Helen Barbara Howard was born in Long Branch, Ontario in 1926. She studied at the Ontario College of Art graduating in 1951.
Howard taught art classes in Toronto until 1953, when she moved to London, England, where she studied at Saint Martin's School of Art. During this time she also travelled Europe.
Later in life Howard moved to Port Hope, Ontario with her husband. Shortly after she died unexpectedly in hospital in 2002 in Peterborough Ontario.
Howard was not only a painter, but a wood engraver, draughtsperson, bookbinder and designer.
Howard's work is represented in many permanent collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the British Library, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England and The Library of Congress in Washington.
Her work also hangs in private, public and corporate collections in Canada, England and the United States.
In 1975 , Howard was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.