Binns guides others on their artistic journey

NANAIMO - Annual Art Show and Sale features work by participants from city art classes.

Art has been a part of Helen O. Binns’ life from an early age.

“I’ve been exposed to art since I could walk,” she said.

Each time she creates, the piece is different.

“I get lost in it. It depends what I am drawing or painting,” said Binns. “With watercolours I end up exploring. I enjoy doing it. I feel better after it … I am amazed at what comes out.”

Although she has a bachelor of science in chemistry she has always been drawn to artistic mediums to express herself. She creates watercolour paintings and graphite drawings.

While living in Winnipeg she took art classes. When she moved to Calgary a friend saw Binns’ abilities and encouraged her to teach. When she moved to Nanaimo in 2005 she started teaching for parks, recreation and culture.

A five-month trek across the globe to explore the different artistic styles in England, Moscow, Thailand, New Zealand and Fiji also inspired some of her art classes. In each country she worked on paintings and said the style of work she created in each area is very different.

“In every country, even though I used the same palette, it was very different from the paintings produced, different colours – I was definitely affected by the weather. England is a lot of greens,” she said.

Binns instructs a number of classes this spring and summer including drawing, watercolour classes for beginners and intermediate levels, and West Meets East, a class that introduces techniques used by Eastern artists such as Lien Zhen and Andy Loo. Binns has also been an instructor for Arts Alive and some of her pieces will be on display at the Nanaimo Harbourfront library in May.

There are many established artists who take some of the intermediate courses to access studio space and connect to other artists. Although abilities can vary Binns can still help guide artists in different directions regardless of their experience level. Binns said it’s because of her coaching background, having taught different sport courses over the years.

People can see a wide variety of artistic styles during the upcoming Fourth Annual Culture Art Show and Sale on March 24, noon to 3 p.m., at the Beban Park Social Centre. The event features the work of people from the city’s adult art classes. Harpist Kirsty MacDonald will also play during the event.

During the event Binns will lead a demonstration from 12:30-1:15 p.m. Artist Marilyn Ridsdale will lead a demonstration 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Each artist involved in the show and sale will have a booth where they can sell their artwork. All sales are between the artist and customer. People who have taken an art class through the city are invited to participate in the show by contacting by March 18.

For more information about the show or upcoming classes please call 250-756-5200 or  go to

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read