Artist: Neil Helyard
Neil Helyard was born in Beverley, East Yorkshire in 1951. Whilst working as an art tutor and mentor, he developed and pursued his own practice initially exhibiting in private galleries. His success led to numerous prestigious exhibitions held at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (Annual Exhibitions) from 2005, winning the Prince of Wales Award for Portrait Drawing in 2009. Amongst other renowned places, he has exhibited at The Royal Watercolour Society, The Pastel Society, The Garrick/Milne 2005 (Christies, London) and Leeds City Art Gallery.
Neil’s art is both classical and contemporary and he sites influences from the Italian Renaissance, Frank Auerbach and Egon Schiele. There is a preponderance of earth shades and startling blues in his work which fashions a harmonious, reflective and romantic palette and a timeless recognition of what it is to be human. His portraits capture a nuanced and textured (sometimes with applied strips of canvas) perception of the sitter, seemingly encapsulating the experience of a person - a soul laid bare - searching into their vulnerability and strength and above all showing their nobility of spirit. Some of the portraits are quiet and still, giving us the voice of the unheard, the silent beauty of youth or age; other portraits are more vigorous, colourful and strong. They all suggest the inward, singular but collective, consciousness of the sitter. His horse and rider studies illustrate the integrity of the relationship between man and animal, moving as one.
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