Painting, drawing & TV: Off the Fence 20th Anniversary


Happy new year! It has purely been mugs! mugs! mugs! around here lately, but I’m still drawing and painting as ever. To kick off 2015, I’ve got a super colourful painting to show you. This piece was commissioned by the team at Off  the Fence, a TV Production company which celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2014. As part of the anniversary celebrations, I created this A1 piece for the company’s founder, and it is now hanging in the company’s head office in Amsterdam.

Here are some close-ups:

Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-02 Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-03 Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-04 Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-06 Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-07Helena-Maratheftis-OTF-small-05

This painting is an assemblage of everything that Off the Fence is, as well as things that OTF’s founder, Ellen Windemuth, loves. After a meeting with the London team, we came up with a long list of things to include, from images of Ellen’s beloved children and pets, to OTF’s worldwide office locations…as well as a rather tongue-in-cheek quote from a colleague which you can see on the blue banner.  Off the Fence produces a huge range of non-fiction television, and I incorporated many of its flagship productions into the painting (look closely on the TV screens and you can see some popular titles!).

The bright colours I’ve used are not random: the branding of OTF productions is colour coded according to subject matter, and I thought it was fitting to use their characteristic colour palette in my painting. I hope it’s obvious that I had a lot of funw orking on it, because I did!

Congratulations to Off the Fence for their 20th Anniversary! It was fantastic to be a part of the celebrations.

Bhuna’s Beetles: A New Painting.

Hello! I’ve got a new painting to show you, and it features plenty of six-legged beasts!


So far you’ve seen a lot of beetle photography from me, but it had never occurred to me to put my beetles onto canvas! Luckily, someone else (codenamed Bhuna, a long story in itself) had the idea, and asked me to paint something based on all the photos I’d been taking. We settled on something green, lush and leafy with plenty of details for the eye to explore…and I got cracking. Here are some of the work-in-progress shots I posted on Instagram:


I had a lot of fun researching imagery for this painting! I often create Pinterest boards for my projects, but they’re usually set to private so that the project remains Top Secret. In this instance I created a public board called Bhuna’s Beetles, so that Bhuna (who is not a member of Pinterest) could keep track of the beetles I was inspired by. Funnily enough, the board got quite a few followers, all of whom must be all confused by the board’s title!



My aim was to draw beetles that remained true(ish) to nature, and which were stylised as little as possible. However, I did use a generous dollop of artistic license, but as an artist that’s literally in my job description! I’m allowed to borrow patterns and shapes from different species to create insect hybrids not necessarily seen in nature!

I also gave the beetles human eyes with irises because, towards the end of the piece, something felt missing. I realised that the lack of irises on the insects’ faces made them expressionless. Obviously, beetles don’t have human eyes or human expressions, but the addition of little eyeballs gave the painting character and humour…which is what I’m always trying to create in my work.

Bhuna, I hope you enjoy looking at your leafy canopy of beetles! I really enjoyed painting it.

Hold me closer tiny canvas (aka Little John)

For my birthday,  a friend of mine gave me a bunch of tiny canvasses. I got excited when I saw them, but I also had no idea what to do with them. However, I had a bit of an aha! moment this week. You see, whenever I do big paintings, I always end up with leftover paint which I hate to throw out. In the past, I’ve used the leftovers to paint my flowerpots…but I have now run out of flowerpots. And now? Well now, it’s tiny canvasses to the rescue:



I love how silly the tiny canvas looks next to my massive portrait of my boyfriend. (Yes, that’s Andy Warhol’s Mao hiding my boyfriend’s face. My Dearest One started to get weirded out by seeing himself hanging on the wall all the time, so we’ve covered him up for the time being.) After I finished drawing on my tiny canvas, It struck me that the man I’d drawn looked kinda like my brother. I’m therefore going to call this one ‘Little John‘.


The best thing about tiny canvasses is that they’re unintimidating. There isn’t a massive blank space staring at you, daring you to mess it up. It was so easy to slather the hand-sized canvas in paint, and and to pick up my black marker and doodle a face on top. So easy. Sometimes, it’s nice to draw easy things.

p.s. if you’re wondering what this post title is all about, listen here.

Theftypix on Instagram!

Psssssst! I recently joined Instagram, and as predicted, I’ve become a total Instajunkie.  Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep the food shots to a minimum (I swear). I’ve been having a lot of fun snapping at my palette and works in progress, and I’ve posted some of my favourites below.

Come and join me @theftypix!








Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments so I can follow you back!

Plants, Paints and Portraits.

Hello! Last Thursday afternoon, I found myself with a bit of free time. I decided to get my paints, brushes and pens and do some doodling. By dinner time I was feeling quite pleased with myself, and I tacked a couple of the paintings (drawings?) onto the shelf behind my mirrors. I’m very sorry about the face I’m pulling. I can’t help myself sometimes.

I scanned one of the drawings and added some more colour, digitally. I quite like all the clashing colours and patterns.

My new house has a lot of plants in it. I think I was inadvertently inspired by the colour palette on my table: Green leaves, yellowish wood, and dark pink berry juices.

Below: My green lady and my furry oregano plant. They’re a good match.

Another drawing on the floor / another shot of my glamorous slippers.

And, lastly, my beautiful lavender.


A portrait of Gayle

Hello! My friend Gayle visited me this week, and I painted her portrait while we drank about 50 cups of tea in the space of an hour. I haven’t had a good portrait painting session in a very long time. As much as I love my black pens and Photoshop, it’s nice to ditch them every once in a while.

Now, I have a history of making beautiful people look grotesque when I bust out the paints, but I’m quite pleased with this one.  I think it’s a decent likeness for a quick sketch (if you ignore the wonky eye, that is).

Gayle is an excellent model because she sits still, has nice cheekbones, and brings cake. I would happily paint her again (if she lets me).

p.s. Irrelevant side note: I’m on Pinterest! I’m new to it and it’s lonely, so please follow me!

Fluoro Self-Portrait

I started this painting a few months ago, when I had some paint left over from another project. I slapped on the pink and green thickly and quickly, creating a very rough self-portrait. Today I found the painting and decided to go over it in black markers, creating a crisp black layer of lines on top. (I love crisp black lines, I really do.)

There’s something spooky about a disembodied head with piercing fluoro eyes…but I like it. What do you think?

London Skies: A Private Commission

Hello! This piece was commissioned by an Aussie living in London. She’s here for a limited time only, and she wanted this painting to serve as a non-corny souvenir! Here’s the finished product (I wish metallics weren’t so hard to photograph!):

The words are lyrics from a Jamie Cullum song, and they say, ‘The sunlight always shines behind the clouds of London Skies‘. I was asked to include these words in the painting, and they inspired a lot of the imagery.

If you look closely, you’ll see the Queen having a G&T with her corgi, a squirrel tea party, the London Eye on a bad hair day, a pigeon, Kate and Wills, a lot of rain, and quite a lot more. I hope you like it Miss A!

Feasibility Study (commissions and contraptions)

Hello! I’ve just finished a brand new private commission! After chatting with my client, we settled on an eccentric contraption, featuring the word ‘feasible’ (he’s an engineer, which is fitting). Teal and gold were his colours of choice.

I had so much fun working on this. Dinosaurs, robots, speech bubbles, metallics, ridiculous details … all my favourite things on one canvas. Here are some close-ups:

I emailed these pictures to my client last night, and the reply was:

‘I’m so excited,and I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!’

Hooray! I hope you enjoy it Mister R! (To everyone else: don’t hesitate to email me if you’re considering commissioning something!

GROK Projects: Music and art

Here’s a little bit about my latest project:

GROK are inviting artists to create a piece of visual work in any medium in response to any of the tracks from their forthcoming album. The artwork will be exhibited in an East London gallery on 8th-9th October 2011, along with listening posts to hear the songs and included in the album artwork and on a dedicated website.’

My painting  was created in response to the track ‘Box Bronson’, and has been selected for the exhibition. How exciting! Here’s the link to the track:

The track – especially the intro – made me think of shards of glass and layers of twinkling chandelier crystals. There’s something melancholy about the music (hence the face), but also something very dynamic and energetic (hence the vivid colours).

Exhibition details:

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th October 2011, 12:00 midday – 11:00pm

The Rag Factory(16-18 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ)

Before and after

Hello! Last year I showed you a painting called ‘Self Portrait with Black Irises’ (see it here). Let’s call that the before picture. You see, every time I attempt to create a simple piece of art, I leave it for a while until I cave and let loose with the embellishment. On that note, here is the after:

See below for close-ups. (Note the giant eyelashes – I guess that’s what I’d look like if I were Lady Gaga.)

What can I say? I’m just a neon-and-rhinestones kind of girl. It’s not a crime.

Rainforest Rain


This is another brand new piece. It is the product of a commission on the (rather nice and wide) theme of ‘plant’. I went for a lush, jungle-esque vibe, complete with lotus flowers, gold leaves and rhinestones. Of course.

'Rainforest Rain', mixed media on canvas, 25 x 35cm, SOLD

Keep in mind that the leaves and raindrops are painted in metallic ink, and reflect beautifully in direct light.

Anyway, I hope you like it.

OK! A painting with rhinestones and humour.

Hey there,

It has been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been very busy with a new batch of paintings, but also with a new blog featuring my photography. You can find it here.

Now, back to business. This piece is brand new – I just finished it a few minutes ago. It is called OK, and it’s pretty obvious why:

‘OK’, acrylic paint, marker and rhinestones on canvas, 50 x 50xm

I really like this piece, partly because I got to go crazy with rhinestones, and partly because I got to doodle to my heart’s content:


It features girls, boys, robots, squirrels, insects, cats, birds, and even some amoebae for good measure.

If you’d like to hang this on your wall, all you need to do is drop me an email.