastel, watercolour and oil.

She said: “Some of the pieces in the exhibition are about four or five years old, from when I really started to draw. I was experimenting a lot with pen and wash and I found that a very good medium.

Helen is now under the tutelage of Hexham-based Chilean artist Enrique Azocar, as she hopes to create landscapes inspired by the Northumberland countryside.

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

She said: “If you’re not painting landscapes in Northumberland you must be blind or stupid, because the countryside is exquisite.”

Helen studied law at university, but went on to work as a copywriter, setting up her own national network of PR companies.

Gallery curator Esen Kaya, said: “Helen’s reunion with her first love – art – has given her huge ambition for the future as she plans portraits and bigger landscapes.

“Though an emerging artist at present, Helen has such passion for what she is doing and we are delighted to have given her the opportunity to share her work with our audiences.”

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

As part of her show, a life drawing installation will be created and a series of life drawing workshops will be hosted for anyone who wishes to take part.

For more information, e-mail gallery learning officer Lesley Guy on lesley@customshouse.co.uk.

The exhibition runs until August 18 in the main gallery, after which some of her work will transfer to the Lower Fusion gallery.

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House

Helen Stephenson's exhibition at the Customs House