June 2004 to March, 2012
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A Helen Andersen oil painting

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This oil painting hangs over our fireplace. The canvas measures 32″ x 20″ without the frame. It’s signed “Andy” and dated ’63.

The subject is a shore of the west coast Gulf Island, South Pender…looking down over the rocks from above, with the water’s edge appearing in the top part of the picture. Helen once had a studio on South Pender, built from scratch by her husband Raabye.

Helen painted many landscapes and seashores in Vancouver, on South Pender and in Victoria. In the early 60s, she was signing her works “Andy”, which was her nickname from her days as a nursing student in Regina. If you have one, now you know that “Andy” wasn’t a guy. And there’s more to the story of her name.

Helen’s maiden name was Anderson (with an “o”). Her first marriage changed her name to “Helen Ross” but she signed her paintings “Andy” all through that period. Later, her second marriage was to Raabye Andersen (with an “e”, Danish style). So Helen was an Andersen once again, although with a different spelling.

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4 comments

1 kathleen { 01.17.12 at 12:26 am }

What can I say..I think everything she did was from her heart and with class..I am right or right about that…Thank you for the the art piece you gave to me..I treasure that and feel so special that you gave that to me.

I look at at every morning ,on my piano!

Kathleen

2 Bill { 01.17.12 at 8:24 am }

You are exactly right, Kathleen. Helen did work “right from the heart”, trying always to express what she felt rather than what she already knew about drawing and painting. She began her art career as a teenager, tutored by her amateur but Ruskin-reading father. (Very Victorian aesthetic). She took classes all her life but never to acquire polishing techniques. She held true to her own vision and quest for expressive form.

3 joni { 01.19.12 at 6:01 am }

Yes, her studio had a circular staircase and a view of the sea. Thanks for posting. I believe this is her early work in oils.

4 Bill { 01.19.12 at 9:01 am }

You’re right, Joni, this would have been done when you were around 10 years old. Helen worked in this style for several years before this one, though. So it’s early, but not one of her earliest oils.
Around this time, she liked to paint things like giant driftwood stumps and roots that she saw on Vancouver’s beaches. She also painted a number of views of Vancouver, seen across the waters from Spanish Banks.

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