I have been inspired by Robert Hooke’s ‘Micrographia’ and Konrad Gesner’s ‘Historiae Animalium’. Hooke was the first person to use a microscopic lens to look at the world in close detail and record his observations with beautiful drawings. Gesner produced a monumental encyclopedia that attempted to build a connection between the ancient knowledge of the animal world and the new scientific discoveries of the Renaissance. It is a wonderful mix of myth, imagination and science. I also love the artwork of polymath Ernst Haeckel and revere the exquisite botanical art of Maria Sybilla Merian.
The mystery of why and how things grow, come into existence, is explained magnificently by science but the wonder of it all needs an artist’s voice to express the miracle of it all. My works bring the viewer into the fantastic, ethereal micro-world of nature and creation. They are also visions of the soul and I always pay homage to the works of great visionary artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer.
As I start drawing I surrender to my imagination and feel a growing excitement as a simple pencil mark becomes a seed, which in turn becomes fully formed as a plant, snake or human. The creative act celebrates creation. The pencil marks or brushstrokes dictating the flow or pattern within the forms. I marvel at bringing something new to life each day through my artwork. I love the process and the promise of something good to come.
I create what I do because it is as important as sleeping and breathing to me. But most importantly I try to surround myself with a beauty and optimism that celebrates life, no matter how grey it gets at times and that is what I hope the viewer sees and feels when looking at my works.
Helena Wilsen -Saunders