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 Cascading Blooms Watercolour Complete

Cascading Blooms a 1/2 sheet watercolour of pink climbing roses complete

Cascading Blooms watercolour by Helen Shideler


I finally figured out why I have been procrastinating so much.  At least I think I have been.  And not sure I was even conscious of it until now.  Participating in the 30 paintings in 30 day challenge in January was very satisfying.  I mean I completed a painting a day for goodness sake. Felt accomplished every single day!

Now that I am back to painting larger works - they seem to be taking forever.  I had a goal this weekend of finishing two.  Well, I only finished this one.  But, you know, you cannot hurry this type of work.

This is painted from reference photos I took at my friend Jeannie's garden.  Each time I visit I take more photos and have painted this climbing pink rose at least three times.  You know her secret?  She fertilized them with her abundant source of horsey manure.  


For some reason I am completely captivated by roses and peonies. I am drawn in by their complexity.  Each petal has no less that four or five shades and has a soft almost velvet appearance.  The colours intensify at the centre into rich deep tone while the edgesbecome lighter with a few crinkles.   

I loved painting the leaves (and the blooms of course).  The ones in close proximately have so many different shades of greens and a bit of blue.   

Every time I finish one I tell myself - well that is enough and yet ever year I am compelled to do at least one or two more.  I have started to paint them on a smaller scale 1/2 sheet as opposed to full sheet.  No less effort - just good for framing options and really for your walls!

The painting is available on my web site



Day 5 - Hai There

Day 5 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days - 5"x7" watercolour

"Hai There"

My Day 5 painting for this event is called “Hai There”.  Grasshopper peeking out of a day lily.  This is a 5"x7" transparent watercolour on Arches 300lb paper.  It is matted and ready for your 9"x12"  frame.

Available on my website by clicking HERE  for $90

You can check out this project by visiting here - As of today there are over 900 artists participating in this challenge representing 25 countries!  Very cool!!!  It looks as if there are only a couple of us of us participanting in New Brunswick.

A Look Back

A Look Back.  This is a transparent watercolour on Arches 300 lb. paper. As transparent as those darks can be that is.  To achieve the depth of colour I had to apply eight washes.  I always get a little nervous when applying deep colours with a fine brush as sometime the point springs a little and little dots of colour appear where you do not want them.  This time was no exception.  However, I saw them as they happened and thankfully was able to clean them right up. I seem to be a little introspective these days and it is showing up in my art.  Unsure if it just the long winter or I am searching for something.  The title of this painting seems fitting somehow.  I tried to come up with a clever title, but this name kept coming back to me.  And the raven is looking back.A Look BackThis is the last painting in this series of raven paintings - as least for now.  I have been painting quite a few birds recently and it got be thinking. I started to marvel at the fact they do not have arms and hands.  This may sound silly, but I think it must be very awkward for them to have to use their beaks for everything. Can you imagine if you had to use your nose and lips to move things around and pick things up with your hands tied behind your back?  Just thinking is all....

And speaking of looking back here are the two previous Ravens paintings in this series:

"Call of the Raven" and "The Sentry"

Watercolour painting of a raven by Helen Shideler

Water-color painting of a raven

These watercolour paintings are available on my web site -  click HERE for more information.

WIP - Liquid Gold, complete - well almost

This has been much trickier than I though it would be.  Pouring paint on Aquabord requires a whole new kind of patience! Helen Shideler - Liquid Gold

You are able to masque - although I am convinced some of the stuff stays on this surface forever, a kind of reside in places - not all over though. The biggest challenge is its biggest strength!  Go figure!!! You cannot bend it! Or fold it...makes moving around the poured paint around a bit more challenge. Almost a calisthenic workout.  Bend this way, tilt, bend that way, tilt - full body work out!!!!!

I have always maintained that you have to cover the areas of work you are not working as the paint will rub off in spots.  This does not happen with watercolor paper.

The next and final step for this painting it a resin coating also very experimental - fingers crossed.  This process takes a week , so bear with me.....

WIP - Liquid Gold, Poured Painting

Pouring paint has presented some exciting new possibilities to me as an artist.  I have a myriad of ideas.  I have been forever pushing the boundaries with watercolors.  Using color saturation to its maximum potential while maintaining the key characteristic of its transparency. Poured painting

Pouring paint has presented some exciting new possibilities to me as an artist.  I have a myriad of ideas.  I have been forever pushing the boundaries with watercolors.  Using color saturation to its maximum potential while maintaining the key characteristic of its transparency.

This time, I am testing to see how a poured painting behaves on Ampersand Aquabord.  I have two paintings on the go right now.  What is very interesting is how the paint clings to the masque and creates a line around. I am intrigued.

What really got my juices fired up is a recent painting by Mario Brideau.  He completed an abstract work on canvas and then coated it with  resin.  The application of resin created a layre of depth on the painting and, I think, intensified the colors.  If not intensified the colors, it certainly did not wash them out in any way.  Hmmm, I said, hmmm.  I must somehow try this.

Let the experimenting begin.  Liquid Gold is that experiment.  I quickly sketched out two of our pet goldfish and began.  Now, I need to back up and give you a bit more information.

When working with watercolor on Aquabord, the painting has to be sealed afterwards with an archival varnish to protect it – the whole point is to not have to frame it under glass.  Once you apply an acrylic product or varnish to a watercolor, it is then considered to be a mixed media painting.  Both watercolor purists and competitions do not approve of this process, however, it is still worth experimenting and customers do like it.  The results are rich, bright and modern paintings.  People actually think I use thin oils.  This gives you an idea of the color saturation potential with this surface.

So, Liquid Gold is an experiment of two types….using a masquing compound on Aquabord and then sealing the work with resin.  I titled this little painting Liquid Gold as it is a poured painting of two goldfish!

This is the painting in progress.  Next I will post the reveal – the work minus the masquing compound – and then with it finished with resin. Fingers crossed.  I am very excited with the possibilities here!



I May Have Learned a Thing or Two

Pouring paint - Lessons Learnedand there are quite a few.   Or what no to do when pouring paintings!

  1. Fine lines are really tough to accomplish with masking fluid – think about avoiding hair (just kidding)
  2. You need patience and a lot of it in order to apply fine lines of masque
  3. Removing a lot of masking compound can give you serious blisters on your fingertips when you use them to rub off the stuff  (bad idea)
  4. Maybe doing a poured painting (or two) of a goat was not such a good idea
  5. Staining pigments should be applied last as subsequent colors do not “stick” or cover as well
  6. Some of my favorites such as the beautiful quin burnt ochers and oranges fall into the category above
  7. And oh, you can ruin a poured painting with a pour when the pigment is too intense or very dark

Pop Of Color

So why do them?

Poured painting are plain outright FUN!

I love to see how the poured paintings develop.  The burst of new colors are exciting – seeing where the puddles form and the trailing rivers of pigment may flow. This process provided the painter with a little thrill there as there is a certain element of risk and loss of control.  And the finished effect is very interesting, very rich in color and very satisfying.  It is not everyday that you can write a sentence with three “very’s” in it.

WIP - Poured Painting - So Glad, I think!

I am at it again!  I love the freedom of pouring paint.

I have to admit the masking fluid is not acting the way I like to see it.  It is a new bottle and is, well applying  pilley like an old wool sweater.  And the color of this stuff has me a bit freaked out.  I am quite motivated to complete the pours and cleaning up in only a few days.  Afraid it will stick forever.  And, eeeee, I leave for Vancouver on Thursday!  Hopefully to meet my new grandson!   Hopefully he at least arrives when I am there - fingers crossed!

Helen Shideler - WIP Poured Painting

This stage represents three pours and a few masking sessions.

Colors are below

Helen Shideler - paint colorsW&N New Gamboge, Green Gold and DS Organic Vermillion

WIP - Begonias on Parade Finally Finished!

This painting may have seemed to drag on forever - really completed a few weeks ago, however, our computer was in for repairs and just today we are getting things back up.  And OMG what adventure this has been.  Apple has a Voice Over function - it says everything you do, including ever number or letter you type or button you push.  Drove me crazy until, with the help of my friend Google, I was able to figure out how to shut it off.  I was beginning to think I would never be able to use this computer again! That aside, here is the finished painting.  There is a spider hanging out, see if you can find it!

Begonias On Parade by Helen Shideler