Paintings by Hellen

~~ Fine Art Gourds & More ~~

Southwest ~ Native American Indian Inspired ~ Wildlife ~ Western
Faux Leather Tooling ~ Pyrography Woodburning ~ Power Carving
 Pine Needle Coiling ~  Closed Coiling ~ Antlers ~ Acrylic Painting
  Colored Pencil Painting ~ Metal Coating & Patinas ~ Baskets
 Instructional Gourd Books ~ Gourd Classes ~ Gourd Retreats 

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Chandler, TX
email:  [email protected] (Note the 2 'm' s) 
Private Lessons ~  Retreats ~ Classes
Contact Us

I give private lessons in my home outside of Chandler, TX, for one or two people at a time.  Since I'm home all day, teaching either on the weekend or during the week isn't a problem UNLESS I already have an event scheduled.  

By taking private lessons, you actually learn faster because you are getting one-on-one attention.  Lessons are based upon each students ability.  Remember .... you have to crawl before you run!  Since most students use my supplies for a minimum fee, they find out if they like a product before spending their hard earned money for something they may or may not like.

If there is something special you want to do in a class, please let me know.  I do ask that you let me make the decision if you actually have the experience to do that project. 

Hellen has opened her home to students. You can also drive to her home the night before your class, have your class the next, stay again with her, and drive home the next day.  You can even bring up to 3 gourd friends. The fee is extremely fair and far less than you getting a hotel, driving, and purchasing you food in a restaurant.  PLUS, we have fun!!!!  

​If you interested in taking private lessons and/or stay  in Hellen's home, please email ... [email protected] ... or call (817-907-3320) her.

"I am so thrilled to have found Hellen Martin.  She is the nicest lady in the whole world and an awesome artist and teacher.  She has a great personality and makes learning fun and easy.  She has become a great friend and learning from her is really cool.  She does things right and doesn't take any shortcuts.  Her work is so beautiful."
.......... Brenda Knight Styron, Texas

"I've taken five private lessons from Hellen of various techniques.  Lord, that woman has the patience of Job.  I asked her ton of questions, and she answered everyone of them.  She is extremely fair about her private lessons.  Frankly, I told her she was too cheap for her experience.  She said she wasn't looking to drain someone's pocketbook.  She enjoyed teaching and watching people learn.  
​.......... Tammy McDuff, Oklahoma

"I want to formally thank you for teaching me the technique of faux leather tooling. My gourd "For Linda" took first place in its category in the Master Division in the Arizona Gourd Society competition this weekend .... if it hadn't been for you, I never would have achieved it."
........... Sioux Westberry-Kaufman, California

" Two days with Hellen's private powerhouse instructions on carving (Leaves with two burs and no sanding, and Chisel Carved a vase) was a real treat.  In the two days I have observed, hands-on experience, and learned techniques that will enhance my ability to bring out the impressions on the gourd that my mind's eye sees and cries to be on the gourd.  The instructional books in conjunction with the classes are very detailed.  The warm hospitality from both Hellen and her husband, Barry, made the two days end way to soon.  I have now taken four sessions with Hellen, and I am sure I will take more in the near future.
........... Gloria Drab, Texas   

" Wayne and I want to thank you for such a fun and productive day!  We feel blessed to have had your full attenion and knowledge all to ourselves!  The 'Hellen Martin Christmas Gift Certificate' from our children gave new meaning to Christmas in July!  It was such a surprise to us, and we loved the idea!  Thank you so much for the use of your home and your personal attention in our gourd work.  We can hardly wait till next Christmas and hope they give us another day with you!  Thank you again for all your help."
........... Wayne and Becky Sherman, Texas    
Private Lessons
Gourd Retreats 
Schedule One at Your location OR at My Home

Email:  [email protected]          Phone:  817-907-3320
At My Home Outside of Chandler, TX (12 miles west of Tyler) :  If you are interested getting a group and scheduling a retreat at my home, please call or email me.
At Your Location:  Give me a call or email me to discuss.
Special Note

How many times have you taken a class and not been able to work on it for six months?  When you reviewed your information from the class, it wasn't enough information to complete your project.  I wanted my students to "get their money" worth so decided to write detail tutorials with photos and illustrations for my Retreats and Classes.  Private lessons may or may not have a booklet since they may request a special project.  They will receive a tutuorial for basics of what they are learning.  
Gourd Classes Presently Offered 

As with ALL classes, time spent on the project depends on the ability of each student.  
The following are just an example of classes.  If you have a special request, I will be happy to work with you.

Private Lessons:  Students may use my power carvers and woodburner.  Students will be charged a minimum fee for using other supplies for their class.
Woodburn - Faux Western Tooling

Skill Level:  Beginner to Intermediate.  

Description:  Hellen will review the basics for woodburning before students start working on their gourds. Students will learn how to:  (1) shade for depth   (2) add dyes for color   (3) carve and color inside the design that makes the piece pop  (4) adding special techniques to give your piece a 3-D look   (5) technique to set the design into the gourd.  (6) countersink the rivet.   
Pine Needle Coiling

NOTE:  The photos are just examples of Hellen's pine needle coiling.  View other pieces on this page for additional examples of pine needle coiling.

Skill Level:  Beginner to Advance 

Description:  Each group wants their own type of coiling so I don't really have a photo of a class project.  A class can include attaching antlers and/or beads.  Free-style coiling can also be taught to a class that has some experience with coiling.
Closed Coiling

NOTE:  The photos are examples of Hellen's Closed Coiling.  

Skill Level:  All Levels
NOTE:  Closed Coiling is very time consuming.  Many times it depends on the size of the gourd.

Description:  Every class wants a different design so there isn't a "class project."  You will learn how to:  (1)  add various colors   (2)  have your coils tight   (3)  finish where the top is even  (4) have a professional look.
 Industrial Metal Coating with Various Patinas and Lite Carving

Skill Level:  All Levels

NOTE:  The metal coating and patinas are very sensitive to weather, cold, and heat. I will only teach them in a closed building or a private lesson.  Pine needle coiling will be taught upon request.

Description:  These products are environmentally safe and clean up with soap and water. This is an easy and fun class.   You will learn how to:   (1) draw the Southwest mountains   (2) carve the outline of the mountains   (3) apply the metal coatings to get a unique look   (4)  apply patinas to accent the piece.    
The designs within this web site are original designs of Hellen Martin.  
Under NO circumstances may they be used or reproduced in any form.
Paintings by Hellen ® Chandler,TX 75758
Colored Pencil for a Painted Look

Skill Level:  All Levels

NOTE:  Hellen was honored when the American Gourd Society asked her to write the Competiton Guidelines for Painting and Colored Pencils.  

DESCRIPTION:  These pieces were designed to use a minimum number of colored pencils. You will learn how to: (1) apply the product that adheres the pencils to the gourd,  (2) applying layers that are unique to colored pencils,   (3) blending. (4) giving your piece the appearance of being painted.

Since this is class focuses on learning how to use colored pencils, the red and black areas will not be done unless requested.  The same refers to the pine needle coiling
Texture, Industrial Metal Coating with  Patina(s), 
Texture &  Pine Needle Coiling (optional)

Skill Level:  All Levels
NOTE:  This project takes all day.

NOTE:  The metal coating and patinas are very sensitive to weather, cold, and heat.  I will only teach them in a closed building or a private lesson.   Pine needle coiling isn't taught unless requested.  

Description:  These products are environmentally safe and clean up with soap and water.  It's a fairly easy technique and fun to do.   This technique has unlimited possibilities.  Every piece will be different.  You will learn how to:      
 (1)  apply the texture   (2) apply the metal coating   (3) apply the patina(s) in various techniques.  (4) learn the special techniques to follow for these products.  
Example of Texture

Skill Level:  All Levels

This is a great class for beginners and individuals who want to learn simple relief carving, cutting out the leaves without a saw, and  how to use ink dyes.

The leaves were cut out with Welburn's Fili-Point Bur and colored with their ink dyes.  Imagine being able to not use a saw all the time.  

The skin of the gourd on the leaves weren't all removed.  Therefore, a special technique Hellen developed will allow you to paint the leaves wth other products.

Artist in Private Class,
Becky McClain,
She designed her gourd.
Class Project #3
Judy Absher worked on this piece during a private lesson.  She finished it at home.  EXCELLENT JOB!
Class Project #4
Class Project #2
TOP of Class Project
    SIDE of Class Project
Class Project
Class Project #2
Class Project #1
without the
pine needle coiling
~ Carved Leaves with 2 Burs ~  
Option 1: Textured Look - NO Sanding
Option 2: Smoother Look - Light Sanding
Class Project #1
Class Project #2
This took 40 hours to do and it isn't a class project.
The design on the left are a good basic design to learn first.  It would take 6-7 hours.  One even better is a three row "open cross" that takes about 5-6  hours.
Comments from Just a Few of My Students
Class Project #1
~ Carved Leaves with Ink Dyes ~
Skill Level:  All Levels

Don't know how to do "relief carving"  Well, this class will teach you the basics.  Hellen will explain the steps for to further levels of relief carving. 

The photos had texture applied to the leaves with one bur.  Maybe you would like smoother leaves.  Hellen will show you how to accomplish that step.

[email protected]
Note the 2 'm's
Transparent Inks, Transparent Acrylics
and a Few Surprises

Skill Level:  All Levels

​NOTE:  ​Project 1 and 2 will be lightly woodburned before color is applied.

Project 1:  You will learn a new technique of using Transparent Inks and Acrylics plus a few surprises to get an opaque look and texture.  

Project 2:  You will use a more traditional method of  the Transparent Inks and Acrylics with a few surprises to get a softer look.

Project 3:  The pattern is detailed woodburned. 

Project 1
Project 2
Project 3
Let's Paint a Rooster

Skill Level:  Beginners, but anyone can take the class

NOTE:  Hellen was honored when the American Gourd Society asked her to write the Competiton Guidelines for Painting and Colored Pencils.  

DESCRIPTION:  You will learn the basics of painting:  1)  Smoothly paint your project  2)  Shading  3)  Highlighting  and 4)  Blending over another color

You will be able to take what you learn from this class and apply to all your painting projects.  

NOTE:  Weaving the top is not part of this class.  It can be taught but will be a separate. 
Class Project #5