Helen Becker is a mixed media artist who currently paints mixed media collage in acrylic paint. Before taking on mixed media collage, Helen Becker painted oil paintings of organic shapes.
The abstract oil artwork was a step in the direction to becoming a mixed media artist. Helen Becker’s abstract oil painting carry hints of her newer mixed media collage artwork.
After so many years of painting/drawing landscapes with soft pastels, I began to feel that there was more inside of me which I wanted to express.
To me creating was making something that never existed. Creating meant dreaming up something in my imagination that belonged only to me. And as an artist I had the option of sharing it with viewers or not. I did not need someone to recognize or identify with what I was creating. I am an artist regardless of what others think about my art. It is truly mine, alone.
When I turned from soft pastels in 2015, I went immediately to oils because I had this notion that I wanted to be an oil painter. That to me was the ultimate in an artistic medium.
And so I began doing abstracts of organic shapes because I thought they were more expressive and gentler than stiff, hard, angular shapes. I used a variety of techniques to portray leaves and swiss chard.
At this time I began working with a mentor in Portland, Oregon, whom I would speak with every couple of weeks after sending her photos of my work. I began using different techniques to get different kinds of textures on my canvas. Using bubble wrap, saran wrap, wax paper and stenciling with letters and numbers and grid patterns, were some of my most favorite ways of creating texture. At one point she suggested that I add more depth to my painting by overlapping elements in the composition. So I began to think about what kinds of things overlapped and I decided out of the clear blue sky that highways overlapped. On ramps and off ramps circled around and up and over other portions of the highways. A new series was born.
I decided that I would create a series of paintings based on highways. But I realized that I had more than just a passing interest in highways. I was actually very fascinated with them.
I have since moved into acrylic paint to work on abstract collage with an emphasis on mixed media collage. I feel that the freedom afforded to me with abstract painting, with the medium of mixed media, allows me to explore my fascination with layering and collaging as an artist.
I have been drawing with many black and white mediums for a long time. Having extreme contrasts is a goal of mine whether in black and white charcoal or color abstract collage. I use compressed charcoal, vine charcoal, willow charcoal, charcoal pencils, graphite, white pencil, and white pastel stick. Even using a kneaded eraser or rubbing with a chamois is a form of drawing (by subtraction).
Because of my ease in drawing this way, I choose these mediums for my studies of larger paintings, such as my oil paintings or my mixed media collage pieces. They help me see the overall notion or direction a painting will take before I even begin the painting.
Drawing is a natural way for me to express myself. I can create small compositions much easier than I can large mixed media collage paintings. I don’t know what I would do without my charcoal studies!