Helen Barker Painting

Category Archives: Inspiration

Tree-House dreams


Sam was walking through the woods one day when the long, blue legs that stretched out across the ground in front of her, moving with every step, suddenly grew even longer. She allowed her eyes to follow them…and watched as the legs stretched into poles that reached up into the sky. At the top of the long, leg-poles perched a wooden house. Squinting through the sun she edged towards it, breathing thinly through cold, stretched lips….

House in the woods, Trees, Forest, House, Woods, Sunlight, Adventure, Story, Imagine, Landscape, Centre Parcs

I  really want to paint a wooden house in the trees! Saw this on our holiday at Centre Parcs and it fired up my imagination. Today, while my daughter napped, I quickly sketched some trees/leaves and played with watercolour on canvas – which created a weird, pool-like surface allowing a dreamy feeling to emerge. Lots to be done on this but a fun start – no house yet but that’s next!  Just wanted to share it with you! 

Trees - watercolour on canvas, Painting, watercolour, canvas, abstract, imagine, landscape, woods, forest, dreams

Have you ever stayed in a house in the woods? 



2019 is officially here and so many of us are trying to set new goals so that we can be the best version of ourselves – the one that all the other years didn’t quite make happen.

Well, I don’t believe in new years resolutions because, to be honest, it just feels like I’m setting myself up to fail. But I DO believe in recovery, goals and change. And I believe these three things can REALLY make a DIFFERENCE to YOUR LIFE. These are the three things that I am going to be implementing in order to do what I want to do for a living (making art, selling art and sharing my insight with YOU) and, essentially, make my dreams come true. Exciting, right?

So I’m going to tell you what you can do to make your dreams come true.

This is how I have started to make a living doing what I LOVE.

Grab a cuppa and read on – you’re going to want to take a few minutes to soak this up.


Ok so the first thing you need to do in order to do what you truly love, whether that’s selling knitted tights and bobble hats or fishing for trout in southern France, is recover. Now I know what you’re thinking – I don’t need to recover, Helen. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m absolutely champion, thank you very much. To which I say:

No. You’re not. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but EVERYONE needs to go through a process of recovery before they start changing the way they live. And that’s what we’re talking about here: changing your life so you can do what you love and cut all the other junk out.

So what is recovery? It’s a process of healing, transformation, repair – whatever you call it it’s something that takes time but without which you will simply be dragging all your unwanted thoughts, negative vibes and unfocused energy along with you into your new venture. AND YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THAT. Trust me.

Recovery looks different for everyone. For me, it’s been a process of acceptance – accepting where I was in my life, that I was struggling, that I couldn’t be there for my family because I was run down, emotionally empty, suffering from post traumatic stress/post natal anxiety (more on this later) and generally unwell. I needed a plan – a recovery plan. And you do too, but yours will look different to mine. Yours might be a plan to recover from burnout, from anxiety, from simply not believing in yourself or your goals, from not believing you have the ability to do what you love. Maybe it’s simply recovery from the day to day slog of life. However big or small it seems, taking time out to recover is critical for prepping your body and mind and getting into a sort of ‘neutral’ gear that allows you to be open to the change that’s about to come your way.

Some great recovery methods are: journaling, talking therapy, yoga/activity/meditation, a course like the Artist’s Way or finding a personal life coach to help you realise your dreams.


You probably have heard this a million times but it’s a really big deal. If you want to do what you love, you need a goal. I’ll definitely write another blog post on this to break it down, but essentially you want to have short, mid and long term goals.

Short term goals

So if you want to make a living as a freelance artist selling prints of night time city scapes (Amazing idea. Thank you. You’re welcome) in the spare time you have between doing the school runs and entertaining the toddler (Go for it, you can do this – you SO CAN) you want to have a short term goal that reflects what you want to achieve in the next month – no more time than this. And it doesn’t need to be big. In fact is needs to not be big, it needs to be SMALL.

So maybe creating three or four prints that really represent who you are. Make this goal really achievable, that way when you have accomplished it you can really feel empowered and ready to step it up. Plus if you’re a Mum like me, you need to set realistic targets that allow you to balance your goals with looking after your little ones.

Mid term goals

Mid term goals are great for setting marketing strategies and targets. Things like updating your pretty defunct website which still has that picture of you in a boiler suit riding a ferris wheel you thought was so cool back in uni. Figuring out how many people you want to get to like your Facebook page, how many subscribers you want on your mailing list and how many products you can realistically make over the next six months.

Long term goals

Long term goals can be anywhere from 1-5 years depending on how fast your business changes and moves. Maybe you have a goal of how much income you want to be making in 1 year. Maybe you have a goal of how many paintings you want to have for sale. Maybe you can see what your business will look like in 5 years time. Make it ambitious but not outrageous. Visualise yourself achieving this goal and write it in your journal and on your calendar as if it’s happening – the same way your birthday is happening (however many people you don’t tell and however many numbers you knock off your age, it’s still your birthday on THAT day).


Now you’ve set your goals you need to make some changes. I could write a whole blog post on this (maybe I will!) but I’ll break it down a little for you.

If you’ve been through the recovery process and identified what areas you want to change then great! This step is basically a follow on from that. You’re pretty much going through recovery to set your goals and identify what you want to change in order to achieve them – and this is the bit where you do the change. Woop!

For example, maybe you’ve identified that you need a place to work, more hours to work, a bigger network and a better website. So now you can start making that happen. Write your changes on a board and pin them above your desk. These things might not happen right away. Maybe you need funding, or a larger house – something that seems impossible right now. But I promise you CAN make this happen – it just requires a change of the biggest kind – a change in YOU.

Example – is there someone who can offer you some tech support in return for a few hours gardening (time sharing/skill swapping is a great option that could get you that new website). Do you need to spend some serious time visualising your bigger office space? Maybe you need to set your target sales higher, look at your prices, get an extra day to work – and stop thinking you don’t deserve to be happy?