Helena Wagenaar grew up in the Paarl where she took art as a subject at school under tuition of the late great Dawid Botha. After school she did not know what to do and followed a course in nursing, where she specialized in Intensive Care Nursing. After 25 years she moved to the Eastern Cape where she met and married a cattle farmer.
Her home is in a world close to nothing and far from everything, with grasslands and the surrounding low lying Stormberg. It was the isolation of this world that inspired her to take up her passion of painting again. The themes in her artwork revolves mostly around childhood memories, experiences and encounters with the locals. She likes painting women in all the facet’s of their lives in bold colors and simple lines. Except for her desolate surroundings, she is also greatly inspired by the works of Eleanor Esmonde White en Paul Cezanne.