NPA Lab | 2020

Paula MacArthur


Paula MacArthur is a painter who views her work as a contemporary interpretation of traditional memento mori & vanitas painting.  MacArthur was a Prize winner at John Moores Exhibition 18 and her work is included in the Jiangsu Museum of Art in China.

Helen Stone


Helen Stone is a former magazine editor and graduate in Contemporary Portraiture from The Art Academy London. She was selected for the Liberty Specialty Markets Art Award in 2018 – 2019. 

Helen Stone

‘Touched: Snip Snap’ (2020)

Oil on canvas (30 x 25cm)

“The intention of this process is to help navigate a shifting landscape and of course we have stepped into a far bigger unknown than any of us could have imagined. Like many artists, new opportunities I’d invested time and energy in and which appeared tantalisingly close, simply vanished overnight, along with the art-related work that helped support my practice. If ever there was a year to test the famed artists’ resolve and resilience, this is it.”

Helen Stone

‘Chatterbox’ (2020)

Stitch and folded calico (Approx. 13 x 13 x 7cm)

“We had plenty to discuss from working in series, communicating narrative and choosing titles to how we define our work, ways to build support networks and how to financially support an art practice.

It is always helpful to hear from established artists about their journey, their experience and how they have developed their processes. I’m not sure there has ever been such a thing as a clear path out of art school –  artists are by their very nature intent on doing things differently – but it does help build a landscape of possibility.

Having studied as a mature student, an obvious issue is how best to make the most of this late start. It has taken time for me to reconcile that my practice won’t be built on years in the studio but it can be built on the foundations of life experience. Women tend to inhabit a different space at this stage of life and it is something I am in interested in exploring as an artist, and using that oblique view as an inspiration and a positive spur.

Many thanks to Paula for her gift of time, wisdom and encouragement. And to NPA for such great support. It is appreciated all the more in these challenging times.”

Helen Stone

‘Looking for Light’ (2020)

Oil on canvas (41 x 31cm)

Helen Stone is a former magazine editor and graduate in Contemporary Portraiture from The Art Academy London. Alongside portraits, she paints objects and creates small installations around the themes of class, social history and every day loss. She was winner of the Expert Panel Vote in the Liberty Specialty Markets Art Award 2018-19 and has exhibited in numerous group and juried shows including at Menier Gallery, Islington Arts Factory, National Trust Standen and Mall Galleries. Her work is held in private collections in the UK and Europe and she is available for commissions and collaborations.

Paula MacArthur

‘All these silent moments’ (2020)

Oil on canvas (100 x 100cm)

“The initial concept for these works stemmed from my thoughts on the evident disconnect between man and nature. Increasingly the natural world is viewed as something quite separate from humankind, something to be either controlled or protected but different from us. Like the virus, crystals too are part of the natural world, both alien and strange, and arguably, both are very beautiful, the visual similarity suggesting that everything really is connected. As Carl Sagan so aptly put it “We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.”

Paula MacArthur

‘Didn’t I give you nearly everything’ (2020)

Oil on canvas (100 x 100cm)

Paula MacArthur trained at The Royal Academy Schools where she was awarded the RA Schools Prize for Painting. She now works from her studio in Rye, East Sussex. In 1993 Paula was a prizewinner at John Moores 18 & in 1989 she won the NPG John Player Portrait Award. Her work is held in several permanent collections including Jiangsu Museum of Art – China, Goodnestone Park, Kent, Priseman Seabrook Collection, National Portrait Gallery, London , Baron & Baroness von Oppenheim. Her solo exhibitions include Verse at Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks in 2018 & Infinitely Precious Things at VJB Arts, 60 Threadneedle Street in 2015.