Another 30 day challenge complete

Another 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge is completer for another year!  

I simply cannot get over how fast time goes when you are having fun.  

30 in 30 Helen Shideler

When I look at each of these little paintings I get such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  

A lot of these were paintings I wanted to do in one form or another and this challenge lets me do that - to get around to your to-do list.  Some I knew would not lend themselves to larger pieces in the way I like to paint. Sometimes I just get so busy that I do not take the time to paint smaller pieces and just go with it. And so I love this challenge.  It keeps me very busy, very productive and I think it is a wonderful way to help move January along!

There were only a couple of days whereby I felt pressure to get into the studio and only two days where is was not really possible.  Hence there are 28 paintings displayed in my challenge collage.  But that is ok.   I hit a couple of potholes along the way as well.  I ran out of panels.  I had some ordered in advance but they took awhile to come in.  

All gessos are not the same!

When I did get them they were not Apmersand.  They were a nother brand Gotterick and required gesso prior to being painted.  So I lovingly laid out all my panels.  Got out my little paint tray and roller.  Opened up my gesso. Horrors! My gesso was moldy.  Got on the phone once again.  Help me I exclaimed.  Thank goodness Endeavours were able to get the Gesso to me the next day!  

I started in that evening.  Each panel required three coats with ample drying time in between. And then sanding.  The roller created a wavy texture on the panels.  Not a good texture for painting small paintings in detail.   When I started sanding, well the gesso kind of rolled and not sanded as expected.  My new gesso felo more like plastic than gesso.  No time to back out now.  Oh dear.  Such stress. OMIGOODNESS!

The gesso I purchased was a reputable brand, Golden...go figure.  Not what I expected at all.

Lessons Learned

The most important lesson I learned in order to be successful in producing a painting a day is to plan your work.  I found the days I struggled is when I did not start another painting immediately after completing one.  Thinking takes up too much precious painting time.  And it is distracting with all the rabbit holes and diversions along the way.  I am a daydreamer after all.

The other lesson I seem not to learn is to relax the detail a bit.  I found as time when on, instead of painting looser I actually tightened up.  Look at the ravens as an example.  I had a good working philosophy,  Get the eyes and facial features right and the rest of the painting will take care of itself.  This is really true and important. Only I found that often I could not just go with it, resulting in a number of these paintings taking longer than I hoped.

Some were pure joy to paint, "Stymied" for example.  I loved painting that pig.  I loved painting my grandson (portraits are nerve wracking).  I loved painting the shore birds.  Heck I loved painting them all. 

Thank you all for following along with me.  

I really appreciate your encouragement and support.


Week 3 Round Up

This week presented some interesting new challenges for me  

First I had a meeting for the Kings County Studio Tour on Thursday evening  and sore eyes.  So I didn't paint Thursday.  But the real challenge was around painting materials.  I ran out of panels. So I ordered some in from my friends at Endeavours.

Panels arrived.  A different brand than usual - Gotterick.  Well they only had one coat of Gesso on them  and the panels seemed to have a few hairline cracks.  Shoot.  So I had to get out my gesso.  I opened up all the panels, laid them out on the table, opened up the gesso and ....CRAPOLA!!!  Gesso was moldy.  Had to call my good friends at Endeavours once more to order gesso and in a hurry please.  

Gesso arrived, panels promed and lightly sanded.  And you know, they are not the same.  Ampersand is a far better solution and panel. These are ok though, just not the same.

Day 15 - Garden Interloper

They appear with the illusion of something elegant, almost regal.  But they are no more than Quispamsis garden rats.  White tail deer.  The vermine you love to hate rather hate to love.  They are garden interlopers.  They appear many times a day and eat insatiably.  Every thing in site is on theri menu but not the stuff you don't particularly care about.  Like the weeds (native deer food) or fallen apples.  No they wait until your flower buds are about to burst forward with beautiful blossoms and pop it like cotton candy.

Day 16 - Stymied

I loved the way this painting developed.  I used acrylics as watercolours for the base painting, then applied a number of layers to intensify the colours...then went back in with opaque layers.  I have to admit, I am thinking the title of the painting is particularly clever, eh?

Day 17 - Checking Things Out

This painting took a surprising amount of time to the point I decided not to paint another one for todays challenge.  Ducks have long been one of my favourite subjects with their perpetual grins and round cheeks.  They stand tall and proud and give the illusion of confidence. 

Day 18 - What's That?

Did you know I love ravens.  And crows. And likely all birds?  The black birds present an interesting challenge when painting them.  Their wonderful iridescent feathers gleam in the sun.  Shades of blue, teal and often purple are waiting for the artist's eye  to capture that fleeting moment

Day 19 -  Watching Me Watching You

A repeat performance. I could not leave it to one raven could I?  I went mining through my reference photos and you know?  I have a lot of ravena ns crow photos.  Stay tuned I think I am going to paint a large one after this challenge.  Oh and after I finish the lilac painting.

Day 20 - Singing in the Snow

Sweet little chickadees.  This is a teeny tiny painting.  Only 4"x4" on gallery wrapped canvas. Actually the little bird is likely life size in the painting.

Day 21 - Everyday's a Beach Day

And another favourite.  For about three years I have been trying to get a photo shoot in with sanderlings, plovers and sandpipers.  I have a really cool idea for a very large painting.  I think i really love beach birds because I love the beach so much.  I love the scent of the salt air and the warm breezes.  I would love to be there now!



Week One of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Fun to see my efforts in a grouping like this

Week 1  30 in 30 days challenge Helen Shideler

Day 1 Purple Finch

Being greeted by these brightly coloured birds was breath-taking.  They are not a regular visitor to our feeders but were around for a few days at Christmas.

Day 2 Seed Stuffer

Our feeders provide us a constant source of entertainment when we are sitting down to eat. They are located right outside our large kitchen window. The little red squirrel has claimed on of the birdhouses as its own, chewed the opening to make it larger and stores is seeds in the birdhouse.

Day 3 Lunch on the Deck

These amazing little birds gather as group every morning and afternoon at the feeders we have on our deck. They stay for hours providing plenty of entertainment for those of us lucky enough to be there. They fight over the perces at the feeders - kind of cute.

Day 4 Nut Job

The daily antics of our little red squirrels give us so much amusement.  They appear to be so expressive as they raid our seed and nut staches.  

Day 5 Cheeky Chickadee

These little birds amaze me with their spirit.  I cannot get over how these little birds will loudly inform us when the feeders are empty.  Or even tell us off when we are out on the deck and in their way to the feeders.  Cute and spirited.  Almost my favourite!

Day 6 Out on a Limb

Sweet and lively chickadees always make my heart sing.  

Day 7 Song Sparrow

Another Sweet visitor to our feeders.  This one seems to be patiently waiting its turn at the feeders.

30 Day Challenge Complete for Another Year

This year was for the birds.

In a matter of speaking.  Although if you asked me the week prior to the challenge what it would was going to look like I probably would not have suggested I would paint birds and in acrylics exclusively.

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge 2016

Wow, I find it so difficult to believe this challenge came and went so quickly. Although I felt each and every day of January because of the commitment.  And I want to thank everyone for your continued support.  I have to admit, people asking me daily what will you be posting tonight kept just enough heat on to keep me going!

Moving on

We are into February already and larger projects are starting to take up my focus.    I have sooo much work to do. I get so excited with the possibilities. Only I may have way too much inspiration.  If that is even possible?

When I committed to the challenge I knew I wanted to paint some birds.  I did a lot of photography in our yard between Christmas and New Years.  The cardinals were so elusive. At first I was only able to catch a shot off in the distance.  As time went on I figured out where I could hunker down and not scare them away as I attempted to photograph them.  I was so happy with the results.  

Interesting enough

I started the challenge with a husky and finished with a husky.  I love painting animals as much as I love flowers, and birds, and bees and  and and

You get the idea.  

Wishing you my friends, a bright and colourful February!


Week 3 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Time marches on - only one week left of the challenge

Day 15 – Striking a Pose

This painting took a serious long time to complete. And I had a real challenging time to title it.

Then, when we stood back and looked at it - well, my daughter and I see a large doggies face and a cat lite "Cats" face on it's back. Then we stopped trying to come up with a clever name. The resolution has been lowers for the posting so the colours are not showing as rich as they really are and the unintentional other critters not as obvious.

Day 16 – Out  for a Paddle

I always come back to ducks. They make me so happy with their perpetual smiles, cheeky cheeks  and happy attitude (I think). We have mallards that visit the bird feeders outside my studio window daily. And every time I see them I pause and watch them.

Day 17 – Twin Beaks

Once upon a time, quite recently actually, I think I mentioned that I may be done painting chickadees. Well I was wrong.  And now they are multiplying.  So much fun.

Day 18 – Breath Taking

Cardinals are daily visitors to our garden feeders. And no matter how many times I see them, I stop in awe. They absolutely take my breath away - overtime. They are very shy and skittish. If you so much as make eye contact they are gone so fast. Even trying to take photograph them requires a quiet camera and stealth like precision shooting.

Day 19 – opps

I skipped this day!  Decided to be a rebel.  My husband and I went out for supper instead.  I really needed a break.

Day 20 – On a Mission

On a Mission as this gull is looking pretty determined to get somewhere fast.  
The one in the bin was another gull (uncooperative sky)

Day 21 - Trying to Hide

I am always amazed at how shy cardinals are. They are so self aware- they see you before you see them and quite often you see them leave. But when they hesitate - they always have at least one eye on you, Being so red I guess you have to try to hide as best you can.

These paintings are available on my website

Week 1 30 Day Painting Challenge

30 Paintings in 30 Days.  This is a very ambitious challenge and I am loving every moment of it. One of my New Year's intentions was to be more productive in the studio and to take advantage of the weather whenever possible to paint en plain air. So far I have made it to day 4 ( I will be posting my progress on Sundays so week 1 is not a complete week)

I had a reality check on Day 1after thinking I was going to front end load this. You really have to complete the painting as well - not just start them.

Day 1

Immortality White Iris

"Immortality" White Iris

Water-colour 11" x 9" on Arches 300lb paper

$125 Available Click here for more information

Day 2

Another White Iris

"Another White Iris"

Water-colour 11" x 9" on Arches 300lb paper

$125 Available Click here for more information

I am taking every opportunity with this challenge to experiment.  Here I applied a loose yellowish background wash and then applied Incredible White Mask through a stencil.  Applied another wash and the applied more mask with the stencil and did this four times.  I was pretty happy with the effect.  However, the mask was effective on the first stencil placement.  No matter how well I cleaned it off between applications, the mask would bleed under the stencil.  I have a stencil adhesive spray but did not want to use it on a painting.

Day 3

Unfortunate Beauty

"Unfortunate Beauty"

Acrylic on canvas 6" x 6"

$65. Available - Click here for more information

This rather handsome beetle is an Elder Borer.  My husband called me over to look at the interesting bug he found.  At first we saw only one.  Then we discovered a mess of them on our elderberry trees.

Then I grabbed our bug field guide.  It is both handsome and unwelcome!  We noticed we were experiencing some weird die back on our elderberry trees.  Well this is the culprit.  The adults lay their eggs near the surface and the larvae eat the roots - they leave perfectly round, pencil size hole at the base of the plants.  Boo!

Day 4


"Elder Borer"

Acrylic on canvas 6" x 6"

$65. Available - Click here for more information

One of these beasties dropped down on to a storage bin we have outside.  I was captivated by its shadows and ran for my camera.  My daughter Jennifer was so completely grossed out - she said, and I quote "Mom, you are never going to paint those horrible bugs!".  She meant it.  But she did not count on the 30 day challenge and me needing a variety of subject matter.