Kristen Helberg - Paintings, Murals, and Vinegar Grained Boxes

Kristin Helberg

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 42nd year

kristin helberg
Vinegar grained boxes

Vinegar grained boxes

Come and find me in the main Exhibition Hall, B32  at the 42nd annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I will be showing over a hundred painted and vinegar grained boxes.

This fabulous FREE event is held at the Howard County Fairgrounds on May 2nd and May 3rd. Times are 9 to 6 on Saturday and 9 to 5 on Sunday.  Because traffic is so heavy on Saturday mornings, I would suggest coming later on Saturday or all day on Sunday,.

There are over 250 vendors, workshops for fiber arts, gourmet food, music as well as lifestock shows and sheep dog trials.  You will have to leave your dog at home for this event. 

For more information about the event go to  

Raoul Middleman Art Show

kristin helberg
Raoul Middleman

Raoul Middleman

Raol Middleman, the famed Baltimore artist, celebrated his 80th birthday on April 17th with a cake, a jazz band and 193 of his paintings and drawings at a show entitled, Raol Middleman's Romantic Expressionism.  

The show which will be on display from April 10 to August 30th 2015, is in the Museum complex at the University of Maryland  in College Park, Maryland.

The show is a wide representation of Middleman's paintings  showing Baltimore city scapes  and  portraits as well as ink and charcoal drawings.


The anniversary of the Lincoln assassination

kristin helberg

Lincoln c Kristin Helberg 2013

Abraham Lincoln is one of America's truly tragic figures.  A philosopher by nature, he had a moral struggle with the issues that divided the North and the South.  His own home was in conflict by the war since his wife had southern relatives and they had to be snuck into the White House for family visits.

Both he and Mary Todd LIncoln suffered from depression over the years. They lost their dear son to sickness and had to constantly deal with the stress of the war. And just when the country had ended the great Civil war and the Lincolns both had hope in their hearts again, he was struck down on April 14th and died on April 15th.

I had to paint those sad and wise eyes: the man was a craggy tree against the storm. 

Elaine De Kooning portraits


John F. Kennedy c Elaine de Kooning 1963 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

I attended the opening event for the Elaine De Kooning Portraits show last night at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.     This wonderful show of portraits by Elaine De Kooning, includes her famous series of works on President Kennedy and many paintings that have never been on public display for many years.

Kudos to Brandon Fame Fortune, who curated the show.   She managed to track down paintings that are in private collections and established a group known as Elaine's List, that is comprised of collector's of De Kooning's artwork as well as those who knew the artist.  All in Elaine's List were in attendance last night to celebrate the grand opening.

Maybe now, Elaine De Kooning will be finally recognized for her own genius ,rather than always being outweighed by that of her famous husband.

Fish Out of Water


Cone Fish  

Back in 2001, I was sponsored by Credit Suisse First Boston,  to paint one of the fish for the Fish Out Of Water project in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore City.    The fish were made of fiberglass and measured 6' x 3'.   Fifty of the fish were then chosen for an auction at the Walters Art Gallery to benefit Baltimore City Schools.  Cone fish was sold at auction for $22,500.

I chose two images by Matisse, one of which was Purple Robe and Anemones, a painting that had been purchased by the Cone Sisters of Baltimore.  The Cone sisters were friends of Gertrude Stein and she introduced them to many of the artists in Paris at the time.  Upon their death, the Cone art collection was donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Cone Fish lived outside for 13 years and needed a facelift, so the owner contacted me and I spent November/December on the renovation process.  I had to sand down the fish, patch and prime it before I could begin to paint it again.  Working with photos of the original Cone Fish and Matisse's images,  I was able to bring the fish back to life.

Here is Cone Fish on my couch, waiting to be delivered the last week in December.

The back showing Matisse's paper cut designs.

Holly Fest at the Baltimore Friends School


Polar Bear Chest  

Polar Bear Chest by Kristin Helberg

Come join us at the 29th annual Holly Fest and Artisan Market at the Baltimore Friends School on November 22nd from 10 am to 4 pm.

The school is located at 5114 N. Charles Street, Baltimore,MD. 21210 in the heart of the beautiful Roland Park area of the city.  I will have a booth there featuring my painted and grained boxes and chests as well as smaller paintings and cards.  Come and enjoy the beauty of the season with us.

St. James Academy Show



Painted and Grained Baltimore Oriole Boxes

Come join me at the annual Christmas Shoppe and Café at St. James Academy in Monkton, Maryland.  I will be showing a new collection of painted boxes and small paintings and prints at this event.   The event is Friday November 7th from 10 AM to 8 PM and  Saturday, November 8th from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Come for a drive in beautiful horse country.   St. James Academy, 3100 Monkton Road, Monkton, MD. 21111  (410) 771-4816. There is a $3.00 admission fee to benefit the school.

Harriet Tubman


The Safe House  Kristin Helberg 2012  acrylics on canvas  - Copy

The Safe House c Kristin Helberg 2012

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired my painting The Safe House, to become part of their permanent Harriet Tubman collection.  It is currently on display in the museum which is located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor on Pratt street.

The 24" x 36" canvas depicts slaves making their way to one of the Underground Railroad "safe houses" that were operated by the Quakers in their farms in the Darlington, MD. area.  Although most escapes were attempted in the summer, those who left in late fall had to overcome early snowstorms and frigid temperatures.

Find out more about this wonderful museum at  The museum is located at 830 East Pratt Street and their phone is  443-263-1800.

Vinegar Graining Class


2013-07-05 16.46.32-2 (644x753) Come to beautiful McDaniel College in Westminster,MD for Traditions Week and learn the secrets of Early American vinegar graining. The class is every morning from 9 to noon from June 30th to July 4th. During the week, students will learn the mixing formulas for vinegar paint, wood preparation, texturing techniques and use of graining tools as well as proper finishing varnish. Each student will have created a small grained box and a faux marble mirror to take home and the knowledge they will need to create larger pieces.

Traditions Week is part of the wonderful Common Ground on the Hill program which is now in its 20th year. This is an amazing Chautauqua experience where you can take music, dance, and art classes as well as dabble in film and writing. Call (410) 857-2771 at Common Ground on the Hill to register.

Carolina Wren Chest


Carolina Wren Chest 8.7w x 7 h x 5.4 d

Carolina Wren Chest with vinegar grained panel

Spring really is just around the corner.  It is hard to imagine when we have a snow or ice storm every week right now.  But the first day of Spring is March 20th ,so there is hope.  I have even seen some hopeful Robins on the tree branches here in Baltimore City.  I have no idea how they stay warm or where they sleep at night when it is 4 degrees.

This little chest was inspired by the cheerful little wrens that always make me feel so happy.  Maybe it would make a nice gift for someone that you want to make happy.  It is 8 1/2" w  x  5" d  x  6 3/4"h and the perfect size to hold jewelry or those little items that clutter the desk around your computer.   Hand painted scene on top and vinegar grained panel on the front.  Each one is unique and painted by me.    $68.00

Alien Antelope


Alien Antelope

Alien Antelope

Who is this creature?  Is he indeed an Alien Antelope?  He is part of a series of sculptures that I have been creating secretly since 2004.  Although I enjoy this vacation from paintings and decorative boxes, some of my collectors find it an odd choice for me.

Using bones, acrylics and wood, I have been discovering some wonderful new images.  If you are interested in Alien Antelope you can contact me at


Bone Sculptures


Bone sculpture I have been working on a series of  sculptures using bones, acrylic paint, and wood.    I began this series in 2004 and the style is very different than my painting style.  I am just now releasing images of the sculptures on my website and on the website of the Baker Artist Awards.

For more information about Ancestor, please contact me at





Sleepy Hollow


Sleepy Hollow Box painted by Kristin Helberg

The perfect jewelry box for someone who is enchanted by the Sleepy Hollow story.   Or maybe it could sit on a desk next to your computer to hold little office supplies.    This sturdy wooden box measuring 8 1/2"  Wide x 5 1/4" Deep x  4 1/2"" High has a hand painted scene on the top and a smaller panel below that is vinegar- grained.   I paint each box individually so no two are exactly alike.

Contact me at to order this box.   I would need your street address and zip code to calculate shipping and delivery date.   The box is $60.00 and if I ship to a Maryland address I have to add sales tax.  I sell through Paypal and the Square.

Owl Chest


Owl Chest, hand painted by Kristin Helberg

The perfect present for someone who just loves owls.  This little chest measures 11" wide x 6 1/2" deep x 6 1/4 " high.  It  would be perfect to use as a jewelry box or perhaps on a computer table to hold all the office things you might need.   The scene of the owl in the moonlight is hand painted with artist acrylic and then varnished.  The front panel has been vinegar grained in the Early American style and then varnished.

 This owl chest is $70.00.  Send me your address and zip code so I can calculate mailing charges.  If you are a Maryland resident I will have to charge you 6% tax.   This chest is one of a kind.  I can do others but they will be slightly different.  I always send out a photo of the exact chest you would be purchasing.     Send email to

Visiting Artisan at Colonial Williamsburg



Since 2010, I have been a visiting artisan at Colonial Williamsburg.  I set up a table in the old kitchen of the St. George Tucker house and for two or three hours, I demonstrate the Early American techinique of Vinegar Graining.

This past Sunday, November 17th, I demonstrated graining on small frames and jewelry boxes, showing many of the color combinations for graining.

For more information about my fraktur and grained boxes, plesase visit my website at

Chevy Chase Womens Club Show


Hand painted and grained boxes by Kristin Helberg

Please come and see me this Saturday, November 9th at the Artisan Show at the Chevy Chase Women's Club located at 7931 Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD 20815.   There is plenty of parking behind the club house.

Over 40 vendors will be there selling handmade arts, crafts and foods.  The show is from 10 to 5 pm.

I will have a wide variety of painted and vinegar grained boxes and small chests for sale as well as framed prints and mirrors.  Come and do your holiday shopping.   See you there.

 For more info call the club at (301) 652-8480. 

Waterford 2013


Kristin Helberg at the 2013 Waterford Fair


The town of Waterford, Virginia once again welcomed over 150 American artisans and thousands of visitors for the  70th annual Waterford Fair on October 4th, 5th and 6th.

For three days, the towns inhabitants, park their cars in nearby fields so that attendees can stroll through the town and imagine what life must have been like 200 years ago.  Hundreds of volunteers direct traffic, sell tickets, work in the town food booths and even provide lodging for some of the visiting artisans.

It is truly an honor to be part of such a lovely event.




Harriet Tubman


When I heard about the call for entries for Harriet Tubman tribute show at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum here in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, I decided that I wanted to create a portrait of Ms. Tubman. It is difficult to create an image of such an American Icon and make the person seem real.  I wanted to create a painting that would feel more emotional and personal.  I wanted to show her solitary life.  How she truly was alone as she led slaves north and had to depend on her wits, knowledge of the land and a spirit that would not bend.

As a child, visiting my grandmother in upstate New York, we would often go to Auburn, New York which was where  my grandmother was born and her father had a small dairy.    It is also where Harriet Tubman bought land and built a house and small farm for her parents as she led them north to freedom.  I recall seeing the little run down log cabin .  At that time there was no money to renovate the historical building.  But the image of her little farm and the stories my mother told me about her stayed with me.

Harriet Tubman retired to her farm with her second husband who was 20 years younger than she was and the teenaged girl she adopted.  She lived out her days there and died in Auburn in 1913,

My grandmother would have been 13 when Harriet Tubman died.  I wish I had asked her if she ever met her or saw her around the town of Auburn.

The Reginald Lewis Museum received so many portraits of Ms. Tubman that they chose another painting that I did called Safe House which depicts runaway slaves making their way through the snow on a winter's evening to a Quaker safe house . That show is up until March of 2014 and you can find out more about the museum by visiting their website at .

To find out more about my  Harriet Tubman painting, you can contact me through my website at

Go Down Moses c Kristin Helberg 2013

Nantucket Folk Art Show


I am packing the van and heading to Nantucket for the Folk Art and Artisans Show from July 19th through the 21st.  It is held at Bartlett's Farm on the beautiful island of Nantucket. Come up and take the ferry from Hyannis and see all the wonderful art and artisan work on display and help benefit the Small Friends School on Nantucket.   The show is open from 9:30 to 6 on Friday and Saturday and 9:30 to 3 on Sunday.  There is a special preview party on Thursday evening from 6 to 9 with more expensive tickets that benefit the school   For more about the show you can contact

I have been painting plenty of whales and whaling paintings.  Come and join the fun.

Early American Folk Art boxes by Kristin Helberg