I’ve always loved paintings and drawings, and got into watercolors about 4 years ago. I had painted oils in the past, but was getting frustrated with the amount of time they take to dry – and the smell! Oh dear god, the smell of turps and oil paint when you live in a 1 bedroom flat is horrendous!

My mum had always wanted a painting of the Chelsea Sugar Works. I had always kept an eye out for one, but never found any. Then one day I had an epiphany – why don’t I try to paint one? Since I had previously only done abstract paintings or flowers, this was going to be a challenge! So I took some classes and workshops on how to paint watercolours, and did many YouTube tutorials, and you know what? I absolutely loved it! Watercolour was now my new medium.

Chelsea sugar refinery painting - Helen Emmett

Chelsea Sugar Works painting for mum

I now have quite a few paintings of the Chelsea Sugar Works, and focus on painting New Zealand landscapes/icons, and NZ birds. I’m now combining my love of indian ink with watercolour, and am refining my style. Every painting I do evolves, and I love that with watercolour – you never know how it will turn out! It is always a surprise.