John Waddingham, Helen Van Den Berg, and Jean Day

were three siblings who were all artists. They were professional calligraphers, display artists, illustrators and fine artists, using watercolor and oils equally with ease. John was born in 1915 in London, England amidst the WWI London Blitz and both Helen and Jean were born in the northern part of India. Helen in the west in Mussoorie, the “Queen of the Hills” up in the Kashmir region close to the Himalayas and Jean in the east, in Shillong Assam “The Scotland of the East” in the tea country the foothills of the Himalayas. The family returned to England after Grandfather’s 19 years with the British Army and the family eventually settled in Portland, Oregon. There the three budding artists grew up and went to work in their teens supporting the family during WWII, doing watercolor portraits of British soldiers in local hospitals as part of the war aide.


Uncle John Wadd painting

John Waddingham

Portrait-self, by John Waddingham, 1946, watercolor, 21.5 x 17 inches

Portrait-self, by John Waddingham, 1946, watercolor, 21.5 x 17



During this time a newspaper journalist came out to the two sisters Studio in their home to interview the “Two Pixie Artists” – it was noted they had painted their studio ceiling a Magenta Pink and all who entered were to autograph the ceiling!
The three siblings attended the Portland Art Museum and later John worked as a graphic artists journalist for the Portland Oregonian until retirement. Helen worked for department stores in Advertising in Seattle, Portland, Spokane and San Francisco. Jean did likewise but married and with her husband and 4 small children moved to sunny California settling in the San Francisco Bay Area where Helen and her husband and baby son followed a year later.



Helen Van Den Berg

The sisters remained close in their lifestyle, interests and artistic endeavors, taking figure and portrait painting classes together with Peter Blos of Munich, Germany at the Walnut Creek Civic Arts Education for many years and later exhibiting with the Oakland Art Association, the Society of Western Artists and East Bay Artists. Jean taught classes in calligraphy and Animal Painting to adults. Jean and her daughter Debby had many Mother & Daughter exhibits together, and both Jean and Helen wrote and illustrated cookbooks and dozens of children’s books. The QUAKE story is one such collaboration of Helen and Debby.



Mummy as a young artist