Wigan artist Helena stays local for her work

Helena with portrait "Harry"
Helena with portrait "Harry"

When local artist Helena Edwardson wanted inspiration for her work, she didn’t have far to look.

Helena, from Shevington decided to bring to life the decorated stories of Wiganers, including members of her own family.

And her work received much acclaim at a recent exhibition at The Old Courts which showcased promising talent.

Helena’s favoured artwork is charcoal portraits of people she has either known for years, or even passers-by who happen to express a look she wants to capture.

“I do ask for permission before I start to draw people, especially because not everyone likes to be featured in an exhibit, either.” Helena said about her work.

A full-time worker in HR, Helena interacts with people from all walks of life in her day job, and spoke about how this transcends itself to her passion for drawing.

She said: “A lot of the people at work don’t know I’m an artist, so I have to get some evidence at the ready!”

Helena spent two years at Wrexham College of Art in 1992, but left early to pursue full-time work whilst doing commission portraits and getting her work put up at Wigan Steam Gallery earlier this year.

More recently, Helena has been using charcoal for her portraits, and one of her works ‘Harry’ was used at the Old Courts exhibition.

The person in the portrait is Helena’s father-in-law, Harry Edwardson, who was a Wigan ex-miner throughout the 1980s in Bryn.

Mr Edwardson, now 76, studied at Wigan Tech as a teenager, which is now the Town Hall, and qualified as an engineer.

An avid footballer, Mr. Edwardson had trials at Blackburn Rovers alongside his academia, before deciding there was more of a living to be made down the mines.

Helena said: “I drew him many years ago in acrylic, and I wanted to do it again in charcoal, which I figured brought out the miner in him.

“He has had such a decorated life, and has only just recently retired due to ill health.” Portraits aren’t the only artwork Helena produces.

With the festive season under way, Helena has designed A5 greetings cards that depict the aesthetic side of the borough, which she says not everyone sees.

On Sunday December 9, the Wigan Makers Market is debuting at The Old Courts at 12pm, and Helena will feature the renowned “Face” Wigan sculpture as one of the cards.

Alongside it will be a landscape pen, ink and white pencil piece of The Wiend bar in Wigan town centre.

Aside from portraits and landscape art, Helena has also received commissions for drawings of peoples’ pets - a type of art which she happened upon whilst admiring a friend’s three Greyhound dogs: Fox, Rusty and Womble.

Helena’s artwork can be found on her Twitter account @Helena_artist