Hellen Martin

Artist Information

Hellen Martin

Hellen is a Texas girl and proud of it. She spent her school years in Aransas Pass, Texas, and attend­ed Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty in Huntsville, Texas.  While attend­ing col­lege, she took a few art class­es while pur­su­ing a teach­ing degree.

She mar­ried in 1949 and art went on the back­burn­er because of work­ing, rais­ing three chil­dren, and tak­ing care of a home.  For a birth­day gift, her hus­band signed her up for two paint­ing class­es.  That’s all it took because Hellen con­tin­ued to study art, paint as time allowed, and devel­oped her own style.

Due to her hus­band being in the Navy for nine years and cor­po­rate moves, she has lived in Texas, Cal­i­for­nia, Wash­ing­ton, Okla­homa (twice), and Nether­lands.  While liv­ing in the Nether­lands, she taught stu­dents from Nether­lands, Ger­many, Bel­gium, France, and New Zealand.

In 2002, Hellen left her cor­po­rate posi­tion to pur­sue her dream … start her art busi­ness, Paint­ings by Hellen. She dis­cov­ered gourds in 2003 at an art show.  They imme­di­ate­ly became her pas­sion and main medi­um.  Since they grow in dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes, they pre­sent­ed a chal­lenge she embraced.  The gourd allows her to pyrog­ra­phy (wood­burn); pine nee­dle coil; closed coil (sim­i­lar to Native Amer­i­can bas­ket mak­ing); paint with acrylics, oils, col­or pen­cils; and pow­er carve.  You were lim­it­ed only by your imagination.

Hellen became a national/international fine art gourd artist who has won numer­ous awards for her paint­ing, pine nee­dle coil­ing, and carv­ing.  Her work has been dis­played in gal­leries through­out Texas, San­ta Fe, Albu­querque, and Col­orado.  Hellen has also been fea­tured in sev­er­al Texas’ and San­ta Fe, New Mex­i­co mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers.  Her work has been dis­played in muse­ums and pho­tos used for adver­tis­ing Comanche Nation’s art show and oth­er events involv­ing gourds.  Per the request of the Amer­i­can Gourd Soci­ety, she wrote com­pe­ti­tion guide­lines for paint­ing and col­ored pen­cils that are used through­out the Unit­ed State dur­ing gourd fes­ti­vals.  In 2009, she start­ed teach­ing and writ­ing books to share her knowl­edge.  Her faux west­ern tool­ing tech­nique was intro­duced to the art world in 2009 and became extreme­ly popular.

Since Hellen has a Comanche/Blackfoot her­itage, a lot of her art is with a Native Amer­i­can flare.  She also does wildlife, birds, buf­fa­lo, and hors­es along with carv­ing rus­tic pieces.  Her Indi­an maid­ens and faux leather tool­ing have become her trademark.

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