An artist with hopes for international recognition may have got her wish.

Helen Lack, a self-taught painter from Aldenham, will represent Britain when her Candy collection goes on display in a larger-than-life digital exhibition in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, in May.

Helen, who last month received the International Botticelli Prize in contemporary art, was nominated to showcase her work in Asia by renowned Filipino artist Jay Gonzales, who described her latest composition as having a “strong abstract style that is stunning and beautiful”.

The Radlett-based painter, who grew up in Northamptonshire, described the recommendation as “incredibly rewarding and satisfying” after transitioning from photography to paints just three years ago.

Her Candy exhibition pieces, entitled ‘Candy Lemonade’ and ‘Candyfloss’, are a meditation on thoughts and feelings linked with childhood that occur to the artist while she is working.

These two artworks will appear as part of a wider exhibition in Manila on huge digital screens with the aim of provoking a conversation about art among people living in the Philippines. The show could propel Helen among what she hopes will be an international community of artists with whom she can collaborate.

Speaking about her Candy collection, she said: “Everything I paint is really coming from my soul and it is important that comes through in my artwork.

“Most of my work has been very vibrant and very expressive but this latest exhibition uses mixed layers and collages to provoke emotions and thoughts while I am painting, and that can be on any topic really. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on this collection.

“In the words of Jay Gonzales, this digital exhibition in Manila is a ‘vision and aspiration to expand the importance of art to the people in Manila and other countries’.

“I am very, very excited to be part of an amazing city in Asia and to take two pictures evoking personal childhood memories called ‘Candy Lemonade’ and ‘Candyfloss’ to an international level.”

Helen finds her artistic process flows most freely when working from her studio accompanied by music.

“I always work in a studio,” she said, “I have a garden studio which I find comfortable to paint in any time of the day. It is a really natural setting. It’s important for me to provide a relaxed atmosphere.

“In my mind I start thinking certain thoughts and then the colours come together. Then I just feel the need to paint and I start thinking about a theme that will go with that piece of work. It changes with the messages that go through my mind. But my recent works have come from my childhood.

“I tend to get my inspiration from day to day happenings, the places I go, visions in my mind. Then I transfer it into an abstract form for expression. Anywhere I go I will remember a certain view and then turn it into something abstract.

“But colour is the real essence of my work and just recently a fellow artist said I was a ‘colourist’. To me that means that I think of colour very carefully.”

Harrow Times:

Helen was awarded the International Botticelli Prize in contemporary art in Florence in February by Italian curators, Francesco and Salvatore Russo. She received the accolade for artistic merit.

Speaking about the trajectory of her career, she said: “I’m a self-taught artist and I’ve always been creative. I was a photographer and then began to change the medium and for three years have worked really hard to establish where I am today.

“I started with some art classes, realised I could do this on my own and since then I’ve had solo and group exhibitions throughout Hertfordshire and London. My next goal is to go to an international level.

“But I paint so that ultimately people can put things on their walls. That’s why I paint. Making it accessible to all.

“In the next five years I’d like to explore collaboration with other creators internationally.”