To Santa Fe and back

This trip had been loosely planned for a year.  I mean we all registered on the last day of PACE 17 when we hear it would be in Santa Fe.  Other than that, we waited until January to book flights and the hotel room for the trip home. And maybe just maybe, we should have really scrutinized the schedule first.  Who has time to be that planful?


On the road again

Two friends and i planned to meet at the airport in Albuquerque, rent a car (really really expensive) and drive to Santa Fe. I Googled the satellite maps to look at the roads to mentally prepare me for the drive.  And although I thought I was ready - but absolutely noting can prepare you for that type of traffic - unless you live in San Francisco, maybe... The car agency rental person warned be, but frankly I thought it was a ploy to sell more insurance.  They spoke of inebriated drivers, reckless drivers and crazy drivers.

We persevered and make it safely to our destination.  Only, I speak in kilometres not in miles.  Jeepers creepers the drive was a lot longer than I anticipated- and the resort was off the beaten track in a place called Buffalo Thunder.  The resort was wonderful.   Only there was nothing else in the general proximity other than a couple more casinos.  No grocery stores.  No place to shop. 

Santa Fe.jpg

The PACE 18  sessions were amazing.  Brienne Brown.  Barbara Tapp. Cindy Baron. And so many more.  They talked of throwing the paint down with out a drawing (gasp) and maybe draw later (again gasp).  But being there to learn, I decided to throw away everything I thought I knew and try it. Well, it kinda sorta works.  With a lot more practice it may just really work.  Above are my attempts.

View from behind

PACE included paint outs in various locations including El Santuario de Chimayó.  While we were there the wind was quite strong to the point I decided that setting up my easel may be a bit risky.  I found a bench and noticed all the painters painting in front of me.  And I love sketching figures. Had a lot of fun with there.  And yes, there will be a painting soon!

Santa Fe Sketching.jpg

Cheers, until next time

I have a lot going on

I sure have a lot going on this time of the year.  In addition to preparing for next weekends Kings County Studio Tour, I also maintain the website for the Tour.  So I am double busy right about now. We are happy that the Lyndsay Armstrong-Media from the Telegraph Journal wrote a story that was published this past week

Still painting a lot.  Keeping up with my pledge to myself to create a small oil painting a week. You can see the progress below. Having to allow for some dry time between the layers of paint extends the time to complete  - but I currently have two on the easel and have a plan for the next one.  Just need to order in some more panels.

on the easel by Helen Shideler

KCST June 11th and 12th

The Kings County Studio Tour is coming up quickly - next weekend to be exact.  This is  the "Getting to know" post published for me 

Helen Shideler Canadian artist

What is your favourite time of day to work – are you an early bird or a night hawk?

It has been said that an hour in the morning is worth two in the afternoon.  I hear the crack of dawn and want to get up and at it

What would your dream project be?  If there were no restrictions with time or money, what would you create?

A series of large canvases with some in oils and some in acrylics.  Time is my biggest challenge trying to fit in all of my ideas – there is so much to do. I am never at a loss for inspiration.  Sometime I stress myself out trying to do too many things at once!

What is the one tool of your trade you would not be able to do without?

Well I have an art supplies addiction.  I love them all – so many possibilities, so much potential.  And then someone comes up with something new.  Oh my! Probably leaning towardswatercolors though.

Tell us about that one special piece of work that you would never part with and why? 

A poured transparent watercolor painting of a seagull in flight  "Coming in for a Landing".  I wanted to keep the foggy sky without the typical “legs” that pouring paint can create.  This was tricky and I was breathing funny throughout the painting.  But it worked.   Although this painting may look simple it was very difficult to execute on.  I am unsure most can appreciate the effort it took to create – so it is mine!

© Coming in for a Landing by Helen Shideler

How do you recharge your creative juices?

Sunshine. Go outside, take a walk, sit at a beach, look at the sky, watch it rain, watch it snow, bird watching, look at colours, garden.  Sit outside and breathe.

What would you do with a million dollars?

Honesty, first order a Hughes easel and then retire and travel with my husband.  There would be some sharing with our family and some charitable donations as well.

What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are creating?

It changes a lot but generally uplifting, fun and no too loud

If you had a superpowerwhat would it be and why?

Probably fly.  When I was a child I used to have a recurring dream that I would be running and then take off and fly.  In these dreams I was really soaring and swooping.  They were glorious dreams.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Yes, on apple crisp please

So much to do getting ready for the KCST

Omigoodness.  I have so much to do. The Kings County Studio Tour is only two weeks away!  I am still painting away and hope to have a number of smaller works available.

 Kings County Studio Tour 2016

Kings County Studio Tour 2016

I am excited and a bit worried.  A bit of a conundrum.  You see the town has dug up my street. The Pettingill Road is currently only accessible from the bottom end.  The construction is schedule to be completed on Friday, June 10th - the studio tour is the next day.  Omigoodness - I hope they finish up on time.  Fingers crossed

My studio is #6 this year.  I hope to see you.  I have many small paintings available as well as larger paintings.  And I have a freshly printed assortment of fine art new cards.  I spent much of the day folding them!

 KCST 2016 Map

KCST 2016 Map

KCST 2016 Brochure

Plein Air in Arizona

I have just returned from the Plein Air Conference and Expo (PACE 16) in Tucson Arizona! And what a wonderful experience it was.  I will be creating a few posts on this experience I am sure. There was so much to do and to take in.  


I met up with a few friends there Jane Hagen Freeman and Marilyn Wear.  Marilyn was a prize winner - was so exciting to be there to see her win!  We attended many daily sessions for interest and to help us hone our plein air skills.  I also met up with Poppy Balser from Nova Scotia!

Shideler Plein Air Arizona 2016

It was so hot there that my watercolours kept drying on the palette before I could get the paint to paper.  I persevered and managed to complete three sketches.  One of the most important lessons was the importance of first completing a value sketch to help plan your work.  We herd this a lot and frankly, you cannot hear it enough if you do not do this step.

I dod not keep all my value sketches for some reason as I quite liked them.  Below are a few of the ones that made it safely home.  The sketch on the bottom was be being distracted in one of the sessions - I love to sketch groups of people.

Sketches by Helen Shideler

And we got to visit with some pretty amazing artists

Marilyn, Jane and I with Frank Ebert
Thats me with Georgia Manseur




Demo Poured Painting Colours of Autumn

Yesterday was such a nice day.  I had the opportunity to paint at the Hooper's Studio in Hampton with some really great folks.  This is the kick off weekend for their Small Works Show and they invited a number of us to participate.

I worked on a demo poured painting piece.  The first photo is the painting with all the layers of masking compound still on. 

The finished painting is below.  As this was a demo, I had to take some "short cuts" to try to get it done in a day.  Typically I prefer to pour one colour in a session.  For this piece I had to pour two and sometimes three colours in one session.  I liked the way the colours mingled on the wet paper but the paler washes were a bit overwhelmed by the deeper and/or brighter shades. I also had to use the hair dryer to speed up the mask and pours.  Week.  I never like to use a hairdryer with masking.  Oh well.

Autumn Colours by Helen Shideler

Once I removed the mask I went in and enhance the painting with a few strategic washes and a bit of detail brushwork.  Overall I am quite happy with the outcome.  This is an 8 x 10 Painting matted in an archival mat and in a cello envelope.  It is available on my web site.

 yours truly, Joe Pach, Mary Kay O'Brien, David MacKay

yours truly, Joe Pach, Mary Kay O'Brien, David MacKay

Entry into the CSPWC Open Water National Show 2015

Pretty excited and happy to have been selected to participate it the CSPWC 90th Annual National Open Water Show this year in Halifax at the Nova Scotia Archives. 

I recently embarked on a project to paint ravens.  When at Yellowstone National Park last fall there were a number of particularly friendly ravens in the parking lot at Artist’s Point.   They were walking around the travel trailers looking for hand-outs and cawing their hearts out.  One raven in particular was following me around and without being intrusive, I was able to get many really nice reference photos.  I was literally on my knees looking him in the eye and chatting with him.

Call of the Raven

“Call of the Raven” was selected for the 2015 Show!  This painting was pretty meticulously rendered and painted – with each individual feather painted with controlled wet-in-wet layers.  I find the colouration of the raven fascinating – how it looks to be almost molded out of pewter and still have rich blue and purple iridescent notes.

These reference photos were the foundation for a number of paintings including “Call of the Raven”,  The “Sentry”, “A Look Back” and a number of smaller paintings.  My intention when I stated this project was with Open Water in mind.

Invitation to the show opening is below

Bloomin' Artists Day 1

Today was the perfect day for painting in gardens. At first I was a little nervous.  It had been raining pretty much all week. And today was overcast, a bit of a fallish nip in the air - I am sorry to say - perfect for blood sucking bugs weather.

The Leopard's Pad - en Plein Air by Helen Shideler

This 10 x 8 Painting took quite awhile to complete.  The air was heavy with moisture due to the heavy cloud cover.  Watercolour paper tends to absorb any moisture int the air making the layers of paint to take longer to dry.  Each of these lily pads took about 5-6 washes to complete.  Hence the amount of time.  Of course the little leopard frog moved away from me and I had to wander about the pond to get a look at its little face in order to finish up.

Particular Pansies - En Plein Air - by Helen Shideler

I have never seen pansies in this particular colour range previous to today.  So, I had to paint them. While painting in Rob and Jean Northrup's fabulous gardens, I was reminded about how interesting little no-see-ums are and how their bite burns! Crazy.  Such a painful bite from such a teeny tiny little bug!!!

Helga Lobb and Cheryl Crowley

And the best part of events like these you ask?  Why catching up with fellow artists and chatting as you work!   What a great day!