About Me

Helen Purdie 2018
I am a Spanish based artist living in Andalucía and I am self-taught. I did not engage with my artistic self for nearly twenty years after leaving school. However, in 2008 I realised that it was essential for me to live my life as the artist I knew myself to be within. I recognised that I would need to end my career in the National Health Service to commit to this. This was even before I had found the confidence to pick up my paint brushes again. However, once I did so, my paintings and drawings emerged and continue to develop. Within a year I had held a very fulfilling exhibition with a surgical colleague. By 2011 I was pursuing my art practice full-time. My first solo exhibition in a gallery was held in 2013. My studio is within my home where I enjoy the peace and solitude to work. I also enjoy painting and drawing plein air. My main concerns are with colour, tone and form influenced directly by my interactions with the world around me.

In 2014 I undertook a three month residency based in the Operating Theatres at Claremont Hospital, Sheffield. This was inspired by my background within surgery and surgical education research.  I sat within the operating theatres drawing the surgical team at work.

In 2016 I was confirmed to be autistic at the age of forty six. I am learning to understand myself better now and to explain my inner experience to people more easily. I have made a colouring book about my autistic grown-up life that I hope may help people on their journey in understanding, accepting and celebrating themselves or those who are autistic. This book can be viewed and purchased in the Bookshop.


My studio paintings are what I spend most time on. Below I offer some insight into the lengthy process involved:

“The paintings belie perhaps the process involved in achieving their finished state. With no pre-drawing, they begin with very free strokes of translucent paint to resolve the composition. Increasing layers are applied with no taping or stencilling. They are built up with a small brush to obtain both opacity and the tight meeting of colours. The palette is less extensive than perhaps the eye registers because of the way the colours and tones interact. These effects are further intensified by the very flat application of paint, such that no brush strokes are visible on the canvas. The paintings move between representation and abstraction as one’s attention is drawn in turn by the surroundings evoked and by the interaction of the colours themselves.”


My paintings and drawings are for sale at Exhibitions when shown and can also be bought directly from me. Please see the contact page for details.


Paintings and drawings that have sold or been commissioned are held within a number of private collections in the UK, Europe, Japan and New Zealand and within the corporate collections of B Braun Medical Ltd and Aspen Healthcare.