June 2004 to March, 2012
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Salt Woman arrives in mystery mailer

Before her death in 1995, my mother Helen Andersen had limited edition lithographs made of a few of her paintings. We have a couple of them on our walls, one of which is called Salt Woman and the Hero Twins (above).

Today, an Expresspost mailing tube arrived while Danica and I were out for a walk. There was no return address on the tube but the postmark indicated that it had come from Victoria, BC. Inside was one of the prints of Salt Woman.

Clearly, the print had once been in a matte and was probably removed from a frame. The original printed sheet with the name of the print and a bit about the subject was also in the tube. But no note. Nothing to indicate who sent the print or why.

Anyway, mystery sender, thank you for taking the trouble. There aren’t very many of these prints in existence and it was kind of you to make sure yours will be well cared for.

Here’s an old and very small video of Helen talking to Danica about “Salt Woman”.


1 Anna { 01.24.11 at 7:59 pm }

How wonderful Bill. Wouldn’t it be great to think they could find your thank you in this blog.

2 danica { 01.27.11 at 5:15 pm }

It took me a long time to warm up to this painting (actually it’s a print and we don’t know who has the original). But I’ve been looking at it for over 15 years now and find the colours and composition delightful. Helen has a whimsical story to go with it – where’s that video clip Bill? :^) Just as unusual to receive a carefully packaged copy in the mail – with no ID…

3 Bill { 01.27.11 at 5:20 pm }

I find it’s often that way with good art, Danica. If you like something right off the bat, there’s a good chance you’ll also tire of it quickly. Pieces that demand more of you also please longer… I guess because you’ve put more into them, and something of yourself.

4 joni { 02.05.11 at 12:27 am }

apt comments

5 Al { 11.10.11 at 2:45 am }

Hi Bill

Thanks so much for having this site available to the public, I can’t believe that I found you. I have been trying to find out more about Helen Andersen for years since I bought a print of the Salt Woman (13/250) at the Whippletree Auction. I loved this print at first sight and love it more today.

I have always suspected that she was a Cowichan artist?? but could never find anything, is this the case? Please email me if you could, I’d really like to know more about this amazing piece of artwork, who were the Hero Twins, who was the Salt Woman??, and would like to see Helen’s other work.

I think you’re probably wrong about there being few prints in existence, they are probably quietly hanging on peoples walls (like my own) just being wonderful, and giving something to others who have an appreciation of what once was.

Thanks, Al

6 Bill { 11.10.11 at 12:45 pm }

Thanks for writing, Al. I think you have a very good eye for art. I will send you more information about the print you have and some interesting facts about Helen Andersen (who was my mother). She died in Victoria (Saanichton, actually) in 1995. She was Canadian, from the prairies originally and her ethnic background was English and Icelandic. As you may have guessed, she had an enormous respect for the art of the first nations, often making native myth and history the subject of her work. She knew and corresponded with many other Canadian artists such as Jack Shadbolt, Bill Reid, Jacques de Tonnancour, Max Maynard and many others. I’ll send you more information by email.

7 Don Straathof { 08.29.12 at 6:03 am }

Nice to see some information on Salt woman and the hero twins for me because I too have recently bought a copy (126/250) of the lovely painting. I was on Vancouver Island’s Saanich peninsula near Deep cove on a First nations reserve in a gallery when I first saw the painting. It was very similar in style to my good friend Donna Huber’s paintings. When i first saw it I was totally taken a back. I got very weepy , out of breath and excited at the same time. There was something about the painting that had me totally enthralled. I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the price on the painting and that it was within my budget. It is now reframed and hangs in my room along with some of my friends’ paintings. I appreciate it every day.
Bill, I too would like to have any information you could share with me about the Myth of Salt Woman, the artist and the painting. Thank you, Don.

8 Pat { 03.28.13 at 6:16 pm }

I am looking for family/relatives of Helen Andersen. I live in Sidney and have some of her original work and would like direction on how to part with them. please email me.

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