Repairing the Rigging and some really good news

This past summer the Tall Ships visited Saint John as part of Canada's 150 Birthday celebrations.  It was a magical, majestic site and made you proud to live here.  I was completely fascinated by the people who were "Repairing the Rigging".  I mean they appear to have absolutely no fear of heights!

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I, on the other hand, found myself to be on the bring of dizziness just photographing them.  Vertigo! But I was still able to be quite strategic as I lined up my shots.  I loved all the lines from the cranes across the harbour to the rigging on the ships.  As I lined up the angles for my reference shots, I was envisioning this as a poured watercolour painting.

After the first bit of masking was applied, I quickly realized there was no additional opportunity to apply masking.  One application did the trick.

A new toy

I recently saw this exciting tool advertised in Curry's newsletter a new high precision masking fluid marker by Pebeo.  Well then, I had to order two.  Sort of love it.  It comes with an extra bit as well, unsure why but I am sure it will be revealed to me as I use it.  Unable to get quite the fine lines I was hoping for - I used to create my signature int the painting above.

And some good news

Dear Helen

On behalf of the SCA, it is my pleasure to inform you that your application for Elected Membership into the Society of Canadian Artists has been successful. Congratulations!

As an Elected Member you may use prestigious 'SCA' designation after your name, participate in the annual members’ exhibition and qualify for society awards. As well, you will receive the SCA newsletter featuring articles by members, listing calls for artists, contests, and local and regional art events, delivered to your inbox three times annually. You will also receive invitations to Society Exhibitions and other events.

Now I will be signing my paintings with SCA as well!  Very excited!

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A good cause

I have been asked to participate in a fund raiser for a really good cause in Saint John for P.R.O. Kids. This group provides assistance for kids in need of support to play sports, recreational, art and cultural activities.  Uncertain for certain - but do you see children playing on a beach in that window?

Cheers, until next time

Helen

 

Mystic Blues

Every now and then I complete a painting that takes me by surprise when I catch a glimpse of it.  This has happened!  It may be just be the sheer size of this one - Mystic Blues is the largest painting that I have completed so far.  I am really hoping that it captures a sense of romance with the subtle varieties of blues and pinks. Sigh!  Works for me!

Mystic Blues by Helen Shideler

Blue so blue so soft

So I must admit I am a bit obsessed with blue hydrangea and blue flowers, and well, soft blues. I love the softness of the flowers with their subtle colour variations and the overall emotion that blue flowers evoke.  As a child I remember how the wild flax flowers that grew on the side of the road in Cape Breton literally took my breath away.  I would run across the road to marvel at them.  Completely fascinated with the colour.  Turquoise is still one of my favourite colours - I have many.

Paint repeat paint repeat paint....

And so, wondering what one of my next paintings will be?  You got it, yet another hydrangea.   I plan to start a poured watercolour in the near future.  Then I may have finally exhaust my blue hydrangea obsession.  Here is the plan - a full sheet.  Does anyone out there have any patience pills? Or a gallon of masking compound? Or a large bottle of white wine?  

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Time for a quick change

After painting all those blues, I wanted to paint something relatively quick as I leave tomorrow for a long short trip to San Diego, (I am on the East Coast of Canada), and did not want to start another major piece.  Beach Buddies was a joy to paint.  Fun and happy colours of summer.  Bringing back memories of a wonderful family vacation last year on Prince Edward Island.  Absolutely one of my all time favourite places in the world! 

Beach Buddies by Helen Shideler

Time to catch up

This weekend was all about plein air painting in Hampton at the John Peters Humphrey Bloomin Artists event.  This really is a catch up post.  I have been working on a few secret commissions and am unable to share...yet.

I packed up my car.  Easel? Check! Snacks? Check!  Oh wait, pencils, clamps, paper towel holder? Left on the chair in my studio.  Not a pencil or pen to be had. Then the talking to myself began. What will I do with out a pencil I asked?  I answered any plein air painter worth their salt can do this with out a pencil. And this is pretty much how Saturday went.  I forgot to drink enough water wound up wilted by early afternoon as a result.

Saturday, July 15th

The first painting "Hampton Marsh" I was trying to not be a meal for all the black flies.  Nasty little distractions.  I just had to suck it up and paint on.  For the second painting, the painter on the dock left and I grabbed his spot.  There was enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away.  And enough of a breeze that I thought it was going to rain.  It got quite cool.  And I had to work fast and furiously.

Hampton Marsh by Helen Shideler
The Junction by Helen Shideler

Sunday, July 16th

Pansy Patch by Helen Shideler

In the crazy heat of the day, I spent way too long on this painting.  High humidity.  Hot, did I mention how hot it was?

I really love pansies. This little flower has so much personality and comes in so many colour variations and sizes. 

As I was happily painting away, I became increasingly aware of a particular nearby hornet. It seemed to be determined to investigate the exact spot I was standing on.  I backed away, hoping it would leave.  No. It kept investigating whatever it was investigating.  

Finally it flew off.  Really, I had a vision of it flying up my pant leg.  Not a pleasant vision.  I have a story about me and stinging things in my clothing. May not share, at least not yet!

 

And then there was this

I could not resist painting my grandson Theo.  "just wading 10"x8" oil on panel

JUst Wading by Helen Shideler

And this

I was contacted about the little oil painting on the right - but it was already sold.  From that inquiry, I received a commission to paint it again in acrylic with a few modifications.  The painting was fun so I agreed.  Can you spot the changes?

Double Take by Helen Shideler

Can we slow down summer please

Well, it is hard for me to believe that yet another Studio Tour has come and gone. Time is moving a little too quickly this year.  How can we slow down summer?

I love the meets and greets that come with participating in the tour.  So many nice people coming through and all interested in art.  How amazing is that?  A number of people are "followers" of my work.  This is so encouraging and humbling at the same time.  Life is good.

With all the preparation for the tour I fell behind a bit with my painting - but I did manage to complete the three small oils (8x10") I was working on. Time to start another before I lose the momentum.

Walk in the Park by Helen Shideler

"Walk in the Park" is a fun 8"x8" oil of a strutting crow.  This little guy proved to be very popular.  I guess what I saw in him others saw as well.  He could have been homed five times this weekend! I find it amazing how many people love crows and ravens.  I know I certainly do but thought is was an artsy thing.

King of the Castle by Helen Shideler

"King of the Castle" this gull really felt he owned the place.  He was perched up so proudly on this concrete post with a view of the nearby restaurant and the sea.  He was talking it all in.  Ever watchful for that morsel that would be presented should someone dare to drop a bite.  I was leaning on the fence taking photos of some cormorants when I noticed him.  He did not seem to care how close I was and truly, it took awhile before I even realized that he was there - my husband had to point him out.

Plein Air Pretties by Helen Shideler

The first day at the PACE Plein Air Conference April in San Diego, people has not had a chance yet to mix and mingle.  There were all kinds of plein air painters milling about in the hotel lobby. These two caught my attention.  I thought they looked so interesting looking at their walking map of the area. I knew I would be painting them.  Plein Air painters are always interesting to people watch!

Wonderful summertime stuff

Ahh, summertime and life is good.  Time for family and friends.

This week I had the chance to meet a long time artist friend in person.  We were both member of an on-line art community "Art Colony" for a long time until the site wrapped up.  Most of us still keep in touch on-line.

Helen Shideler and Christianne Fortin

Christianne Fortin and I were able to spend two evenings together getting to know each other in person and immersing ourselves in art talk.  And all things creative.  I am so happy and grateful we had this opportunity to get together.  

And these guys.  I sure miss them.  Vancouver is so far away.  Looking forward to all the family visits we have planned for this summer!

Family time

A few of my favourite things

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Lots of Love in Vancouver

I've been in Vancouver or the past three weeks  savouring every wonderful moment with my two grandsons. Yes two.  Everett arrived a few days after I arrived.  I naively thought I would be able to catch up with the 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge. And as much as I would like to share with you that I was able.  Well I was not.  However snuggles and storybooks trump painting for awhile!

I have managed to complete five small paintings during this time.  I painted some daisy and then figured it would work well as a poured painting.  So I redid it.  Both are below - which is your preference - the traditional approach...

Daisy Days I

...or the poured painting?

Daisy Days II - Poured Painting

And then I thought I should do it once more as a negative painting.  Have not had the chance to do this but I may.  I think it is a good opportunity to illustrate the versatility of watercolour.

I brought along my iPad thinking I would-be able to blog during my visit.  However my iPad did not recover from me dropping in on its corner last month.  I had the glass replaced (subsequently voided the warranty - but that is another story) but the touch screen was acting up frustratingly so.  Anyway I just managed to get my technology in order just two days before I was to travel back home.  I am a complete Apple fan after this experience!

 True love 

True love 

Sketch Book Memories

Working away in my studio getting ready for the 2015 Kings County Studio Tour, when I came across a number of my sketch books. There are some wonderful memories in a sketch book.  I love how sketching makes time fly.  Really quite unbelievable how you can get lost in doing a sketch. Every year it seems we take on a challenge just before the tour. This years challenge getting ready is installing new flooring for the studio.  During the week of the tour.   Last year the challenge was to paint the studio.  Everything had to be taken out and crammed into adjoining rooms.  Phew!  No stress in that.  So this year, my husband though we should have flooring installed. It really does need the flooring - we do not want people tripping over the height difference.  Once again we (really he) cleared everything out of the studio and crammed the stuff into the adjoining rooms.  He is down there working away right now. And I am taking photos of my sketch book, reminiscing and blogging.

IMG_8234_newWhen I get the chance to travel I almost always have my sketch book nearby.  You never know when the inspiration is going to hit you.  Like outside the apartment window.... Vancouver is lovelyIMG_8235_newOr when the movies at your seat are unavailable, they are available for the rest of the seats on the plane, just in your row and it is a long flight...IMG_8237_newSometimes the people around you are inspirational.  I love this guys hair!

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Plaid shirts, well who could possibly resist? Have to draw that

IMG_8239_newOr when the flight is just too long and you have already watched two movies and there is not enough time to catch another one.

Sketching on a plane is hard work,  The plane is moving and it throws your hand/eye coordination.  And sketch books are awkward.  I will be keeping my eye out for one that has coils and can be folded back.  When they are open flat they are awkward because there is limited room on that tiny table.  Strangely enough no one really checks out what you are doing.  Usually people cannot resist watching and asking questions.

IMG_8240_newOr when you are enjoying a meal in a restaurant when you literally have the place to yourself other that that one other weary traveller at the table near youIMG_8241_new And then there is the view of your table

IMG_8242_newOr waiting to take the red eye back home

 

Commissioned Portraits Delivered

Oliver is Super by Helen Shideler"Oliver is Super" is a painting of Oliver at 18 months old.  He is so cute - he is an absolute clone of his daddy.  The painting below is a younger Oliver.  Both paintings are 11 x 14" and are in acrylic on canvas. Portrait by Helen Shideler Young OliverThis painting is "Baby Oliver" and was painted from his parents favourite baby photo of him.  The photo that I worked from was taken with their phone as was not quite clear.  I was able to sharpen the image as I painted it.

 

 

 

Christmas Commission Baby Boy

Portrait by Helen Shideler Young Oliver I am on a roll with my Christmas Commissions of a baby.  This is the first off the two.  Initially I had hoped to paint this in oil but I ran out of time largely due to my procrastination and of the amount of travelling I have done this fall.  I really do work best under pressure.  And the pressure is sure on.

The image below includes the photo reference provided by my client.  The colours are distorted by the interior lights.  I find it amazing how much colour distortion there is when shooting inside.  Interesting enough, the photo adobe is a little "cooler" than the painting really is.  And I shot it outdoors on a highly overcast day.

Portrait by Helen Shideler

This is the first of the two paintings I am doing of this child.  The photo below shows the painting in progress.  It is about three quarters complete.  I still have a lot of work to do with his hair and the skin tones.

Portrait by Helen Shideler Oliver is Super

 

 

Christmas Commissions Two Portraits

Shideler-Commission 1 Shideler Commission 2 I have finally begun painting these two commissions of a very cute and special little boy.  The photos were taken at two different ages.  I drew them out about six weeks ago and “studied” them.  Really, this fall has been exceptionally busy with travel and visitors.  I even took them to Vancouver in hopes of starting the painting there (nothing happened, I never even touched a brush, I was so distracted by my wonderful grandson).

Then to top it all off, I have been extremely distracted by ravens.  And I really did study the drawings by looking at them a lot, thinking about them and wondering when if ever I would have the chance to start painting.

Back to the ravens. Well, I drew out two ¼ sheet and one ½ sheet variations of ravens from the series of photographs I took in Yellowstone this past September.  One painting is completed (Call of the Raven) and the other two are well underway. They are calling out to me.  Helen come paint.  Forget you have five commissions.  Just paint us.   You know you waaannnt to.  You want to sketch out the large raven you want to paint in oil once you get through these three.

With Christmas being only…oh next month, I finally got at it. My strategy with these two is completely different form my usual. I decided to work on the background and clothing first.  No reason.  I just wanted to.  Ah, who am I kidding? I am still procrastinating. I am doing the easy bits up front and building up to the faces.

Wish me luck.  Time is marching on very quickly.  I promised to deliver these the first week-end in December .  They need some time get where they need to be on time for Christmas.  Eeeeeks