Helen Dynes Painting Class

Painting Class

Date: Oct 17 – Dec 20Space: Workshop

Helen Dynes strongly believes that art is a form of therapy and sees evidence of that in all her art connections with people. ‘Art allows you to express your own creativity. Often lying dormant, because of work or life commitments. Many people don’t get around to this form of self-help until they are ‘retired’ or suddenly find they have that precious commodity- time, on their hands.’ When Creative Arts Napier first opened, we were lucky to have Helen as one of our supporters and for her to bring her weekly painting class to our workshop which has been continuing for more than eight years.

A bonded group of passionate painters

Pay a visit to CAN on a Tuesday morning and you will feel the creativity and comradery in the air during Helen’s painting class. If you are in the room when Helen is tutoring, you will probably pick up a gem or two of artistic knowledge.

As the artists paint the subject of their choice, Helen carries out one on one tutorials with each of them. A fellow student might turn an ear to pick up some tips of their own or stay immersed in their own work. It is a supportive environment, with a constant exchange of ideas available, and constructive, informative advice on hand for everyone, no matter what level of experience.

The community and friendship in the group is apparent as well, as they share laughs, stories and often some homemade baking or homegrown produce. In fact, the communal aspect of the group was so important that they continued to meet at CAN weekly in Helen’s absence as she undertook summer school courses at Florence Academy for Realist Painters.

Adam Portraiture Award Tote Bag with Helen Dynes Quote

An accomplished artist and teacher

Helen decided to study at the American art school located in Florence, Italy because she wanted a more formal knowledge in figurative painting which she gained there under the tutelage of her teacher, Jura.  ‘I used to listen to Jura… as he spoke to all the individuals in turn. I wished I could bottle every word he said.’

After that ‘amazing’ experience she went on to become a finalist in the Adam’s Portraiture Award 2020.

Over the years, Helen has been invited to be a tutor and an art selector by several Hawke’s Bay art groups.  Her main motivation is her love of sharing with other people. ‘I get excited when I learn something new and I’m generous with my knowledge. I have appreciated artists being generous with me… it cascades knowledge, keeps things moving.’

After studying Graphic design in the UK, Helen studied printmaking upon arrival in New Zealand.

Her infamous etching press Matilda, an 1850s converted mangle from Wolverhampton now resides at StudioD at Waiohiki Arts Village.  CAN Workshop with student painting

Impressive Testimonials

Helen’s guidance and teaching methods are so appreciated by her students that many have been loyal to her for many years. Maxine became ‘hooked’ on Helen’s art classes after a fun afternoon painting class with her friends for her birthday. ‘Helens classes are so much more than learning how to draw and paint. Without ever lecturing ‘Helen’s Way’ [she] guides you to develop your individual talents. She opens windows to your creativity, stretching you, supporting you as the creative human experience of painting becomes an integral part of your life. ‘

Another student, Coral says ‘I can`t think of a better way to spend a Tuesday morning than with like-minded people and a great tutor. I have learned a great deal from Helen in 3 years, enjoying her company and I enjoy working towards our annual exhibition. ‘

Close up of student painting canvas with reference photo in background

De Reiki doesn’t consider herself an artist but enjoys drawing and painting for the escape it gives her. She joined the art class when she retired to Napier in 2015 and hasn’t missed more than a few classes in the past seven years. ‘All the members are great people; Helen is a great teacher giving help and advice to everyone in a manner that improves their knowledge and ability and therefore their enjoyment in art and the work they produce. I personally have enjoyed every minute of my participation.’

If you want to reclaim your inner creativity at last, there is no better way to do so, than here at CAN in Helen’s painting class, or at her private studio, StudioD, at Waiohiki Arts village.

Encounters at StudioD are smaller in number, with an in depth focus on different aspects of painting and/or mixed media, including printmaking.
Weekly afternoon classes or weekend Retreats are available on the website:

One to one mentoring with Helen can also be arranged for yourself or as a gift to another, via email. Email Helen at

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