Local artist returns to her roots

Opening on Wednesday, May 30, Helen Ryman will be exhibiting her Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galloway collection of oil paintings and ink drawings in

the Tolbooth Art Centre, Kirkcudbright.

It will run until June 10 as part of the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, and also during the Spring Fling weekend.

Delivering snapshots of the region’s characters, Helen captures and archives a changing way of life. “As time passes, faces change and stories are

forgotten,” she explains. “You cannot help but be inspired by the wealth of character, whether in a place, a local person or simply the animals,

within Galloway.”

A student of highly respected and successful local artist Davy Brown, Helen’s oils are strongly influenced by his confident and distinctive use of colour. Strong, bold brushstrokes deliver the raw Galloway landscape in all its untouched glory.

“ If I can use only one brushstroke to describe an area of landscape, and explain to the viewer what I see, I’;m happy,” Helen enthuses. “My home turf of Mochrum and Kirkcowan is not a pristine and intensively worked area, but instead more rugged and free, and I aim to replicate this feeling within my art.”

Helen is possibly more associated with working on the land as opposed to painting it. Despite studying at Stirling University, Helen’s strong connections with the land drew her back home, and has worked full-time as a dairy person and shepherd since. However, after badly breaking her arm last September, Helen had to take time out from her cows and decided to spend it developing her artwork. “Thankfully it was my left arm and I’m right-handed,” she said. “It may be a lucky break.”

The Tolbooth Arts Centre, High Street, Kirkcudbright, is open Monday-Friday, 11-5pm and has free admission.