susan helmer

18 X 30 • PAINTED SILK • $550

29 x 26 • PAINTED SILK • $600


As a child, I was introduced to art through classes at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. All I remember from those classes is an image of huge bottles of brightly colored tempera paint lined up on a window sill and the huge lions that still line the path to the museum. While attending San Jose State University, I earned a minor in art with an emphasis on crafts, especially textiles. Having been raised as a proper Latina, my ability to embroider, crochet and cross stitch was included in my college textile projects.

Later, I studied bead design with Helen Dietze and was hooked on creating jewelry from beads. Design principles learned in school finally clicked when I used beads. While on vacation in Washington about 15 years ago, I attended a silk painting class because my hostess became ill and I took her place. The minute I saw the incredibly intense colors spread like magic on the silk; I was hooked. I gave away my watercolors and now paint only on silk. I am now incorporating my love of textiles and beads into painting. Using watercolor techniques, I paint on stretched silk with liquid dyes. The finished piece is then steamed for three hours to set the dyes and next I embroider beads onto the silk to create details, shadows or accents and texture. I have experimented with the addition of Sashiko quilting to my pieces using silk thread.

Currently I am rubbing dye crayons over rubbing plates to my silk as a way to add more texture. My subjects range from florals to abstracts. I find leaves most sensual and beautiful. Tropical plants satisfy my need for color. Flowers are viewed close up so you are almost staring into the petals. Abstracts are all about the color and pattern. Recently, I have been seduced by landscapes. These could be urban or rural. My paintings have been exhibited from Fremont to Walnut Creek and as far away as Mendocino.

these, and many more by susan, for sale at
APRIL 25 - APRIL 28, 2019
facebook event