WIP Mystic Blues

So here it is.  Usually when I conceptualize a painting, I "see" it in a particular medium - be it watercolour, oil or acrylics.  But this blue hydrangea behaved differently for me and said you need to do it all.  I have completed it in watercolour and acrylics.  And now in oil...

Bluetiful Bloom by Shideler.jpeg

Patience pill anyone?

The watercolor version to me is traditional and stands on its own.  When I completed it I stepped back and felt is was good.....but wondered what would it look like in acrylics? Hmmm... and so I began a rather epic adventure in blue.

Saying that acrylic paint is vibrant is almost an understatement.  They fact that this paint cures and the colours deepen for a few days after they are applied adds to a bit of a mystery about them.  

And then there is buttery oil paint. Omigoodness I am in love with oil paint!  The colours remain true as they dry making them a bit more predictable than watercolurs or acrylics. And you can play with them.  And blend until your hearts content. I have so much to learn!

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Tender Blues in acrylic

A vibrant rendition of the blue hydrangea.  VIsitors to my studio stop in their tracks - I love the reaction.  It is a bit showy.  Both bold and modern. The blue shades are more intense - almost on the deep thalo shade.  Love saying that it is contemporary and fun. 36"x36" and I admit a nail biter to work on. Each painting session I was able to complete one flower in the bloom.  Acrylic paint dries so fast that blending is a real challenge. Did you say challenge? Apparently complexity and details are my key motivators.  No kidding??????

amethyst shades of blue by shideler

Amethyst Shades of Blue in watercolours

More traditional and ethereal, highly detailed and a softer version from the acrylic.  It's funny but I remember painting every single petal.  Making sure the shades and values were spot on in order to create the depth and suggest the volume of the bloom.  I played with the pigment and tested before I applied paint to the work.  This version was a true labour of love.  Did I mention I love watercolours.  They speak my language. And I feel confident with this medium.  So many years of working with it has taught me how it will behave in various conditions -  and I can predict it.  It is very natural and comfortable for me.

home and back at it

I returned home from Calgary Thursday night. Happy to be home, but so missing my wonderful  family there.  Every day we connected with Jenn in Vancouver and shared baby photos sigh... and since I have been home I have been very busy.

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Farmers Market

This painting has so many wonderful memories for me.  First of all, I love the translucent quality of tomatoes. When I look at them I always imagine how I would paint them.  The turquoise of the baskets set off the yellows and reds, and hit almost all of my favourite colours (I have so very many). I knew as I was taking the many reference photos that the heritage tomatoes would be a painting.

The biggest decision was to be watercolour, acrylic or oils. And right now I am so loving painting with oils,  There is more freedom for me - does not have to be quite as meticulous as watercolour to be effective.  I can still "sculpt" with the paint - the buttery texture of oil paint is so addictive, so sensuous and the colours so pure!

My daughter is a BC based food blogger known as Foodess.  I love that I can be sure that every visit will include a trip to many of the farmers markets.  This is her happy place. And I love to watch the people, especially the children.  But it is the colours and the smells that truly captivate me.  

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Side Stepping

When I returned home I somehow was driven to continue with the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I felt compelled to get back at it.  Side Stepping is a fun painting of a raven and is the inspiration for a large painting I will do later in the year.  

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Besties at the Beach

Last summer we had a Hall family reunion on Prince Edward Island.  It was an amazing week with family, great food and the beaches.  Two different beaches each day.  I was in complete heaven!

The beach is one of my sacred places.  My soul longs for sunny, warm days and the salt air.  I think having been born in Cape Breton had a lot to do with this and then the move to Red Head outside of Saint John, NB reinforced it. Salt air is in my soul and I think a bit of salt water is in my blood.  I crave the beach!

Everything I see while at the beach is a painting in my mind. These two lovelies walking down the beach caught my eye.  I actually think that they may be sisters.  Fun painting.

Until next time, may you have a most wonderful week!

 

Early wrap to this years challenge

Although this challenge is still on-going, I am quite done for this year. I managed to complete 17 paintings since it began, but you see a surprise early arrival had me packing up my bags and flying off to Calgary!  My beautiful new grandson Henry was born a few weeks early!  And so I said to heck with the challenge and hopped on the first available flight. 

And I do have a few more on the easel waiting for my return.

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This is the fifth time that I have participated in a 30 Day Challenge.  You can see my previous efforts here. With each challenge I like  to have a goal, something to learn - that I work towards. I feel pretty good about what I accomplished with my approach this year. I had decided to only work in oil.  It is a medium that I have been exploring for awhile now and think I have come to an understanding how to work with it. At least how I think that I want to work with it.

Grisaille how cool a word is that?

What I know to be true, at least for me, is that I do like to plan my work and have a grisaille underpainting prior to adding colour.  Not all subjects require this step.  But for me with the way my mind works, it makes the colour application make more sense.  You see I like to work with thin, transparent glazes.  Slowly building up the colours before I add in strategically placed thicker juicy paint.  Oh, did I just expose the watercolourist in me?  This is funny now that I have said it!  Old habits die hard.

And then there is Alla Prima

Painting alla prima (in one session) made sense for a few of the paintings - working really well with the mussel shells.  In fairness, I have painted so many mussel shells over the years that I could probably paint them in my sleep - they are a subject that I know so well. 

Honestly, I would have approached he painting with the sweet little sparrow differently knowing what I think I know now.  I think I would have felt better painting this one if I had taken the time to do an underpainting.  Because the bird was included as part of the landscape and not painted as a central subject, the background and leaves felt like busy work.  I was not as satisfied with the end result as I would like to have been.  It works, but I had a different vision of it in mind.

Helpful hint 

You have to get over your, um my... need to go back in and add in more detail.  In one sitting means just that. It is so hard to resist. But, in my mind - there really is no rules.  Rules are self imposed and made to be modified and ignored when convenient. 

Lessons learned

The other, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that applying many layers of paint over each other, without a few days dry time will create muddy colours.  I learned a new use for my pallet knife. Scraping.  Yep.  I had to remove areas on a few of the painting in order to re-apply the right colour intensity.

Until next time, cheers

 

 

 

 

Week 3 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

I have learned so much with this challenge.  It was not enough to commit to a painting a day - I felt the need to add a layer of complexity by adding in a medium that I feel that I am just beginning to understand.  I am an oil painter that needs to allow for dry time for glazing.  Alla prima is really maybe not my thing - but feel i have been successful with my attempt.

Week 3 30 day challenge by Helen Shideler

Day 11 - Lunch on the Bar

The photo does not do this painting justine.  The feathers on the bird are quire detailed.  What I am finding is that it is difficult to photograph wet oils.  The light catches the thicker paint and the blackish tones look like a hole - but in person - you do not see that effect.  Here's whats funny - I counted the plover last week - oops

Day 14 - Watchful

Yeah, I may have missed  a day or two or three.  LIfe happens.  I love this gull and for the most part, the painting turned out exactly as I envisioned.  I did have to go back in a couple of day later to enhance the values.  It was fun to paint and I may also paint his brother

Day 15 - Stepping Stones

 was born in Cape Breton, very close to a beach. as long as I can remember I love shore birds. They give me a sense of peace and joy. Colours are a bit off in this photo but you get the idea

Day 16 - Home on the Beach

You can sure tell it is February and I am longing for warm summer days at the beach. These birds make me so happy 

Day 17 - Crusty Crustacean

No shortage of inspiration from the sea. Happy to be more than halfway through the challenge, my larger work on my shiny new easel is starting to call out to me. 

Day 18 - Young Cormorant

Yeah, I have a thing for beach birds. I was so taken with the posture of this young bird. It’s all in the attitude. The reference photo was taken last summer at Rockwood Park in Saint John.  This is an amazing location to photograph birds and some of the prettiest landscapes in New Brunswick!

Phoebe by Helen Shideler

Day 19 - Phoebe

This will be my last offering for the 30 day challenge. Also - this is the first attempt at a furry face in oils.  I like it!!!

The challenges is getting cut a  short by the early arrival of a beautiful new grandson.  I am off to Calgary without paints and computer.  I cannot wait to get my lips on his little belly!!  sigh!!!

Thank you for following along

Cheers - and spring is almost just around the corner

 

 

Week 2 of the 30 Day Challenge

Still keeping up with the challenge having completed 11 paintings in 11 days.  I am having so much fun with all of these.  Mussel shells and corvids are some of my long time favourite things to paint.  I think I may have a few more ravens in my system.  Thinking I am going to venture into watercolours this coming week. 

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Day 6 - Fundy Blues I

It almost always comes back to mussel shells for me. I have  previously painted them as poured watercolours in a full sheet format.  Three different versions.  And honestly, there were three of my all time favourite poured painting. And I have painted them as large acrylics. So now in oil.  I am thinking there will be a rather large oil in my future as well.

Day 7 - Fundy Blues II

Mussels officially became a series. I love all the variations of the colours and frankly, they literally are a taste of home. The shape is organic so they are forgiving.  Gotta love that!

Day 8 - Fundy Blues III

Funny how we can change our minds.  I now think three may be enough in this series.  I really see this becoming a huge oil painting. 

Day 9 - Front and Center

Well, I fell a day behind on Friday. We had plans in the evening but I knew I could get caught up this weekend.  Really enjoying this series - fun and strong birds. Intriguing intelligence. Love them

The wet paint captures more light than there is on the painting but it is close.

Day 10 - Check that out

And with this fella, I am caught up! His curiosity is certainly showing, head swung over his shoulder. What do you suppose he sees? 

Day 11 - Lunch on the Bar

I have to admit, I am finding the challenge challenging!  It is all about oil paint.  Normally I work on a piece over a week or two.  Taking time to allow the paint to dry a bit between sessions.  This allows for glazing and layering the paint without risk of making mud! 

When I started the challenge I promised myself that I will not go back into a painting. When it’s done it’s done right? Nope, not this time. I think I want to add darker watery tones after a few days drying.

 

 

Here we go again

I joined the 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge once again.  It is actually my fourth time participating.  I sort of tell myself when ever I commit to it - it is a huge commitment and the other larger pieces I am working on get neglected for awhile.  But the sense of accomplishment that I get from doing it is well worth the effort.

Week 1 30 paintings in 30 days Shideler

So far...

So far all of these are oil on panels.  The square ones are on cradled panel, the 10 x 8" are on flat panel and will require frames.  I am really unsure how long I will stay with the oils as I prefer to allow for a fews days of drying time and then go back in with the finishing glazes and bring out the detail.

Day 1 - Vantage Point

That's the crow in the centre.  I took a series of photos of this crow at Rockwood Park in Saint John.  He wasn't bothered by my being there, but her certainly kept one eye on me most of the time.  I am quite happy with this painting and composition.  The moss and lichens on the tree really intrigue me.  I may have to do a similar piece only larger.

Day 2 - Sitting Sweetly

That's the chickadee posing on the branch.  I loved every moment working on this one.  I always stop to watch the antics of these special little birds.  And heaven knows, I have certainly painted lots of them.

Day 3 - Having Fun

This is my grandson playing in the water.  In the photo his expression is one of pure joy.  SOmehow in my efforts to paint him, his expression went from one of joy to the water is cold!  Ok, I may never attempt to paint a face that tiny again.  With a face, there is little opportunity to mess up. Painting a face this small, well there is every opportunity to mess up just a slight movement of the brush can wreck it.  Also, if you go back in the paint blurs and gets muddy.  No fun at all. Photo credit to his Dada.  I normally only paint from my own photos unless it is for a commission or in this case, I could not resist

Day 4 - Sweet Surprise

That is the very green painting with the song sparrow.  True to fashion, I went down the path of trying to get too much detail in a small painting.  This took forever.  Even when I tried to paint think and juicy - it still took way too long. I have to rethink my approach!  He is a rather sweet little bird sitting in my apple tree.

Day 5 - Proud

That is the raven up there with his chest all held high and fluffed up.  Ok, I confess, I have a thing for painting corvids.  Not that that is a secret or anything.  I paint many each year - much like chickadees.  I love how he is standing so tall and proud, a little look of "go ahead, make my day". I always start with the eye and then move onto the beak/bill.  If I get the head right the painting works

Until next week - cheers. Oh, I am open for suggestions on what to paint for this challenge.  Feel free to offer requests of what you like to see me paint - I may just get to it!

Thanks for following along!

 

 

 

 

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

glow, sunflower in oils - update #5

Sunflower painted in oils I am truly learning a lot working with oil paint.  I forgot anything I ever new from years ago.  And it is a new playing field as the paint has really evolved.   The water mixable stuff is supreme!   Low odor and easy clean up.  I do have a product preference on this one – my beloved brand with watercolors comes up short with water soluble oil paint.  Too pasty – much like tooth paste.  And I bought a lot of it with high hopes.

Although I admit the drying time surprised me – I was hoping it would somehow be quicker – for a hurry-up-and-wait kind of person like myself – it is hard to be patient.  You are in this gig for at least 7 to 8 weeks!

I finished this up by increasing the colour density to where I wanted it, painted in the lone bee and crisped up the detail.  Crisping is challenging with oil paint.

I am very happy to say “Glow” has been sold and I have a commission for a similar one.  Life is good!

 

Glow, Sunflower in Oil - WIP Update # 4

Helen Shideler-WIP Sunflower painting in oil.  This is new for me - being

Alrighty. I am back in the studio following the weeks of studio reno and painting and getting ready for the Kings County Studio Tour (which was an amazing success - thank you thank you everyone).   I was abel to get back to this sunflower painting in oil after the hiatus for obvious reasons.  Very happy with the progress.

Oil painting is solo slow, phew.

I think with with one more session I will be able to complete this one - stay tuned - Wednesday is the day.

 

 

Glow WIP - Update #3

Glow WIP by Helen Shideler Making some good headway.  Next session, I will deepen the darks and start the detail in the sunflowers’ centre.  I think I have at least two more, maybe three more painting sessions with this.

I really need a mahl stick or bridge for my easel.  I keep getting my hands into the areas of fresh paint and messing it up.  Anyone – any ideas any recommendations?

When I was at the Susan Kathleen Black Workshop in Dubois least year, a number of artists had a stick with a sort of rake head they were using to keep their hands off their work.  I have not been able to figure out what that is or where to find it.