New paintings – flamingos and post-apocalyptic technology

Here’s my latest batch of new work. Continuing on with the theme of women, but kind of taking a small sidestep to paint these glorious flamingos I saw in chilly Leeds at Lotherton Hall bird garden. I was interested in their artificial environment; a concrete pond, really small. I don’t know how you can tell if a bird is happy, but I’ve been reassured that they don’t mind the cold. I wonder how they feel about the enclosure. I guess there’s nothing to stop them from flying away – I wonder why they don’t. They’re beautiful. It’s sort of sad.

Flamingo painting - Helen Dryden 2015

Flamingo painting, 31cm diameter. Watercolour and acrylic on paper, mounted onto wood (which is something I have only just learned how to do! Thanks, YouTube.) £200.

Friends with jackets, Helen Dryden, 2015

Friends with jackets‘, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40cm, £200.

These gorgeous women I found in a photo online that I was compelled to paint. I don’t know if they are friends or a couple, but I love the confidence in the face of the woman on the left, and also I like how the woman on the right has posed herself to show off her patched jacket and earrings, and long hair.

Untitled - Helen Dryden 2015 (2)


Untitled‘ acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40cm, £200.

I found the image of the lady in the trench coat on Instagram, and it led me to imagine this painting – in this post apocalyptic reality/alternate universe, these people are living in caves, scavenging to survive and creating new uses for left over technology. I can’t be explicit about what’s happening, as that would ruin it! You have to make up your own story. It’s deliberately ambiguous. Is there danger from the figures entering the cave, that the woman hasn’t noticed? Why aren’t they shown on the cctv? How have they made electricity to power the tv? What’s in the staorage jars?

Table ladies - Helen Dryden 2015


Table ladies, 60 x 60cm, acrylic on canvas, £200.

This painting was inspired by another found photo online, of someone enjoying a meal with friends. I abstracted the figures and table, and the plant in the room. I wanted to create a piece that is both abstract and figurative, with unusual colours, but that has harmony and balance. I left out the glasses the figures were holding, and much of the detail of the items on the table, as once I had painted the hands in postition to hold the glasses, I thought it looked quite funny with them sitting their with their hands out. It draws more attention to the posed nature of the picture, and makes you think about the sense of occasion when a group of people eat together. They’re raising their glasses to the person taking the photo, to indicate they’re celebrating. The empty chair and plate are for the photographer, and in the case of the painting, they are for the viewer. It draws you into the painting, you are part of the party!

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