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

Blooming Artists and a strange dance

A rousing thank you to the organizers of the 2013 Blooming Artists in Hampton this past weekend (proceeds for the John Peters Humphrey Foundation July 20 & 21)!  As a participating artist, I want to share how well-organized this event is and what a pleasure it was to have participated in this event once more!  I had the privilege of painting in two very beautiful gardens this past weekend and visit with the hospitable garden owners. Although the sun was sweltering, the vibrancy of the gardens and the warmth of the gardeners kept me inspired (not to mention the steady flow of cold water).

Back to the sun.  Oh my goodness! Hot as heck!  I found myself gravitating to the full sun and not the shade.  Why you may ask?  In a word and with a slight curse– DEER FLIEs!  Viscious, persistent, annoying and painful biters who also prefer the shade on hot sunny days.  So my palette was protected from the sun tucked in nicely under an umbrella.  I would have to go in for paint only to get chased back out into the sun by these pests. There was almost always more than one – they seem to hunt in pairs! The rythym was like a captivating dance with no grace what-so-ever.  In and out of the shade while flapping my arms with my paint brush tucked in my teeth while swatting various parts of my anatomy to scatter the darn old deerflies.  Back and forth into in the shade, get some paint on my brush flap and flick and then back to my painting in the sun.

Occasionally I had to stop.  Not to rest or refresh but to wipe the glow off my chin and out of my eyes.  My lovely, brand new straw hat was well indoctrinated.  The sweatband inside soaked and the hat part also drenched!  By the end of the day, I was a happy although sweaty glowing mess.  Coated in SPF 30 sunscreen and a generous coat of bug spray combined with a healthy um glow of perspiration running off my chin and down my back.

Day two was milder with a bit of a breeze and just as productive.  The dance, well was still required although not as predictable and constant.  I am sure my wonderful hosts of day one found the dance as entertaining as having a pretty determined water colorist painting diligently in their garden while talking to the deer flies! Scat, shoo etc

I produced six paintings over the weekend.  I managed to forget to photograph the one of the Mulberry leaves, however – these are a sampling of plein air painting

Plein Air painting - Bloomin Artists in Hampton this past weekend

Bloomin Artists
Pretty Potted Petunias
Smiling Sundrops
What a wonderful weekend!  
Painting plein air in beautiful gardens in Hampton.  Wonderful gardeners, mingling with artists and no appreciable amount of rain.
As artists, we are normally working solitary.  When we have a change to participate in events like this, we get to mingle and catch up and view the work that was produced.  Certainly gets my creative juices flowing.
Garden Tigers
I produced five paintings over the course of the two days,  A few are shared below - I forgot to photograph the honeysuckle vine.  On Saturday, the humidity was very high.  The excess moisture caused some softening or blurring of details while working with watercolor.  On Sunday, other than the threat of rain the main hazards were the blood thirsty midges.  You know, the little black flies that will even fly into your eyes and up your nose. Nasty beasties.  Distracting.  Irritating and annoying.
Sit a Spell
Ah, plein air painting.  I love it. And all for a good cause.