Country Garden Favourite

Country Garden Favourite is a traditionally painted watercolour of hollyhocks

Hollyhocks and mallow were a couple of my mothers favourite flowers. And I guess, seeing them through her eyes as a child helped me to gain an appreciation for them as well. I always associate them with an old fashioned country garden.  I truly love these blooms for their beauty and the nostalgia.  No wonder I love to paint them.

Country Garden Favourite hollyhock painting by Helen Shideler

They bring me back to Cape Breton

Good memories.  Salty air. Sunshine.  Wonderful memories of a place that was truly wonderful to be a child in. There is another flower that takes me back there  as well - wild blue flax.  This past summer, I saw it growing in PEI.  I was so happy to see them.  The colour is amazing.

 Speaking of blue

I knew when I started this painting that I wanted to paint the background as sky blue, rather than the background in my reference photos.  The background in the photos was rather dull and I wanted this painting to be crisp and to feel like a warm summer's day.  For fun I googled "Blue Sky” colour.  This really cool page came up in Wikipedia.  So many shades of blue.  So many shades of sky.  

Originally my plan was to do this painting as a poured watercolour.  I changed my mind for a few reasons.  One I was running out of masking compound and two, I wanted to keep the petals delicate and soft.  Pouring can give you hard edges.  There is a way around that, but it requires applying the mask on damp paper.  And maybe three, I often like to draw as I go.  When you pour it is much easier to have your drawing mapped out.  It is really easy to get lost without a careful rendering.

Hope you enjoy this painting as much as I enjoyed working on it.

WIP Three's Company - Poured Water Color

This is the second poured water-color painting I have done with gulls on this particular location.  First of all, I love working on the log and seaweed!  So much fun and I really had to use my brain to figure out the color order of the pours.  That being said, I am quite satisfied with the colors and texture capture with “Sunning Gulls”. Helen Shideler - WIP Three's Company

After looking at it for a while, I decided this deserved one more attempt (the perfectionist in me just got revealed).  I thought the gulls should be a bit larger and well, “Three’s Company”.   I know that when I am planning my gardens odd numbers make the most attractive groupings – thought this premise would also work with the number of birds in a painting.  Sound logical?

There have been a number of do over paintings in my career.  Not a large number but quite a few.  And not because the first one is not right or I am not as satisfied with it. It is just I may think it may be better in oils or watercolor, or in this case with more company.  (Except maybe for the recent poured goat paintings – they were just a mistake -  although I got a great deal of satisfaction from ripping them up).

The image in this post represents the final pour, before the masking compound is removed.

Commission - Just Delivered

Helen Shideler- Heather's Path This painting is a commission from a girl I went to school with.  Because of certain “life happenings” that we sort of have in common,  she reached out to me to paint a special piece for a very special someone in her life.  This is quite an honor for me to have been able to work with her on this project.

She was very specific.  Although she did not realize it at the time, she really had a clear image of what she was looking for, in terms of how she wanted it to feel.  She just was unable to clearly articulate it at first.

We exchanged a number of emails.  I sent her almost every image I had ever taken of  paths in the woods one or two at a time.  This worked very well.  The feedback she shared as she reacted to the various photos helped me to narrow it down to a sense of colours and the overall feeling.

Then I began the work. Irises from my garden.  A Rhododendron from my garden and two from the internet.  The rail fence from a photo I had taken of the Irving Nature Park etc., etc,

She saw the painting today for the first time and she smiled from ear to ear.  It was exactly what she was hoping for. May I just say PHEW! I am so grateful and excited that she loves it and has confidence that the recipient of her very thoughtful gift will also love it!

I am anxiously awaiting the reaction.

 

while in Vancouver- two WIPs

While visiting my new grandson in this amazing city, I am still working away.  This year is very busy with art obligations (love them all) as they keep me focus and productive, even when the sun is shining.  This is the mid point of these two poured watercolor paintings.  Stayed tuned for the reveal..  Have you ever tried to post from an iPad - Ridiculously difficult.  You cannot edit! Helen Shideler poured water color Helen Shideler poured watercolor

WIP - So Glad, Poured Watercolor Painting Complete

I swear, the most difficult pat this process is removing the  masquing compound from the painting!  You really get a workout.  Then you have to be a tactile detective by rubbing your fingers all over the piece looking for stray bits of the stuff.  When you remove the masque (frisk it) from your painting, the surface of the paper does not seem to absorb paint quite the same way.  the intention here is not to over work the piece, but leave the painterly qualities intact and visible. I am posting this from my iPad, not a very user friendly thing to do. Also, the photos were taken with it as well, thinner they are over exposed and showing too light.  Once I return home, I will post the WIP steps with photos taken with my camera.

Helen Shideler Watercolor So Glad