A bit of an around to it

I had set aside this poured watercolour awhile back waiting for the inspiration to hit me to finally finish it. Took longer than I expected for me to get around to it - but a lot of that was my availability. Or lack of it. And for so many good reasons, family visiting and then a couple of weeks in Vancouver, sigh!

Blue Hydrangea painting by Helen Shideler

Master procrastinator

I was starting to think of a couple more paintings that I would like to get started. One of them may be poured and the other I am still unsure of how to approach it. While considering these two new pieces, I remembered that I have this hydrangea tucked away waiting for some attention. I decided that before I start more work, I really should finish something.

It’s so funny. I would take it out, look at it and then put it away. This went on for awhile. I have become quite good at stalling, procrastination, avoidance. Hmmmmm

Honestly, I think I go into shock at the revealed image once I remove the masking compound. There is such a huge difference in the way you are used to seeing the piece. And the colours seem so pale with the gunk off.

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And an update on Spring Scentsation

This painting really has a lot to do with why I need to feel the accomplishment of completing a project. I have been working on it forever and am still not through the underpainting. Fortunately, the finish work should not take anywhere near the amount of time.

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Cheers


Summer Update and Spring Scentsation

It never fails to amaze me how incredibly fast summer comes and goes.  And how little painting I  actually accomplish from the first of August to the middle of September.  When the sun is out I am out.  Revelling!  This year we have had an amazing amount of family visiting - and we took the time to cherish each moment knowing how fast it goes. 

Fast, except maybe for the work on this painting "Spring Scentsation".  Yes, I finally came up with a name that is sticking. And I think it is finally about the halfway mark.

white lilac painting Spring Scentsation by Helen Shideler

Often I start projects without really knowing what I am doing. I do have a plan but am unsure if it the right one. But I go with it!  And I promise, I am learning.  I tinted the canvas all over because I do not like those little white holes (misses) that may appear as I apply the first few layers of paint.  Adding to the changes to my approach, I painted a foundation layer to the background first.  At about the halfway mark, i got brave enough to figure out how to approach and modify the background.  That work in now done - however, I will be going back in to deepen and glaze the area around the bloom.

With my next painting I will be changing my approach once again. 

Rational thinking?

This is a large painting - 30 x 48" and I think it may be a new favourite size.  Honestly, I do not think smaller works take less time - just that your "mistakes" may be less obvious as they are smaller?   Is that rational thinking?

Summertime at our house

Always includes as much family as possible, good food and friends whenever possible. This year was no exception. Our house was coming apart at the seams. Joyful sounds. Good meals. And grandchildren that fill the house!

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On the Fence

crow painting On the Fence by Helen Shideler

I did manage to get another crow painting in. This little 10 x 8” oil is a study for a much larger painting in the future - I got caught up a bit too much in the details for a painting of this size. Must remember to simplify going forward.
 

Next post will be from beautiful BC

until next time may your days be colourful

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

 

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!

 

Magenta Magic

Magenta Magic

is a poured watercolour painting of colour rich hollyhocks. Every time I do a poured watercolour I learn something new. Or re-learn something over and over.  When you remove the masking compound, it changes the colours beneath it.  For some reason the colours dull down.  So weird.  I would have said it was just yellow.  But no, it is that way with most colours. And I really do know this and yet keep getting surprised by it. And that is why I call pouring process underpainting.  Although the finishing brushwork is minimal.

Magenta Magic by Helen Shideler

Magenta or fuschia?

That is the question of the day. These two colours are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Magenta is somewhat redder and fuscia is more on the wine-ish side.  Just like the plant it is names after. The interesting thing is that when I was trying to photograph this painting, it would change colour depending on the sun shade factor.  In the sun it was fuschia.  No doubt.  But away from direct sun it is definitely magenta.  Had me fascinated and quite dissatisfied with my photography efforts and the effects of warm and cool lighting.

Fun fact.  The same colours go into the mixing of magenta and fuschia 

Work in progress

Below illustrated just a few of the steps in this process.  There are many more steps involved.  But this will give you a sense of how it progresses.  What I think I like most about this process is really two things.  The first is that it gets me into the studio every day.  But mostly it is how dimensional the completed painting is. They quite literally pop off the paper! From a distance they appear quite photographic and yet up close you can see the "legs", dribbles and splatters of the paint.  

I always have to tell my husband to stand back about ten feet.  He is one of my trusted advisors to the question is it done yet.  He will get up close for his inspection and i know the dribbles confuse him.  He'll point them out and I say they are supposed to be there.   HE says oh with a really confused expression.

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Swirls and Ripples Poured Painting

Swirls and Ripples is a poured painting of the koi fish we once had in our pond.  They were always delightful and entertaining.  Some of the fish had individual personalities, well sort of.  Really it was the biggest who would surface first for the food offering.

Swirls and Ripples poured painting by Helen Shideler

I really enjoy the process of producing a poured painting.  You really need to start with a fairly good drawing as the lines and details will soon get lost in the masking compound and puddling paint.

WIP Swirls and Ripples by Helen Shideler

After i have the drawing where you want it, you carefully start to apply the mask to the places where you want to preserve the whites.  Once dry, I will typically spray the painting with a good mist of water before I apply the paint.  Sometimes I will pour on only one colour at a time.  But I do like the way the paint mixes wet in wet.  I make that decision based on the image and what I am looking to accomplish with the pour.

WIP Swirls and Ripples

And after a few pours it starts to look like this

WIP Swirls and Ripples

Helpful hint

Use a rubber cement pick up rubber to remove the masking compound.  Makes a huge difference.

With the masking compound removed the under painting is complete.  TIme to refresh some of the colours, add in some brushwork to sharpen the details and then sign it!

WIP Swirls and Ripples

WIP Update 3 The Pond in Mid-Summer

From side to side

I know it may not look like it, but I am really making progress with my pond painting. As of today the paint now touches the left edge.  This feel like a milestone.

The Pond in Mid-Summer by Helen Shideler

Getting there

Now that I have paint spanning from almost edge to almost edge, it it time to start thinking about what will be coming next.  I have a birch cradled panel the same size as this painting (24"x48") that I have begun priming with gesso.  I have a few ideas of what to paint - but I am thinking about a portrait oriented painting.  Hmmm the eagle in the pine tree at our cottage...bright red hollyhocks, or the sun breaking through the fog in the early morning at a beach.  Hmmm the possibilities are endless.

The gesso-ing process a pain in the rear.  I guess I really hate the feeling of sandpaper.

What comes next?

I have at least one more froggie to place. The one I have in mind is floating in the water with it's legs dangling below him.  And I just happen to have a good variety of photos of leopard frogs at the ready.  Oh, and I have more work on the water lilies including adding in a couple of discreet buds.

Traveling Colours

So excited.  I booked my flight to get me to San DIego and the Plein Air Conference and Expo PACE 2017 .  This is special for so many reasons.  Being at a convention with 900 artists is beyond anything I could ever imagine.  And especially special as I get to spend a week with Jane Feeeman and Marilyn Wear.  I am so excitedtruly blessed!

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WIP Winters Light Through the Glass

We have a wonderful hanging stained glass window that was given to us 

Over the years we (really me) watch with fascination of how the right changes with each season.  Winter is particularly beautiful with the deep colour of the sky and the reflections of the snow.  You can see the effect of winters light through the glass!

I have taken oh so many photos of the stained glass

Knowing eventually I would be going to paint it.  The invitation to participate in “Stained Glass revisited” coming up in September provided just that opportunity. This was interesting. I always saw this painting as a thick acrylic work.  That was, until I tried to get started and now with a close deadline.

I started to work out the details and realized that the shape of the canvasses I have on hand were the wrong proportion.  Too square a shape meaning that I would have had to paint more background.  And that really would not work.  My artistic eye would not let me proceed and the fact that I do not have time for a redo!

I pondered what to do. 

I really wanted to get started and could not afford the time of shipping in another canvas.  Then it hit me.  Rather embarrassing really.  Watercolour.  Duh!  I could cut the paper into whatever shape I needed!  Oh my.  Sometimes I baffle me.

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Then I got real excited. 

On a recent trip to Arizona to the Plein Air Convention and Expo (PACE), I purchased a few tubes of Daniel Smith’s Prima Tek paints. And now I have a really exciting painting to play with them.  And I am loving them!

The glass represented in this painting has texture and is not smooth all over.  These granulating paints are working beautifully to help me simulate the glass. Some of the colours are luscious (not there is a word you do not get to use everyday). 

Lessons Learned

You have to be really cautious when you mix the Prima Tek  colours with regular waterolours.  They can get muddy fast

I highly recommend you paint an under wash first rather than mixing the colours together.  Now when I mixed two Prima Tek colours together, they worked fine.  But the wash had to be under not over these paints

Two Cardinal Paintings Fresh Off the Easel

Two acrylic paintings of cardinals on cradled panels

I needed today to be a productive day.  I needed to feel accomplishment and be distracted. And what a better way to distract yourself than to paint two cardinal paintings!  These birds are truly stunning.

That incredible shock of red

The sight of a male cardinal on a winters day will literally take your breath away especially when seen against a snowy background or on a grey cloudy day.  They are magnificent.  Unprecedented beauty.  They are a symbol of hope and renewal.  Strength. Grace.  

Happy to See You - Painting of a cardinal by Helen SHideler

Messenger

Some believe cardinals are messenger.  Visitors. They show up when you are celebrating or missing someone you love.  For me, today was a two cardinal kind of day!

Sweet Memories cardinal painting by Helen Shideler

Some days you need to be retrospective

And it is certainly one of those days for me. Today is an anniversary that has a profound impact on me. Every year from a certain Monday in March to April 3rd i find I am fighting back tears.  I manage through it.  Try not to give in to it.  This year I decided to handle it differently - to celebrate and embrace it in a spiritual way.  

Cardinals are often thought to be symbolic of a loved one who has passed.   I decided that today I would embrace the day. Not fight it. Not try to ignore it.  You see today is the anniversary of the passing of my son.  Dear sweet Andrew Justin Hill.  And how much I miss him.  This is so very much a huge piece of who I am.  Today I decided to face the day head on. Painting birds that evoke sweet memories for us and for so many.  And they were my mothers favourite bird and are loved by our family.  

Blessings.

Painting Returns Home with Two Awards

My painting “Sitting Duck” just returned home the 89th Annual “Open Water” juried art show recently held in Toronto.

This show is the major event in the Canadian Society Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC) exhibition calendar.  Open Water is open for jurying to artists working in transparent watercolour.

Sitting Duck by Helen ShidelerWith my painting were two award certificates; the “Sally Sloan” Award and “The Artists Magazine” Award.

This is all very exciting – I was pretty proud to have a painting selected for the show.   Then just prior to the show opening I was notified about receiving the Artists’ Magazine Award. Pretty happy about that.  Then I received a call awhile later informing me about the second one, the Sally Sloan Award.  I have been waiting rather impatiently for them to arrive in the mail so I could look at them and then share the good news with my friends.

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IMG_7749Additionally, this painting won Second Place in Watercolor at the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation Art Show in Dubois, WY last year.

This painting is definitely a keeper.  I am thinking I will never sell this painting! I have to keep it to remind me that hard work, diligence and tenacity does offer rewards!